Agreement Paves Way for Borough of Manhattan Community College Theatre Grads to Transfer to Southeast

Officials with Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) in New York City and Southeast Missouri State University signed an agreement July 12 paving the way for a seamless transfer of BMCC Associate of Science in Theatre (AST) graduates into Southeast’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre, musical theatre option.

Signing the agreement in New York City were Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University, and Dr. Antonio Perez, president of BMCC. The agreement takes effect with the 2018-2019 academic year.

BMCC is located in the heart of New York City. It enrolls students from around the world with its student body representing 155 countries.

This is the second agreement the two presidents have signed. The first agreement to join Southeast’s Transfer Mentor Program was signed in February at the Hispanic Educational Technology Services (HETC) Conference.

“We are thrilled to partner with Borough of Manhattan Community College not only on our Transfer Mentor Program but also on our Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre to help BMCC students complete a pathway to a four-year degree in musical theatre,” Vargas said. “Southeast offers first-rate programs in theatre, dance and music in our Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts at our River Campus, and Southeast has helped launch exciting performing careers for many of our graduates on stages across the country. We hope BMCC theatre graduates find a path to future success in musical theatre through Southeast.”

Rhonda Weller-Stilson, director of the Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts and interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said a Southeast group visited BMCC last summer, where talks on the agreements began. She said BMCC’s head of theatre had studied in the Midwest before returning to New York City. Weller-Stilson said she conveyed the benefit she believes BMCC students will likewise find in leaving the city to study elsewhere in the country before returning to New York City to launch their career.

Weller-Stilson said she also is pleased about the diversity of the BMCC student body and the value their students will add to Southeast’s musical theatre program.

“We hope there’s a lot more cross collaboration in the future,” she said.

After completing their AST, students at BMCC would need an additional 66 credit hours at Southeast to complete their BFA in Theatre, music theatre option, said Dr. Tamela Randolph, interim provost at Southeast. The completed AST at BMCC will satisfy Southeast’s University Studies requirement. More information on the articulated program is available at semo.edu/bmcc.

The Transfer Mentor Program will help in transitioning BMCC Associate of Science in Theatre graduates to Southeast.

“Like Southeast, BMCC is making student degree planning a high priority,” said Dr. Debbie Below, vice president for enrollment management and student success. “Our Transfer Mentor Program is a way to help BMCC students reduce the time to earning their degree and move on to their chosen career as quickly as possible.”

The Transfer Mentor Program, which Southeast launched last year, helps community college students plan a pathway to success, enhancing their transition to Southeast early on to complete their degree. Southeast has already partnered with Jefferson College, Mineral Area College, Shawnee Community College and Three Rivers College as participants in the program.

The free program is helping community college students plan and track their degree program at Southeast from their very first semester of college. BMCC students who participate will be assigned a transfer mentor, offering them individual support as a community college student through their first semester of enrollment at Southeast.

With the institutions working directly together on behalf of the students, Southeast’s Office of Admissions can create a clear pathway for the BMCC students’ ultimate goal of a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre, musical theatre option, and give them good guidance and mentorship to succeed.

**Photo Caption: Dr. Antonio Perez, left, president of BMCC, and Dr. Carlos Vargas, right, president of Southeast Missouri State University, signed an articulation agreement July 12.