The goal for Jennifer Younger and Jill Moeder was to one day see an agreement of sorts that would help students from North Central Kansas Technical College have a comfortable transfer to Fort Hays State University.

That is, if the student had planned that kind of path for furthering their education.

On March 27, Younger and Moeder, the business technology and business management instructors at NCK Tech on the Hays campus watched as that goal saw its initial steps. Complete with a handshake between the college presidents Tisa Mason (FHSU) and Eric Burks (NCK Tech), the institutions entered into a memorandum of understanding. The articulation agreement aims to provide a seamless transfer for students who want to continue their education and obtain a bachelor’s degree from Fort Hays.

“We’ve tried very hard and put a lot of work into aligning our courses to where they would be more transferable towards Fort Hays,” Younger said. “With this articulation agreement, it’s a nice, clean path that allows our students to start as a junior (at Fort Hays) and pursue at bachelor’s of science in organizational leadership.”

The business instructors had been working on the goal since Moeder started at NCK Tech in the fall of 2016.

Through the articulation agreement, six main career paths were included: Organizational leadership, technology leadership, nursing, health studies, tourism and hospitality management and technology studies.

Connected through other agreements in the past, this articulation gives a student planning to attend Fort Hays a visual understanding of what classes they will need to transfer into a field they want to get into.

“You always say to (a student), ‘Well, you can articulate into Fort Hays’ whatever program,’ ” NCK Tech Dean Sandy Gottschalk said. “But they don’t have that visual. If they can chunk it better this way, they can see, ‘OK, I’ve gone this far. I can get this, this and this.’ They can visually see that it is achievable.”

The articulation process gives students who have been or are planning to be admitted into FHSU from NCK Tech a transfer guide. It is a rundown of the programs included in the agreement of what is needed class-wise at NCK Tech, then Fort Hays. The guides can be found on both college websites (www.ncktc.edu/programs, www.fhsu.edu/transfer).

As the articulation agreement is just beginning, students have started to jump into the process. Two of the students going through the articulation process now — John Hubschman and Taylor Shipley — will graduate from NCK Tech in May with Associates of Applied Science and General Business. Each has spent a year in the business technology and business management programs.

“This articulation agreement has just made it a lot easier,” Hubschman said. “It’s really helped with my credits being able to transfer over and help to shorten my time I’ll have to spend to finish my bachelor’s degree.”

Hubschman is one of the many non-traditional students who attend NCK Tech, and he and his wife moved to Hays after living in Louisiana. His sister was attending NCK Tech at the time in the nursing program. Hubschman didn’t have any plans after receiving his associate’s from NCK Tech, but after taking Moeder’s leadership class and talking to her more about moving on, he felt it was a good opportunity.

Hubschman and Shipley will be in the organizational leadership program at Fort Hays.

For Shipley, the opportunity to attend NCK Tech gave her a better chance to evaluate what she wants to do. She had first attended Fort Hays two years ago after graduating from Hoxie, then decided to start classes at NCK Tech. Like Hubschman, she was unsure if she wanted to go on for a bachelor’s after May. Getting a chance to look through the articulation paper with her program, Shipley felt more confident of moving forward going to Fort Hays.

“When I first heard (about the articulation agreement) I wasn’t too sure, or I didn’t know how that was all going to work,” Shipley said. “When I actually saw the sheet in front of me and all the classes that I’ve already taken … Honestly, it laid it all out really great. It made me want to pursue it, knowing that I don’t have to take a whole bunch more classes.”