by
Emilie Rusch

New Mines Academy launching at Front Range Community College

Transfer program includes guaranteed admission to any four-year degree program at Colorado School of Mines
Mines President and FRCC President sitting at table talking to students

Colorado School of Mines President Paul C. Johnson and Front Range Community College President Colleen Simpson interact with FRCC students after signing the agreement to formally create a new Mines Academy at FRCC on Dec. 7. (Photo by Agata Bogucka/Colorado School of Mines)

Front Range Community College and Colorado School of Mines are launching a new partnership to offer FRCC engineering students a direct pathway to earning a bachelor's degree at Mines. Today, FRCC President Colleen Simpson and Mines President Paul C. Johnson signed the agreement to formally create a new Mines Academy at FRCC. 

“This innovative transfer model provides a clear, straightforward path for FRCC students who want to complete a four-year degree at Mines in engineering,” says FRCC Provost and VP of Academic Affairs Rebecca Woulfe, PhD. “It will give more students access to the professional pipeline for careers in STEM fields.” 

Students accepted into the Mines Academy will begin their program at FRCC pursuing an Associate in Engineering Science (AES) degree. The relevant coursework for that degree will also apply to their Mines degree program—allowing Mines Academy students to seamlessly transfer to the university to complete the second half of their bachelor’s degree. The academy will provide FRCC students the opportunity to earn guaranteed admission into any four-year degree program at Mines. 

Mines Academy at FRCC will also provide these students additional support for their success in college—and advisors will help them plan and complete prescribed coursework specifically designed for a smooth transition to Mines. 

Diversifying Colorado's STEM workforce 

More than 400 FRCC students are currently majoring in one of FRCC's AES programs. “With a student body that is 48% first generation and 34% students of color, FRCC is proud to provide historically underserved students access and support on their path toward careers in engineering,” said FRCC President Colleen Simpson, EdD.  

“Our Mines Academy will give FRCC’s diverse student body a clear path to pursue their bachelor’s degrees at Colorado School of Mines,” she added. “By giving community college students a way to transfer seamlessly into the degree programs at Mines, we’re helping to make these fields more inclusive and equitable for all budding engineers.” 

Preparing students for success 

“What's exciting to us about this partnership with Front Range Community College is that it will expand opportunities for students to earn admission to Mines and support them on their path to graduation and a successful launch to their careers", said Dr. Paul C. Johnson, president of Colorado School of Mines. "This distinctive pathway model supports students and helps them feel confident in their academic readiness and that their courses will seamlessly transfer to Mines. It’s a local partnership with a broad impact.” 

Throughout their time at FRCC, Mines Academy students will meet regularly with advisors from both colleges and be required to maintain a certain GPA. Students will also have the opportunity to attend co-curricular events held at both schools. 

“The program is intentionally designed to set students up for success as they pursue a pathway to Mines. They’ll gain access to wrap-around support services, including career preparation and professional development, academic advising from both institutions, and exposure to life as an Oredigger,” said Mines Provost Rick Holz. “Students who engage in this educational opportunity will find themselves not only academically prepared but also empowered with a holistic toolkit that extends beyond the classroom, ensuring a well-rounded and successful transition to Mines and beyond into their chosen STEM field.”  

Mines Academy benefits 

Participating in FRCC’s Mines Academy will help students complete a bachelor’s degree and save money along the way. On average, Colorado students save more than $16,000 by completing their first two years of college at FRCC.  

Students who participate in the Mines Academy at FRCC will: 

  • Pursue an economical path to a bachelor’s degree at Mines. 
  • Find support through resources like TRIO Student Support Services (for first-generation students, those with limited income, and students with disabilities), accessibility services, academic supports, FRCC scholarships or STEM groups. 
  • Take high-quality math, science and engineering courses at FRCC with small faculty-student ratios. 
  • Engage with Mines’ student success offices early and often, including Center for Academic Services and Advising, Financial Aid and the Mines Career Center
  • Gain access to resources and events at Mines such as sporting events, career and professional speakers and presentations. 
  • Be part of an engineering community with academic peers who support each other both at FRCC and Mines. 

“Our students can now focus on studying and achieving academic success while at FRCC—and they can rest assured that they have a straightforward pathway to a bachelor’s program at Mines in engineering,” said Dr. Woulfe. “We are excited about this progression in our longstanding partnership with Mines to meet the ever-growing need for more STEM graduates." 

This engineering academy is the second of its kind in Colorado and is modeled after an existing Mines Academy at Red Rocks Community College

Emilie Rusch

Emilie Rusch

Director of Communications
303-273-3361
About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public research university focused on science and engineering, where students and faculty together address the great challenges society faces today - particularly those related to the Earth, energy and the environment.