In the first collaboration of its kind between Washtenaw Community College and the University of Michigan, WCC is holding classes on Central Campus this semester.
WCC is currently leasing four classrooms in Mason Hall. The classrooms, which would otherwise remain empty at night, are located on the second floor and are occupied by WCC from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Nearly 100 students are enrolled in the WCC classes on campus.
WCC is offering a variety of courses including English composition, basic statistics and two psychology sections. Officials from both schools say WCC works closely with LSA to prevent any scheduling conflicts with University classes and to ensure that the best interests of both institutions are preserved.
University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said WCC’s classes in Mason Hall do not interfere with University course schedules.
“These are classes that don’t conflict with our class offerings here,” Fitzgerald said. “They don’t conflict with the times when our classrooms are most in use.”
The partnership between the institutions began in July when WCC President Larry Whitworth approached the University’s administration in search of a convenient location to house WCC classes.
WCC classrooms have become more crowded over the last three years as enrollment grew 17 percent, Whitworth said in an interview.
“The administration at U of M was well aware of our need to grow and to accommodate the number of students that we were experiencing,” Whitworth said.
University administrators offered WCC University classroom space, indicating that the collaboration would alleviate space concerns at both institutions, Whitworth said. The agreement allows the University to better utilize space that might not otherwise be used and ensures that WCC has enough space to hold all its courses.
Whitworth said the agreement would also benefit students at the University since many enroll in WCC classes.
“We know that there are lots of students from the University of Michigan that come to Washtenaw Community College and that this might be more convenient,” Whitworth said.
Many WCC students live or work near downtown Ann Arbor. Classes held on the University’s campus allow students to walk or bike to class rather than drive to WCC’s main campus, which is located between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.
“It seemed like a great partnership as a way to offer classes more conveniently for the WCC students here in Ann Arbor,” Fitzgerald said.
In future semesters, WCC plans to expand its course selection on Central Campus to accounting, sociology, communications, computer science and political science.
“We are currently engaged in developing a two-year contract,” Whitworth said. “We’re hoping to be able to promote the program a little more aggressively.”