The RELLIS Academic Alliance and Stephen F. Austin State University have announced a partnership that will bring a new degree program to the RELLIS campus in fall 2021.
SFA will now offer courses for its Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, or BSIS, with a concentration in early childhood through grade six, or EC-6, at the RELLIS campus.
Nancy Jordan, Associate, Ph.D. Vice Chancellor and Provost of the RELLIS Academic Alliance, said the alliance is a partnership designed to provide a collaborative educational environment for students.
“Our goal is to provide an integrated, seamless experience allowing students to begin their higher education at Blinn College and complete a four-year baccalaureate degree at one of the universities in the alliance,” Jordan said. “We sought university partners who could offer innovative, collaborative degree programs with a commitment to providing a seamless experience for students.”
The BSIS with the EC-6 concentration program is designed to develop future teachers and provide them with knowledge and skills in education with courses providing hands-on experience. The degree focuses on early childhood education preparation and was chosen to help fill the significant shortage in certified teachers across the state.
Judy Abbott, Ph.D. professor and dean of SFA’s College of Education, said the strength of the program comes from the college's history of providing quality and personalized academic courses.
“SFA has long had a history of high quality educator preparation,” Abbott said. “We are making… our [BSIS degree] available to Brazos Valley students who are seeking a regional university experience.”
SFA is the first non-Texas A&M System university to join the Academic Alliance. Dalton Jones, admission coordinator for the RELLIS Academic Alliance, said he believes the new partnership with SFA will bring a higher demand for students.
“We will now serve another market of students who are looking to get into classrooms and teach,” Jones said.
Classified as a university system center, the Academic Alliance serves as a university System Center at which multiple institutions can collaboratively offer degree and certificate programs on the RELLIS campus.
“We are a hub of different educational outlets,” Jones said. “All of the [programs] we have are competitive in their own regard in terms of education, but also in the job market.”
The RELLIS Academic Alliance offers a diverse array of post-secondary education and training in collaboration with 10 A&M System regional universities and now Stephen F. Austin State University. With the addition of the SFA degree program, the RELLIS Academic Alliance offers 26 academic options, including degrees in fields such as technology and engineering, business and industry, natural and human sciences and public service.
“We still try to provide that traditional college experience while offering a different kind of perspective… of higher education,” Jones said.