Fork Union Military Academy Set to Announce Associate's Degree

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Fork Union Military Academy is set to announce a new associate's of science degree for its students through the Richard Bland College of William and Mary. It's a chance for some of the top high school students in the commonwealth to take their education a step further.

"Fork Union is a college prep school so it's our goal for our students to be fully equipped academically and in all ways for the next level," said the school's academic dean Todd Giszack.

The school already offers dual-enrollment courses where students can take up to 24 hours of college credits through Piedmont Virginia Community College. But those classes are taught by the military academy's own teachers, not college professors. "They are taught by our instructors under the supervision and credentials of PVCC, so the teachers have to have credentials to do dual-enrollment courses," Giszack said.

This new partnership means students can take classes from actual professors at the Richard Bland College through distance learning. For instance, they may take the class online, but still be able to interact with a live professor.

"The landscape of colleges is changing and thereby the offerings that high schools, that competitive high schools are offering needs to change in accordance," said Giszack.

The first Richard Bland College course is scheduled to be offered this summer. It will be a 200-level computer science class called Computer Simulation Modeling and Gaming. Moving forward, the school will be offering a variety of classes in line with the typical curriculum for an associate's degree.

Giszack hopes his students will take advantage of the guaranteed transfer agreements Richard Bland College has with several other colleges and universities in the commonwealth, including Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Mary Washington, and the College of William and Mary.

"We think this is going to benefit Fork Union Military Academy students in a number of ways,” Giszack said. “We think it's important to education in general and we think it's important to Fork Union cadets specifically because these kids are going to take classes through distance learning, they're going to get their feet wet in a real college class taught by a real college professor, so the rigors of post-secondary education are going to be realized on our campus through this program."

The signing ceremony for this agreement between the two schools is set to take place Wednesday morning at Richard Bland College in Petersburg.

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