EMU and Cooley Law School create joint degree programs

 By Jo Mathis

 Legal News
Job candidates in a tough market need every advantage they can get.
Now students at Eastern Michigan University and Thomas M. Cooley Law School can transfer master’s degree credits from one of four Eastern programs to Cooley’s Juris Doctor degree program, or transfer credits from the J.D. degree to a specific master’s degree program at Eastern.
The four new partnerships are:
• J.D./master’s degree in human resource and organizational development (MSHROD).
• J.D./master’s degree in educational leadership (MA EdLd).
• J.D./master’s degree in health administration (MHA).
• J.D./master’s degree in business administration (MBA).
The agreement between the two neighboring institutions saves students both time and money by transferring credits between the two institutions.
 “These dual degree programs are great for the very goal directed student with cross-discipline interests as they save the student time and money,” explained Joan Vestrand, dean of Cooley’s Ann Arbor campus. “The student can start either program first with some of the credits getting shared - counting toward both degrees ... The programs expand the possibilities for students while helping to reduce overall education costs and for those who are looking for multiple degrees, that's a good thing.”
EMU President Susan Martin and Cooley Law School President Don LeDuc signed the joint program agreements on Oct. 4.
“This is a terrific opportunity for our students to have credits count for both degrees, advance their knowledge, and have us collaborate as we see institutions doing across the country,” said Martin.
LeDuc emphasized the advantages to each institution, and the ability to do things neither could do separately.
“You obviously can’t do a law degree, and we obviously can’t do a master’s program on our own,” LeDuc told the EMU and Cooley officials in the room.  “So this is a good way to maximize the value of both institutions.”
He said the agreement is a boon to students who are willing to devote themselves to the amount of work involved in earning two degrees, as well as to both faculties who’ll now have the chance to collaborate on projects and common tasks. 
Fraya Wagner-Marsh, who heads the management department of EMU’s College of Business, said she’s seen more and more attorneys attending national human resource conferences and events to learn about benefits, staffing, compensation, etc. She said she’s excited about the formal arrangement that recognizes the connection between the two disciplines.
Noting the current emphasis on health care, Colleen Croxall, director of Health Services at EMU, said she expects that Cooley students will be attracted to the J.D./master’s degree in health administration.
“It just seems to make sense,” Croxall said. “It’s a good fit.”
 “We’re very excited about this partnership,” said Michelle Henry, director of academic services at EMU’s College of Business. “Over the years, we’ve had many students approach us and ask about a joint degree between law and business. It’s a natural marriage.”
Students who are interested in participating in these joint degree programs must be admitted into Cooley’s J.D. program and be admitted separately into Eastern’s master’s program.  Students will then complete each program within six years of the start date, and graduate from each institution. Students do not have to graduate at the same time for both programs.
Both Cooley and EMU will offer their degrees independently, but eligible students will be able to incorporate course work from the other institution’s program. 
Cooley also has degree partnership programs with Davenport University, Oakland University, Olivet College, and Western Michigan University. 


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