General Universities - Institutional Affiliates

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Q: What is the National Partnership?

A: The National Partnership is a project funded by the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) Higher Education Challenge Grants Program. The grant was awarded to the State University of New York College of Oneonta for a period of three years to address the national need for increasing the number of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) educators in the workplace.

Q: What does the National Partnership seek to accomplish?

A: The National Partnership seeks to facilitate collaborative relationships with educational institutions to provide online courses for persons who want to teach FCS courses at the middle and high school levels or who want to prepare for other FCS workforce opportunities. The National Partnership seeks to help in making online FCS content courses available to students who would otherwise not have an opportunity to prepare for FCS employment.

Universities - Institutional Affiliates | Top

Q: How would my university become an Institutional Affiliate in the National Partnership?

A: To become an Institutional Affiliate, you would initiate a conversation with your academic department chairperson, dean, and university academic officer, such as the provost/vice-chancellor to review, approve, and sign the Memorandum of Agreement provided to partnering institutions. Institutional Affiliates agree to use a common student application and assess a common per credit hour tuition.

Q: Why would my university become an Institutional Affiliate in the National Partnership?

A:  Your institution would become an Institutional Affiliate so that courses your university currently offers or courses you develop can be a part of the course bank to address the the critical shortage of availability of FCS courses. Nationally, there is a shortage of people  prepared to teach FCS content at the middle and high school levels and to work in other FCS workforce opportunities. Many states in the United States no longer offer teacher preparation content in FCS.

Q: What online courses are sought by the National Partnership to be included in the course bank?

A: Courses are sought that would satisfy licensure requirements addressing the following focus areas: Culinary arts, hospitality, and tourism; Education and training; Food science and nutrition; Health management and wellness; Housing and interior design; Human/child development and family relations; Personal and family finance; and Textiles, apparel and retailing.

Q: Will my university be responsible for verifying that the course meets the requirements for the state in which licensure is sought?

A: Licensure requirements vary by state. It is therefore the student’s responsibility to verify whether the course meets the requirements for the state from which licensure is sought.

Q: How will my university report the status of the students taking these online courses?

A: No status reporting would be necessary other than the final grade, which will be available via a transcript from the university from which the student took the course. A report of the number of students registered through the partnership who completed the course will be submitted to the National Partnership at the end of each reporting period (semester, quarter).

Q: Will students earn a degree from the university teaching the course or from the partnership?

A: Students registered through the partnership may or may not be earning a degree at an institution. The partnership is not awarding degrees. The partnership seeks to provide access to courses for students who can not find the course(s) needed at a university convenient to them.

If a student is a degree seeking student from a university, they would earn a degree from that institution. A student seeking a degree from an institution could take a course through the partnership and obtain a transcript from the institution from which the course was taken. If the course meets the degree requirements of the institution from which the student seeks to earn a degree, the university would allow the course to transfer as an equivalent course. It is recommended that the student determine transferability of the course or courses with the institution where the degree is being earned prior to taking the course.

For courses that an institution offers to its own students and students taking the course through the partnership, the institution’s own students would register for the course as matriculating students, while a student who is taking the course through the partnership would register as a non-matriculating student.

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Q: Would each course developed by an institution and approved through the partnership need to be offered every semester?

A: Each institution is asked to commit to offer the courses once on a two-year rotation.

Q: How are students registered for courses and how are their qualifications determined?

A: Students will apply though the FCS Education application process, available online. A committee will review the application and accept/deny each student. Students must have an overall grade point average of 2.8. As a part of the partnership, institutions who offer online courses, through the partnership, agree to the admission procedure, common tuition, and guidelines.

Q: How will the courses offered through an institution be transcribed at that institution?

A:  Universities differ in how this is handled. One model would be to handle this through Continuing Education. A transcript for each student completing a course at an institution will be available for the student. The grade and credit hours are communicated via the transcript.

Q: What is the degree plan?

A: Students needing a degree plan would be affiliated with an institution. That institution would be responsible for the degree plan for the student. Please note that the partnership is not awarding degrees.

Q: Why not allow students to take courses that fit the FCS degree plan with one specific institution rather than through the partnership?

A:  The project is addressing a national shortage of qualified FCS educators. One purpose of the partnership is to provide access, through a central repository, to online courses for students who do not have access to the content they need. A second purpose of the partnership is to address the national shortage of course providers. Also, some institutions may lack a faculty and/or a course or courses needed by students.


Each state has its own requirements for a degree plan or to satisfy requirements for persons entering a field for which their degree does not meet the qualifications. The student is responsible for determining the requirements, if they are taking the course(s) to meet certain requirements.

Q: Will professors be adjunct under this partnership?

A:The partnership does not determine faculty level or rank. The term adjunct has various meanings as determined by each institution. Faculty are credentialed at the institution at which they are employed to teach a specific online course or courses offered through the partnership. The professor’s affiliation with an institution and their qualifications for teaching online are determined by the institution. For example, if adjunct means part-time, non tenure track, your institution would make that decision. Each institution would determine the workload and compensation level for their faculty

Q: Is an institution that is an Institutional Affiliate expected to set up an isolated set of courses for the students applying through the partnership?

A: The institution could develop courses for the partnership or submit courses currently offered by their campus that meet the requirements. It may be easiest for record keeping purposes to have a separate section for the students taking the course through the partnership. Some Institutional Affiliates may choose to create two sections of the same course. One section could be for “partnership” students and one for students seeking a degree or certificate from the university. Tuition differences can be tracked, as well as other things, using this procedure. The partnership student could be processed through Continuing Education as a non degree/certificate seeking student. The procedure will need to be determined by each Institutional Affiliate institution and approved by the appropriate university officer, such as provost or vice-chancellor, etc.