Michigan: Statewide Articulation Agreement Joins Four-Year Private University

A recent move by a private four-year college in Michigan to engage in a statewide articulation agreement signals another step forward for career technical education (CTE). The plan, which allows students to earn up to 24 transferable academic credits while in CTE high schools and tech centers, is an indicator that education and policy leaders recognize the true value and quality of CTE courses and programs.

The agreement between Michigan Office of Career and Technical Education and Davenport University was featured in a recent Inside Higher Ed article, which noted that the articulation plan was not unique, but certainly atypical. CTE still has more traction to gain, but the recent news at a statewide scale is encouraging.

The article, In Michigan, All Hands on Deck, quoted David Fleming, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academics at Davenport University, who said “mythology persists that technical education is still wood shop, that students go into it to avoid taking some of the more rigorous academic courses, and that there’s no way that applied physics [taught in a career-technical program] can be as good as regular physics [taught at a traditional high school].”

 This articulation agreement counters that notion, he added.

 “But this idea that you can’t learn physics is busted when a university is ready to give credit for it. This changes the game, and from my point of view, it’s the reason we jumped at this,” Flanagan said in the article.

Such is the case in Pennsylvania, said State Director Lee Burket of the Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Career and Technical Education who noted a statewide articulation process in which all colleges must participate if they receive Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act funds. Through the articulation program, a handful of private two-year institutions and at least two independent four-year colleges accept academic credits from secondary programs that meet particular alignment standards.

The articulation agreement in Pennsylvania has demonstrated positive outcomes on a range of fronts, said Burket, noting that students have credited the articulation plans for creating pathways that encouraged them to pursue postsecondary education.

Given projections that postsecondary experience and accreditations will be of higher demand in coming years, it appears that states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania are on the right track with their CTE endeavors.

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