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MN West, Buena Vista sign agreement

Jane moore/daily globe Minnesota West Community and Technical College and Buena Vista University officials sign an articulation agreement Wednesday morning on the Worthington campus. From left are Suzi Kalsow, Angie Vaughan and David Evans, all of BVU; Jeff Williamson (signing), Dawn Gordon (standing) and Beth Bents, all of Minnesota West.

WORTHINGTON -- A newly inked agreement offers another avenue for Minnesota West Community and Technical College graduates to earn their four-degree degrees.

Officials from Buena Vista University (BVU) of Storm Lake, Iowa, joined with Minnesota West administrators on the Worthington campus Wednesday morning to sign an articulation agreement, now one of 27 the local institution maintains with state and private universities and colleges in Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota.

"We've worked a couple of years to get this one finished up," said Jeff Williamson, Minnesota West provost. "Buena Vista serves students from roughly the same region Minnesota West does, so it's nice to have this formalized."

Beth Bents, Minnesota West campus advisor and articulation specialist, finds it satisfying to know "our programs transfer smoothly to others."

This particular agreement, explained Bents, allows Minnesota West alumni who have associate of arts, associate of science or associate of applied science degrees to be accepted as transfer students with junior-year status at BVU, where they may then complete their bachelor of arts, bachelor of science or bachelor of applied studies degrees.

"This gives our students even more options for continuing their educations," said campus dean Dawn Gordon.

David Evans, BVU's vice president for academic affairs, and Suzi Kalsow, BVU's associate vice president for academic affairs, expressed enthusiasm for the partnership.

"This gets our name in front of students here," Evans said, "and provides a ready pathway for Minnesota West students to come to Buena Vista with minimal complications with course credit and transfer."

BVU has more than 2,600 students enrolled in its various areas of study, but not all of them are traditional students -- as is also the case with Minnesota West.

In fact, BVU has 15 location options around Iowa -- including at Spirit Lake, Estherville and Spencer -- where students may attend eight-week-long night classes instead of being residentially based in Storm Lake.

"This is a perfect partnership, because it's just over a 40-minute drive to Spirit Lake for students from Worthington," said Angie Vaughan, BVU's Lakes and Prairies site director. "We have both online and face-to-face educational options at these sites with a wide variety of programs available -- management, marketing, accounting, criminology and criminal justice, business administration and psychology, to name just a few -- and our human services and education areas have really been growing.

"Of course, there are many more options at the Storm Lake campus."

Vaughan is also happy to mention that BVU has potential for providing professional development training, too.

Confirmed Williamson, "BVU has strong adult and professional school programs that give people viable options for lifelong learning close to home," and Kalsow concurred, saying, "We can appeal to working adults and non-traditional students who may need to continue working but want to advance their educations."

The main goal of this new agreement, certainly, is to give holders of two-year MWCTC degrees ready access for advancement in a four-year degree institution.

The BVU staff assures that enrollment coaches and program advisors stand ready to assist students in making the transition to their university.

"Our mission, of course, is to enroll more students," stated Kalsow, "but the bottom line is this offers more opportunities for students -- and that's exciting."

For more information about the articulation agreement between Minnesota West and Buena Vista University, contact either Beth Bents at or 372-3418, or Buena Vista , 1-866-449-7059, or