One great thing about our interstate highway system and the growing number of tollways and freeways is that they feature limited access. It is easy to keep the wheels rolling forward when cross traffic cannot interfere with your progress. Instead of the stop-and-go interruption of traffic control signals, a plan was devised to allow overpasses to support cross traffic and on- and off-ramps to allow entrance and exit from side roads.
In some ways, education works in the same way. We begin with an entrance ramp into an educational program in high school or junior college or a university or graduate school, and the completion of one program provides the exit ramp from that course of study. For instance, my undergraduate degree was not in science, but I was able to enter the “science freeway” as a graduate student and complete my masters and doctorate in microbiology. Others I know completed a science undergraduate degree and then left science to pursue graduate work in law, communication, and even “dean of students” type stuff. Suffice it to say that a healthy educational program possesses flexibility in entering and exiting at various endpoints along the way.
I mention this because McMurry’s BIMS program is always looking for articulation agreements with other programs. Notable examples are our Dental Early Admission Program (DEAP 3+4) with UTHSC-San Antonio Dental School (which allows a BS in BIMS and DDS degree in seven years), and similar programs with Hardin-Simmons School of Physical Therapy for the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and Texas Chiropractic College for the Doctor of Chiropractic degree. Others with a variety of additional professional programs are in the works, giving McMurry’s BIMS students quick entry and preferred admission for programs in various medical fields. This, in and of itself, gives students choosing McMurry a huge advantage over those attending other colleges!
But the most interesting articulation program may be the one in development for biotech education in Abilene, and this truly puts the freeway exit ramp example above in proper perspective. Cisco College is a two-year community college with campuses in Cisco, Texas, and Abilene. They offer a certificate program in Biotech that is even newer than the BIMS program. Its first “graduates” are about ready for the workforce and further education. McMurry is developing an agreement that will allow some of the training they have received to count toward hours in the BIMS program. As Cisco moves toward an Associates Program in the field, we will work to make an easy transition into our BS in Biomedical Science program so that those so inclined can work toward a BS in BIMS. Such a step would mean higher pay, more responsibility, greater opportunity for advancement. Abilene’s growing biotech industry will be but one of the beneficiaries. At the same time, a MS in Biotech program offered by Texas Tech is also coming to Abilene. McMurry will work with TTU to develop an articulation allowing our students quick and easy entry into their program. Who knows – maybe a PhD in the field will be coming before long!
So, students interested in biotech, forensic science, or any of the other fields that rely heavily on molecular biology, microbiology, and genetics can come to Abilene and get on the Biotech Freeway. There will be exits at the certificate, associates, bachelors, and masters (and perhaps doctoral) levels of preparation to take them onto side roads important to their future. McMurry becomes the key connection between entry-level workers and biotech managers and entrepreneurs. We are excited to get on that freeway!
Anyone who has traveled to or from a place off-the-beaten-path knows that the most stressful part of the trip often centers on making your connections. Completing one leg of a trip is all well and good, but starting the next leg depends on all the pieces falling into place at the right time and the right place.
Attention to the logistics between stages of life can make those transitions between programs less stressful and subject to disruption! At McMurry, the BIMS program is working to smooth out connections for students in pursuit of their career goals in biotech, forensics, and the health professions. We are creating ways to seamlessly connect a junior college program in Biotech with our BIMS degree, and our BIMS program with a variety of graduate and professional programs for our majors and graduates.
Students completing their certification in biotechnology from Cisco College can receive BIMS program credit when they enter McMurry to pursue a BS in Biomedical Science degree. The seamless connections do not stop there. Our BIMS majors can choose to pursue one of our early acceptance/early admission articulations with dental or physical therapy schools. Similar agreements are being developed with schools of pharmacy, chiropractic, and other health professions, and with a graduate program in biotechnology. As these are finalized, expect announcements through this webpage.
Suffice it to say, BIMS wants to insure our students “make their connections” along their journey toward their pursuit of health professions careers. A veritable golf cart honking its way through the crowd at the airport, getting our students from one stage of life to the next.