GRCC, LTU connect for architecture program

November 12, 2010
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Grand Rapids Community College and Lawrence Technological University in Southfield are teaming up to provide students with an education in architecture.

Students will be able to attend GRCC for two years for an associate’s degree in architectural technology, then transfer to LTU as juniors for a bachelor’s degree in architecture under the new agreement, said GRCC Professor Dave Dye.

The 120 students in GRCC’s architectural technology program still may choose to transfer to Ferris State University for facilities or construction management programs under a long-standing arrangement between the two.

Glen LeRoy, LTU dean of the College of Architecture and Design, visited Grand Rapids last week to unveil the new program and deliver a lecture.

Dye said the new affiliation will bring LTU instructors to Grand Rapids for the Integrated Design Studio for sophomores, which will be a combination of two courses worth six to seven credits. It will be taught in dedicated space at GRCC’s Applied Technology Center and be required for GRCC students interested in transferring with junior standing for a master’s of architecture degree from LTU.

“This is a studio put on from them to prepare those students so they can come into their junior year at Lawrence Tech,” Dye said.

The first Integrated Design Studio will be offered starting in August, and it is open to current GRCC architectural technology students, Dye said. However, the transfer track will include a slightly different mix of classes, such as two- and three-dimensional design classes in art and 3D computer-aided design. He said that at least 12 students will be needed to run the studio course.

“We, as a community college, have fed into different architecture schools. We had fed into University of Michigan, we have fed into Lawrence Tech, and have always called ourselves an architectural technology program,” Dye said. “Lawrence Tech came to us about two years ago. They said, ‘We would like to have it so that the students do their freshman and sophomore years at GRCC, and then transfer over to LTU.’ We said that sounds good to us.”

“What that does is take a number of courses and raise it up because they have to be National Architectural Accrediting Board certified courses, so we’ve raised the bar of our courses. Plus, a lot of our students are interested in going to Lawrence Tech, but unless you can get the Integrated Design Studio, which is what Lawrence Tech will be offering, you can’t transfer into your junior year,” Dye said.

This agreement is unique for GRCC, although LTU has a similar arrangement with Lansing Community College, he added.

“In West Michigan, there’s a lot of demand for people wanting to go into architecture. But all the architecture schools are in the eastern portion of the state. This gives them the opportunity to get their freshman and sophomore years at community college rates,” he said.

“I don’t mind raising the bar. Sometimes that increases the interest in your program.”

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