Qualified Red Rocks Community College (RRCC) students who want to transfer to the Colorado School of Mines in pursuit of a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) bachelor’s degree, will soon have a more direct route to achieving their goal.
On Tuesday, Nov. 30, Chancellor Joe Garcia of the Colorado Community College System, President Paul C. Johnson of Colorado School of Mines and President Michele Haney of Red Rocks Community College signed an official memorandum of understanding to create Mines Academy, a new transfer pathway that will support diverse nontraditional and traditional community college students with guaranteed admission into any four-year degree program at Mines.
For years, students have been transferring from RRCC to Mines, but according to Garcia, the new pathway will ensure more students will transfer successfully.
He said Mines Academy students will also have access to Mines student support services and campus events — before they transfer to the university — making the transition smoother for incoming students.
Ben McDill, 30, is one of those nontraditional RRCC students who plans to participate in the Mines Academy. McDill said he spent more than a decade working in the service industry before deciding a career change was in order.
“With poor performance in high school, I wasn’t really in the position to get admitted into a school like Mines, that has such a good reputation,” he said. “Red Rocks is giving me the opportunity to build credibility as an adult and get back into the academic scene.”
McDill said he knew engineering was his calling, and he was trying to choose between CU Boulder and Mines, but after seeing the RRCC partnership with Mines and watching several acquaintances have success in transferring there, he realized Mines would be a great place to continue his education.
Mines President Paul C. Johnson, spoke enthusiastically about the program, saying it will provide more certainty in the transfer process. He said he was looking forward to the day when Mines Academy students would cross the stage at graduation, accomplishing a dream.
“All of the students I’ve gotten to know who’ve come to Mines from Red Rocks — they’ve just been wonderful and amazing,” he said. “I’ve had a great time getting to know them. They really do appreciate the opportunity and they do have dreams. And making that dream a reality is one of the best things that we can all do.”
An application for Mines Academy will be posted on the RRCC website this spring. Mines Academy will officially begin in Fall 2022.