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Clarkson partners with California college

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POTSDAM - Clarkson University has partnered with a California college to launch a new “2+2+2” program.

The first of its kind at Clarkson, the program will allow students to earn an associate’s degree at Sierra College, in Placer County, Calif., then transfer to a Clarkson bachelor’s program. Students may then move back to California to find work while continuing to earn their master’s degree through Clarkson’s distance learning program.

Clarkson already has 2+2 agreements with junior colleges in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Jersey. These do not include a master’s education.

This is the first time the college has included an additional two years of distance learning in one of these agreements, and Sierra College is Clarkson’s most geographically distant partner so far.

The partnership made sense for several reasons, according to Dayle M. Smith, Clarkson’s School of Business dean.

“It was just an opportunity where the north country and Placer County had similar goals,” she said.

Sierra College was searching for universities to partner with, and Clarkson already had ties to Placer County.

“It’s where many of our alumni live and work,” Ms. Smith said.

Technology companies like Hewlett-Packard and Intel are major employers in Placer County. The partnership between the two colleges will also strengthen Clarkson’s ties to big technology firms and rising startups in the region, Ms. Smith said.

This will benefit existing Clarkson students as well as the California students who will move to the north country for two years for their education.

“The companies that are in the area are the same companies that look to Clarkson to recruit technologically-savvy students,” Ms. Smith said.

Partnering with a California college is also a move to boost Clarkson’s national clout.

“As we expand our reputation nationally, that helps increase the stature and reputation of our degree,” Ms. Smith said.

The 2+2+2 partnership was made possible by Clarkson’s recent efforts into expanding its distance learning programs. Last year, the college received state approval to offer almost all of its master’s degrees online.

If the first few years of the program are successful, it may be expanded to partnerships with other colleges, Ms. Smith said.

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