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Articulation agreement approved for social services graduates at RLC

Rend Lake College students interested in child and family services have a fresh option to continue their education this fall. Thanks to an updated articulation agreement and new cohort at the RLC MarketPlace, graduates can now transfer into Southern Illinois University (SIU) Carbondale’s Bachelor of Science (BS) program with night classes in RLC’s district.

This evening, the RLC Board of Trustees approved the articulation agreement for students who complete an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Early Childhood Education (ECE). They have the option to transfer seamlessly into SIU Carbondale’s BS program in Early Childhood Education Child and Family Specialization.

Tina Grounds, ECE Professor at RLC, explained the AAS degree is designed for students who don’t want to become certified teachers – rather, it’s for those who want to work in child care centers, Head Start programs, or after-school programs. However, those options expand for those with SIU Carbondale’s BS degree.

“Bachelor’s degree graduates will be able to work with children and families in a number of different settings, including child care facilities as administrators, as caseworkers in social service, or in hospitals as training specialists, just to name a few,” said Grounds. “We had students coming back to us [who already had the AAS degree] who were wanting to get their bachelor’s degree, and that got the conversation started.”

RLC and SIU Carbondale had an existing articulation agreement for the ECE program, but due to changes in the curriculum at SIU, the new agreement was a realignment of required courses.

“We’ve had this agreement for eight years, because most of our students go to SIU, if they transfer on,” said Grounds. “The beauty of it is it’s truly a 2 + 2 agreement, which means our students do two years here and then two years at SIU. This is a great opportunity for the students, and that’s what it’s all about.”

To meet the requirements of the agreement, students must earn a minimum of 60 credit hours at RLC with a GPA (grade point average) at or higher than a 2.0. Of these 60 credit hours, several specific courses must be completed and passed, including Child Development, Curriculum for Young Children, Child Study and Observation, and several others.

Transfer students will then be required to complete a minimum of 42 credit hours at the 300 and 400 level at SIU Carbondale to earn the degree.

Grounds also pointed out a new cohort option for RLC graduates to take advantage of, wherein students who work full- or part-time during the day can take classes at night. The cohort offers two eight-week, hybrid classes a semester in SIU Carbondale’s BS program on RLC’s MarketPlace campus in Mt. Vernon. The meet times for the courses are during the evenings, which gives students the chance to work during the day and study for their bachelor’s degree at night.

“One amazing thing that happened through this process, through the articulation agreement, was a conversation about starting a cohort at the MarketPlace,” said Grounds. “Right now, we have 10 students enrolled in eight-week classes and three more are starting in the second eight weeks. They have everything right here at the MarketPlace. For them, they don’t have to go far to get what they want. It works perfectly for them.”

There are approximately 649,300 jobs for child and family services, specifically social services, across the country. According to the U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, social workers will see an increase in job availability by approximately 12 percent, or 74,800 new jobs, by 2024.

Students can call now to schedule an advisement appointment to enroll in RLC’s ECE program this spring. To learn about registering for the RLC programs, visit the Academic Advisement Center in the Administration Building or call 618-437-5321, Ext. 1266. To learn more about the cohort, contact Tina Grounds at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1396 or [email protected].

To learn more about the agreement, contact ReAnne Palmer at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1223 or [email protected].