15 Calif. community colleges receive initial approval to offer four-year degrees

Santa Monica College—SMC by Mrgates licensed by CC BY-SA 3.0 Santa Monica College was among one of the 15 Calif. community colleges that receive initial approval to provide a bachelor's degree program.

Santa Monica College—SMC by Mrgates licensed by CC BY-SA 3.0

Santa Monica College was among one of the 15 Calif. community colleges that receive initial approval to provide a bachelor’s degree program.

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors met today in Sacramento to discuss a number of items, including offering baccalaureate degree programs. Chancellor Brice W. Harris provided a list of 15 bachelor’s degree programs he recommended to the board for approval. This change will make California the 22nd state to offer bachelor’s degree programs at community colleges. Under legislation authored by State Senator Marty Block, only degree programs that are not currently offered by the University of California or California State University campuses are eligible to be offered at community colleges.

Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Pamela D. Walker explained the process of how the list of 15 recommended programs were selected from the 34 applications received by the deadline. In just 30 days, colleges were required to create a proposal for the degree program and provide extensive information to the chancellor’s office. The colleges were required to articulate a description of the program, evaluate student interest and community support, research labor market and labor demand, have conversations with CSU and UC campuses to demonstrate collaboration, and research and avoid duplications with UC and CSU majors. The colleges were also required to illustrate upper division course work and identify resources to demonstrate college capacities.

Over 250 individuals were approached to be readers of the bachelor’s degree program proposals. Overall, as least 200 hours went into reviewing each proposal, much of which happened during the holiday break. Readers scored each application on a number of criteria including geographic distribution, diversity of the programs, and the potential of duplication with CSU and UC campuses.

The programs recommended to the board for initial approval were diverse. Foothill College in Los Altos Hill and West Los Angeles College in Culver City both proposed Dental Hygiene. Modesto Junior College proposed Respiratory Care and Skyline College in San Bruno proposed Respiratory Therapy. Health related recommendations included Health Information Management at San Diego Mesa College and Shasta College in Redding, Emergency Services & Allied Health Systems at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, and Occupational Studies at Santa Ana College. Technology related programs included Airframe Manufacturing Technology at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, Industrial Automation at Bakersfield College, Biomanufacturing at MiraCosta College in Oceanside, and Automotive Technology at Rio Hondo College in Whittier. The rest of the recommended programs were Mortuary Science at Cypress College, Equine Industry at Feather River College in Quincy, and Interaction Design at Santa Monica College.

The Board of Governors provided their initial approval with nine votes in favor and two abstentions. They will now meet individually with each of the successful college to complete the review and consultation process. The 15 programs will then be brought back to the board in March for final approval. Once final approval is given, colleges will be required to start the programs by the 2017-2018 academic year.

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