UC Merced and Merced College are teaming up to make it easier than ever for local students to matriculate through community college and earn bachelor’s degrees from the most respected public university system in the world, all without ever having to leave their hometown.
Today (Nov. 13), UC Merced Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz and Merced College President Chris Vitelli signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlining the Merced Promise, a robust new transfer pipeline program. The MOU signing took place during a ceremony on the UC Merced campus — complete with physical distancing, masks and other measures to protect against COVID-19.
“Improving educational outcomes in the Merced area is not the job of a single institution — it requires a collaborative effort across all levels of education,” Muñoz said. “The Merced Promise is our promise to the Merced community that if a student is qualified and committed to their education, we will work together to ensure they achieve their goals.”
Improving educational outcomes in the Merced area is not the job of a single institution — it requires a collaborative effort across all levels of education. The Merced Promise is our promise to the Merced community that if a student is qualified and committed to their education, we will work together to ensure they achieve their goals.
Highlights of the Merced Promise, as outlined in the MOU, include:
- facilitating faculty discussions to ensure transfer pathways are streamlined and comprehensible;
- developing an online “Program Mapper,” a simple tool to help students map their own pathways and accelerate progress toward their degrees;
- providing Merced College students with opportunities to participate in undergraduate research and attend courses at UC Merced;
- developing summer undergraduate research programs at UC Merced for Merced College students on track to transfer;
- allowing undergraduate students from either institution to cross-enroll in one course per semester at the other;
- providing a joint presence at Merced College and at local high schools to promote the program;
- collaborating with the Center for Educational Partnerships to communicate directly with middle and high-school students; and
- raising funds to provide Merced Promise Scholarships, with guaranteed admission to UC Merced for students who complete all requirements, and to invest in the staffing, resources and oversight needed to ensure students are successful.
The agreement places a strong emphasis on engagement by faculty, staff and students, including providing outreach at transfer events and career fairs, recruiting activities, financial aid workshops, orientation programs and informative sessions. The schools will coordinate co-curricular activities and sponsor campus programs and public events for prospective students, and will facilitate cohosted events for student groups, particularly for students in populations that have been historically underserved by postsecondary education.
Both institutions will begin working on implementation efforts immediately. In fact, due to ongoing collaborative partnership meetings, many of the programs and services are already underway.
“It is impossible to overstate the significance of this partnership and the impact it will have on Merced and residents of this community,” Vitelli said. “We are making significant progress toward a future in which Merced grows its own talent, invests in local families, and molds its students into a generation of citizens who will ensure that Merced remains a city on the rise.”