Dr. Mary S. Graham, MGCCC president, and Dr. Mark E. Keenum, MSU president, signed an agreement on August 13 that will bring engineering degrees to MGCCC’s Jackson County Campus in Gautier.

Mississippi State University and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College signed a partnership agreement on August 13 to bring engineering courses to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

MSU President Mark E. Keenum and MGCCC President Mary S. Graham said they believe engineering programs offered at MGCCC’s Jackson County Campus in Gautier will enhance the economic and industrial development of the region. The agreement outlines the collaboration to offer two degree programs, and the institutions will jointly recruit students. Keenum explained that four programs are being considered: electrical engineering, civil engineering, industrial engineering and mechanical engineering. The two selections will be finalized in the near future.

“This collaboration between our university and MGCCC is a win-win for both institutions and for the state of Mississippi as we prepare well qualified professionals to work in a field that is of tremendous importance to our economy,” Keenum said.

MSU’s James Worth Bagley College of Engineering is Mississippi State’s third largest college. The National Science Foundation ranks Mississippi State in the top 10 percent nationally for engineering expenditures in research and development. U.S. News and World Report ranks its undergraduate and graduate programs in the top 100 nationwide. The Bagley College offers degree programs in eight different academic engineering departments and 10 certificate programs.

“The quality of the degree programs offered at MGCCC will be identical to those we offer in Starkville,” Keenum said. He said while students complete their first two years at MGCCC, their last two years taught by MSU also will take place via face-to-face instruction at the same Gulf Coast location, in addition to distance learning methods.

Graham said that Gulf Coast is committed to providing the best educational and training resources to the communities in its district through strategic partnerships with both industry and other educational institutions.

“This agreement, which is part of our continuing focus on offering educational opportunities in high-paying, in-demand STEM fields, provides an outstanding opportunity for both our students and local industries as more and more well-trained graduates in these key areas provide a pool of potential employees for South Mississippi companies,” Graham said.

Keenum said they expect the first degree program to be in place as soon as fall of 2015.

New course offerings will be at the Jackson County Campus’s STEM Building, which is currently undergoing expansion to house additional classrooms and state-of-the-art updates that will include collaborative labs and areas for various science and technology projects.

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