Massachusetts Colleges Online

  Community College grads can access bachelor degree in business online

Graduates with a business management associate degree from a Massachusetts community college will soon be able to complete a bachelor’s degree in business management from Westfield State College entirely online, thanks to an innovative agreement facilitated by Massachusetts Colleges Online (MCO), a consortium of the state’s community and state colleges.

“While an associate degree opens career opportunities, it’s no secret that a bachelor’s degree is going to get you even farther,” said David Kelley, executive director of MCO. “This innovative partnership will allow students, many of whom are working fulltime, to earn their bachelor’s degree. The flexibility of online learning makes it feasible and the state tuition makes it affordable.”

Westfield State College is working with each of the 15 community colleges to draft articulation agreements. The goal is to be certain that each program matches the Westfield State curriculum and that students can transfer in as juniors. The program will begin in September of 2008. Classes will be offered during the traditional fall and spring 15-week semesters, two six-week summer sessions, and one accelerated two-week winter session.

“This program will increases student access in a period of troubled economic times. With the cost of fuel becoming an economic barrier, we have eliminated that barrier of entry through online education,” said Lynn Zayac, director of Westfield State’s Center of Instructional Technology.

“Our primary motivation in creating this program is to better serve community college students seeking bachelor’s degrees,” said Gary Merlo, chair of the Department of Economics and Business Management. “Many of our best students have come from community colleges. This program meets student need for flexibility in scheduling and delivery.”

“Westfield State College has long been a leader in the use of computer technology and our enhancements of the virtual classroom experience make this a uniquely valuable learning process for our students,” Merlo said. “Our supportive culture, small classes, and individual attention have been maintained through personalized online education.”

An important part of MCO’s mission is to facilitate partnerships between state and community colleges. “Online learning has created so many opportunities for collaboration,” said Kelley. “By sharing courses and programs, we can bring high demand programs to a much larger audience — individuals gain access to marketable skills and employers benefit from a larger pool of skilled workers.”

For more information on the Westfield State College bachelor degree completion program in business management, contact the Westfield State College Division of Graduate and Continuing Education at 413 572-8020 or or visit the website at For more information on an associate degree in business management, contact your local community college.

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