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Unique Partnership to Benefit Post-Secondary Students on Both Sides of International Border

Posted March 19, 2013, at 1:40 p.m.

CALAIS _ An exciting cross border partnership between neighboring post-secondary educational institutions in Maine and New Brunswick will expand additional shared resources and high-quality learning opportunities for students on both sides of the international border.

The Cross border Higher Education Partnership, known locally as CHEP, will offer first-class learning opportunities, including cross-institutional credit recognition, and collaborative college life experiences for students. Washington County Community College, the New Brunswick Community College in St. Andrews and St. Stephen University are the founding partners.

CHEP is unique to Maine and New Brunswick because there apparently is no similar type of international educational partnerships along the 49th parallel that forms the border between the United States and Canada.

A public meeting to discuss CHEP and new learning opportunities will be held at 5 p.m. (US), 6 p.m. (ATL) on Thursday, April 4, at the New Brunswick Community College in St. Andrews. There will be a press announcement after the meeting.

WCCC and NBCC have a rich history together that began more than 10 years ago when they partnered in one of the first North American Mobility Programs in the area of Adventure Recreation programming. That successful four-year project saw more than 50 students from Canada, the United States and Mexico engage in reciprocal student mobility exchanges and learning activities.

Then just a few years ago WCCC and NBCC joined with neighboring St. Stephen University and entered into Memorandums of Understanding in support of joint learning activities for its students, joint non-academic events that supported combined extra –curricular activities and specific community-based fund raising initiatives. Last summer the University of Maine at Machias joined the consortium.

The partnership was further bolstered by a 2007 agreement signed by the then governor of Maine and premier of New Brunswick.

CHEP was born.

The Memorandums of Understanding provided opportunities for students in New Brunswick and Maine to study at cross-border post-secondary education institutions, and paying only the in-state/in-province tuition fees.

Last summer, the New Brunswick department of Post-Secondary Education Training and Labor (PETL) issued a Request for Proposals for funding of the CHEP project. The primary goal was that the project proposals must identify a sustainable international partnership that would support post-secondary education and training.

In December 2012, NBCC was awarded $30,000 (Can) in PETL funding and last year a curriculum consultant was hired to review the curriculum data from each of the four CHEP partner institutions. The ultimate goal was to determine a minimum of eight, two per CHEP partner, program pathways that would allow students from partner institutions to continue with their academic careers at another institution and in many cases, in another country.

The partnership would allow students to obtain recognized academic credentials ranging from certificates, diplomas, Associate Degrees, Bachelor degrees, and beyond without having to leave a small geographical region.

The review and collaborative process is expected to be completed by June and it is anticipated that all program articulation agreements will be in place in time for the beginning of the 2014 academic year.

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