Seated from left, Dr. John Hilpert, president of Delta State University; Dr. Clyde Muse, Hinds Community College president; standing, Dr. Ann Lotven, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Delta State; Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of Delta State’s College of Education, and Dr. Theresa Hamilton, vice president for the Hinds Community College Raymond Campus and College Parallel programs.
As a young wife and mother, Hinds Community College sophomore Michelle Bridgers of Terry has a lot on her plate.
That’s why she’s so grateful for the new 2 plus 2 partnership between Hinds and Delta State University that will allow her to finish her bachelor’s degree in education from Delta State on the Hinds campuses. She’s also pleased her degree will be from a university historically known as a teacher education institution.
“Hinds and Delta State are providing us with a great opportunity to obtain a quality four-year degree at an affordable cost,” she said. “This short commute allows me to spend more time with my family and fulfill the obligations that I have.”
Officials of Hinds Community College and Delta State University on Thursday, Jan. 15, officially sealed the new 2 plus 2 agreement that allows Hinds elementary education majors to stay at Hinds to finish their DSU bachelor’s degree.
“At Delta State University, we have never forgotten that our history is in teacher training. As an education-oriented institution, we are very committed to the quality, the growth and the service of those education programs. The chance to work with a quality institution like Hinds Community College is very meaningful to us in this key area,” said Dr. John Hilpert, Delta State University president. “We believe there is a much wider arena of service and many, many ways of serving students these days other than just having them come to our home campus.”
The partnership started with spring classes, which began on Monday, Jan. 12.
” Accessibility and affordability are very important – maybe more important today than ever before,” said Hinds president Dr. Clyde Muse. “This is going to make it possible for many of the graduates in teacher education at Hinds to stay at home and complete that degree.”
The new partnership will help fight Mississippi’s chronic shortage of qualified teachers, Muse said. The shortage is expected to worsen next year as 6,000 veteran educators become eligible to retire, according to a Dec. 4 article in The Clarion-Ledger.
Four classes are being offered on Hinds’ campuses this semester and a fifth is being taught online. The partnership will also allow current Hinds students to dually enroll at Delta State University at the same time, which helps them finish their bachelor’s degree faster.
“We feel like this partnership allows us to build our programs and grow our pool of teachers, who in turn will come back to the region,” said Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of DSU’s College of Education.