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Waubonsee, WIU Deal Paves Transfer Pathway to Opportunity for Broadcasting Students

Representatives of Waubonsee Community College and Western Illinois University signed a new articulation agreement Friday, Oct. 24, creating a clear pathway for Waubonsee broadcasting students to complete a bachelor’s degree in four years. Above, Dr. William “Buzz” Hoon, Chair and Associate Professor, WIU Department of Broadcasting, discusses the agreement during a signing ceremony with, from left, Dr. Ronald C. Williams, WIU Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dr. William Marzano, Waubonsee Assistant Vice President of Transfer and Developmental Education; and Cynthia Sparr, Waubonsee Dean for Communications, Humanities and Fine Arts.

Waubonsee Community College has partnered with Western Illinois University to pave a quality, affordable path for students to a future in broadcasting.

Friday, Oct. 24, representatives of Waubonsee and WIU signed an articulation agreement formally creating a program allowing students who begin their college experience at Waubonsee to earn a bachelor’s degree in any of three broadcasting majors at WIU in four years.

“This is a very significant moment for Waubonsee and our broadcasting program,” said John Bitterman, Associate Professor of Communications at Waubonsee.

Under the “2+2” format of the program, students would follow a set pathway for the first two years of college at Waubonsee, taking advantage of Waubonsee’s quality education at affordable tuition rates to earn an associate degree.

Once they have completed that degree, students can transfer to WIU to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as two years in sports broadcasting, broadcasting production or broadcasting news/performance.

Bitterman said the agreement was the result of months of work begun last year after broadcast television professional Paul Strater, of Oswego, suggested Bitterman and Waubonsee’s cadre of broadcasting students visit WIU’s campus in Macomb to experience the opportunities offered by WIU’s broadcasting program.

After decades working in various roles in radio and television, Strater had earned an associate degree from Waubonsee in 2010 and a bachelor’s degree from WIU in 2012. Strater now works as a senior broadcast engineer at WYIN-TV Channel 56, Lakeshore Public Television, in Merrillville, Ind. 

Bitterman said he and the students took the suggestion and, upon visiting WIU, were “blown away” by the quality of the university’s Department of Broadcasting.

Dan Niederkorn, 21, of Oswego, was among the students who visited WIU who opted to transfer there. Now in his junior year of college and his first year at WIU, Niederkorn said he has been impressed by the opportunities offered to him in working on the production teams for WIU sports broadcasts and campus news programs.

Vanessa Montano, 23, of Aurora, a first-year broadcasting student at Waubonsee, said she is now considering transfer to WIU under the new articulation program.

“I took a class at Waubonsee, because it caught my eye,” Montano said. “And it turns out I love it.”

In signing the agreement, representatives of WIU and Waubonsee said the new 2+2 articulation program is a triumph for both schools.

Dr. William “Buzz” Hoon, Chair and Associate Professor at WIU’s Department of Broadcasting, said he is pleased at the possibility of drawing more Waubonsee graduates to WIU, noting Waubonsee’s program “produces outstanding students.”

“Young people come to us from Waubonsee and start to contribute right away,” said Hoon.

Dr. William Marzano, Assistant Vice President of Transfer and Developmental Education at Waubonsee, said the articulation program is the product of “colleagues, faculty and students who care about what comes after them,” Marzano said.

For more information about Waubonsee’s broadcasting program and its new partnership with WIU’s Department of Broadcasting, visit www.waubonsee.edu/masscomm.

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