One of the College’s newest initiatives is under the watchful eye of one of Metro State’s longtime leaders, Charlie Branch.
After surviving a massive heart attack in March 2007 and 30 years of
service within the College, Branch retired at the beginning of this
year. Not content to rest his visionary mind, he returned Feb. 1 to
head up, among other things, the 2+2 Program, a collaborative
partnership between Metro State and the state’s community college
The program allows community college students to earn an associate’s
degree and then complete a Metro State bachelor’s degree in selected
programs, while physically remaining at their community college.
Currently, Metro State has 2+2 Program partnerships with Front Range
Community College (FRCC) and Community College of Aurora (CCA). Last
week, the College signed a memorandum of understanding with the
Colorado Community College System that, in addition to formalizing the
FRCC and CCA programs, will help to green light expansion to other
schools around the state.
Students at FRCC can now earn degrees in management, marketing, or
criminal justice and criminology. Beginning this fall, CCA students
will have the opportunity to take upper-division classes to complete
degree studies in psychology or biology. According to Branch, program
offerings are expected to grow over time to include more disciplines at
Branch, who now serves as special assistant to the provost for
institutional development, says his responsibilities include “anything
that needs to be done to help President [Steven] Jordan reach his
vision on and off campus.”
Throughout his Metro State career, Branch has worn many hats that
include being the first dean of the School of Professional Studies,
department chair of human services, coordinator of the Center for High
Risk Youth Studies and tenured professor of both teacher education and
“I’ve been in education for a long, long time,” says Branch, who
started his professional life as a jazz musician and high school band
teacher in Kansas in 1952.
Branch says he believes the 2+2 Program takes all the key
ingredients that make Metro State successful—high-quality academic
programs, relevant faculty and rich diversity—and “extends those
services to where they are needed.”
Because of such outreach, Branch feels like the College now has a
better opportunity to fulfill, in a quality way, the role and mission
that Metro State was founded on so many years ago.
“We are an integral part of the community,” says Branch.
Branch attributes Jordan’s vision to helping advance the College’s
visibility and reputation in the community, and to attracting
innovative, young faculty to Metro State.
“There are a lot of competent young people coming in as faculty who
I predict will become the leaders [of the College] and influence a
change in attitude and improvement of morale over time,” says Branch.
For himself, Branch seems quite content with serving as a College
historian of sorts and helping to “take good ideas and get them off and
running.” He adds that he’s excited that Metro State is “not being
controlled by history, but is truly driving history.”
“I think I’ll work on something for the rest of my life,” says Branch.
Top of Page