A Black History Month celebration featuring a Clark State Community College and Central State University collaboration marks a new era of ramped up cooperation between the schools in all facets of education.
Central State’s choir will perform at The Clark State Performing Arts Center on Friday, Feb. 7, at 7:30 p.m. as part of a growing partnership between the two educational institutions.
“Bringing the world class Central State choir to our Performing Arts Center as a gift to the Springfield community is one of the first collaborations within the arts that we are planning,” said Clark State President Dr. Jo Alice Blondin. “Faculty and staff from both schools are engaged in building fail-safe transfer agreements among our arts programs, as well as other academic areas, to support Clark State and Central State students as they pursue their goal of a college degree.”
The effort started recently.
“We have a transfer pathway for students to transfer seamlessly to Central State to finish up their four-year degrees in business, and we’ve had it for about a year now,” said Dr. Martha Crawmer, dean of Arts & Sciences at Clark State. “We are working to develop other agreements in other areas as well.
“One of the ‘hot’ topics is the arts,” Crawmer said. “Having a choir of their magnitude come sort of fires us up, provides some impetus to see what we can do in the performing arts field. We have also met with various representatives of both arts colleges.”
The discussions have gone well so far.
“We’re looking into a pathway for the visual arts as well as the performing arts,” said Crawmer. “We have a growing program in graphic design that would help there. Central State is also interested in building an agreement in psychology. We expect to be able to do that as well. They are also interested in the area of criminal justice.”
Crawmer said the collaboration makes geographic sense.
“Central State is right in our backyard, and is sort of located between our campuses here in Springfield and in Beavercreek,” she said. “All the transfer agreements at the state level will be in place for any of our students, regardless of the campus they attend.
“A lot of the students don’t realize it is an option. They think it (Central State) is a residential campus, and either you start out and go there or you don’t.”
The partnership can benefit the schools and students.
“It’s a win-win,” said Crawmer. “There are other areas that I am being hopeful that we can develop transfer programs that aren’t really set up to be a transfer program currently, programs we don’t have a good transfer track for yet. We want to make it so that students realize they can go beyond the two-year degree.
“The better degree, the better salary you can make. Numerous studies have proven that.”
The benefits will be financial as well as practical.
“If we can provide more specific direction to our students, it helps them spend less money per credit hour and less hours to get there. It makes earning a degree more efficient for them,” said Crawmer.
Would that mean a potential loss of students for the first two years for Central State?
“Yes and no,” said Crawmer. “If you look at college enrollments in general, most universities have more freshmen students than junior students coming in. So in a way, we’re filling in that gap. We’re helping them make up for that gap that they may have lost through normal attrition.”
The Feb. 7 concert, meanwhile, is designed to be a high-profile springboard for the initiative.
Under the direction of Jeremy Winston, the Central State chorus has gained wide acclaim as of late. Twenty-five representatives from the chorus performed Dec. 19 at the White House as part of the Holiday Open House and at the U.S. Senate rotunda the next day.
“We’re hoping for a very high response,” said Stu Secttor, executive director of the Performing Arts Center. “They are a very renowned choir, and have performed overseas and twice at the White House. We’re very excited about it.”
The concert is a free event, but tickets are reserved and it is advised to get them before the day of the event. Tickets will be available at the door if any remain. Tickets are available starting today at 10 a.m. in person and noon online. For more information, call (937) 328-3874 or go to pac.clarkstate.edu.