Quincy Endeavor: Community College Seeks Permission to Award Bachelor’s Degrees
By Marzia Maliha
The definition that comes to mind when people think of community colleges is a two-year pathway for students who cannot afford or make the grade to go into a traditional four-year university. However, since the founding of the first community college in 1901, this definition has been modified to cater to a diverse range of students’ needs.
Today, the curricula at community colleges range from six-month vocational diplomas to two-year associate degrees in the fields of general and liberal education. Instead of serving only as a stepping stone to a four-year college, they can prepare students for a job or even a career after graduation.
As a part of this growing trend of adaptation, Quincy College is perhaps the first of its kind to push for four-year Bachelor’s degrees. The only community college to be funded by a city of Massachusetts has campuses in both Plymouth and Quincy, and also offers courses online.
“When a light switch goes off, and a student comes here who believed that they didn’t want to or couldn’t have gone to college, and they’re so grateful for just an opportunity, that moment – that exact moment – is amazing,” said Eileen G. Knight, the director of admissions at Quincy College.
Quincy College’s various services include round-the-clock tutoring, a student coaching office, disability services, a career center, and military and veterans’ services.
“The thing about community colleges is that they are so student-focused. They’re practical and they give you guidance based on a background and interests unique only to you,” said Taggart Boyle, associate vice president for communications and marketing. “Quincy is unique in that it doesn’t only offer these aspects of public colleges, but it takes things one step farther by having intensive programs based specifically on students’ weak and strong spots.”
Community colleges, in general, have a lot of advantages over traditional universities regarding local hiring. The current hiring rate for the Quincy Biotechnology and Compliance Program is 98 percent, while the college officials predict that the Medical Laboratory Technician Program will reach a hiring rate of 60 percent over the next 10 years.
“The easiest part is that the local businessmen are already very willing to hire employees from the pool of community college students. They are familiar with the education of the institution, and the hiring process is quicker and easier as well,” said Boyle.
Perhaps these opportunities are the reasons why the students of Quincy love the college, and want to continue going there. Lucelina D., a Quincy College Biotechnology and Compliance major, said she likes the warm atmosphere of the college.
“This is my first semester and I have already met other students whom I enjoy spending time with,” she said. “The atmosphere at Quincy College is like a family”.
While Quincy College already stands unique because of its affiliation with the city, it is not yet known if it will set a new trend by being the first community college in the state to offer four-year degrees. That decision to approve the home rule petition rests with the state legislature.