Motlow, TSU Mechatronics ‘2+2’expands student Opportunities in McMinnville area

Motlow State mechatronics graduate Ryan Gibson, from Hillsboro, will continue his pathway to a bachelor’s degree through the new ‘2+2’ program agreement between Motlow’s McMinnville campus and Tennessee State University. Motlow Staff Photo.

Motlow State mechatronics graduate Ryan Gibson, from Hillsboro, will continue his pathway to a bachelor’s degree through the new ‘2+2’ program agreement between Motlow’s McMinnville campus and Tennessee State University. Motlow Staff Photo.

Hillsboro resident and Motlow graduate Ryan Gibson takes advantage of new opportunity close to home.

Getting a four-year degree in the growing field of mechatronics just got easier for students in the McMinnville area, thanks to Motlow State’s partnership with Tennessee State University (TSU).

The agreement means that students can attend Motlow to obtain an A.A.S. degree in Mechatronics, then seamlessly articulate to TSU and continue to take classes on the Motlow McMinnville campus to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical and Industrial Technologies with a concentration in Mechatronics.
— Fred Rascoe, Motlow Dean of Career Readiness

“Motlow is very pleased to now offer a ‘2+2’ program in mechatronics with TSU for our McMinnville campus,” said Fred Rascoe, dean of career readiness at Motlow. “The agreement means that students can attend Motlow to obtain an A.A.S. degree in Mechatronics, then seamlessly articulate to TSU and continue to take classes on the Motlow McMinnville campus to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical and Industrial Technologies with a concentration in Mechatronics. It is a wonderful opportunity for any mechatronic student wishing to continue their education and receive a four-year degree, all on the Motlow McMinnville campus.”

Recent Motlow mechatronics graduate Ryan Gibson will be one of the first students to take advantage of the new opportunity. Gibson, who lives in Hillsboro, is enrolled in the program this fall. Being able to remain in school at the nearby McMinnville campus while still living at home and working in Manchester at the Wal-Mart Auto Care Center makes it possible for him to continue his educational plan.

According to Gibson, he was very concerned with the prospect of transferring to a much larger school after having grown accustomed to the warm and supportive student environment on the Motlow McMinnville campus. “At Motlow, I always feel welcome and important,” said Gibson. “I've been told by people attending larger campuses that sometimes your teachers just don't have time for you. At Motlow, faculty is always there to help you. It's not uncommon for anyone (faculty) to stay late or meet with students between classes to help them grasp the material. And you can call them any time. They're always dedicated to satisfying the students' needs.”

According to a recent article published in “Community College Review”, 2+2 agreements are increasingly occurring nationwide as community colleges and four-year-schools work together to ensure the courses they offer complement each other for an overall, comprehensive degree program. The seamless transition process ensures students do not waste time or money on classes that will not be a good fit for their final goals. Reasons for considering a 2+2 program include:

• Financial savings, since tuition at community colleges is traditionally much less than tuition at four-year schools

• Additional academic assistance for students who need remedial help to succeed in school – this sort of assistance is much more plentiful at community colleges

• Community college may be easier to access, allowing students to live at home their first two years of school or longer

• Better college access for first-generation college students, immigrants and others who might not be eligible for immediate entrance to a four-year school right out of high school

• A better fit for mature students who typically enter community college after years in the work force

“Our partnership with Motlow is a demonstration of the need for more innovative collaborations to meet the urgent workforce demands for technical skills and knowledge in production, IT, and logistics,” said Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the college of engineering at TSU. “We are excited about our joint program (with Motlow) to produce more graduates in the emerging field of mechatronics, and the opportunity to provide a larger pool of diverse technicians, technologists, and engineers for the industry growth in middle Tennessee and beyond.”

The Mechatronics 2+2 agreement is the second of its kind between the two institutions, following a 2+2 program that began in Fall 2018 that offers degrees in Agricultural Business and Animal Science at the Motlow Fayetteville campus.

Mechatronics is a synergy of mechanical, electrical and computerized technologies that together form a complex system used in product engineering, manufacturing, and packaging operations. This career program will provide the academic knowledge and practical experience necessary to prepare students for employment as a highly skilled mechatronics technician.

“With this new 2+2 program TSU has at Motlow, all of my worries are gone,” added Gibson. “I can stay right where I feel at home and obtain a degree in a high-wage, high-demand field, and know I'm surrounded by people that care about me and my future and want me to succeed.”

For additional information about Motlow State’s Mechatronics program, visit www.mscc.edu/programs/mechatronics-technology or contact Fred Rascoe, dean of career and technical programs, at 931-668-7010, Ext. 2123 or frascoe@mscc.edu.