Last Updated: Mar 28th, 2013 - 15:54:01
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Branch helps to grow College’s 2+2 Program

Charlie Branch came out of retirement to oversee the College's 2+2 Program and “anything that needs to be done to help President Jordan reach his vision on and off campus.”
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 system.

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 both schools.

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 human services.

“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.


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