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Posted on Sun, Nov 15, 2009 : 6:03 a.m.

2-year colleges could offer 4-year degrees, but Washtenaw Community College would pass

By Juliana Keeping


Washtenaw Community College nursing students, from left, Michelle Macari, Michael Cochran, April Rogers, and Diane Leistner, work on a human simulator during a recent class. WCC says it doesn't plan on offering 4-year degrees in nursing even if proposed legislation passes.

Lon Horwedel |

Michigan's 2-year colleges could offer 4-year degrees in four subject areas, under legislation being considered by the state House.

But officials at Washtenaw Community College say they wouldn't start 4-year programs due to the college's strong ties and transfer agreements with University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University.

"Washtenaw Community College has an excellent working relationship with EMU and U-M and we see no reason to divert our energies away from our primary mission," WCC President Larry Whitworth wrote in an e-mail to

"Our colleagues at the Universities do an outstanding job, are fully accepting of our credits and transfer students. Consequently there is no need for WCC to offer the bachelors' degree."

A House Education Committee approved House Bills 4837 and 5533 16-5 on Nov. 12. Pending full House approval, the bills would also require the Senate's vote before becoming law.

The measures could mean Michigan's 28 community colleges could offer 4-year programs in nursing, culinary arts, cement technology and maritime technology.

WCC, which enrolls 14,000 students, has nursing and culinary arts programs.

Granville Lee, dean of the Health and Applied Technologies School at WCC, said the college's nursing honors program transfers 30 to 40 nursing students per year to EMU and U-M. The honors program and transfers are part of formal agreements with the two nearby universities.

"I see the legislation applying more to a rural-type area, where the community college might be the only college in the immediate area, and it would provide some access for students to go to college locally, without having to travel real far, but that's not the situation here," Granville said.

Juliana Keeping covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter



Mon, Nov 16, 2009 : 4:05 p.m.

I honestly don't think the kind of degree you have is indicative of the kind of nurse you'll be.


Mon, Nov 16, 2009 : 1:28 p.m.

if nuesing degrees became 4year degrees the nursing profession would see a good spike in pay, likly enrolled students as a result) and we would be less prone to bad nurses or criminal nurses. WCC is going to drop the ball on this.