Bachelors now at CC level

Three more community colleges have been approved to offer Bachelor’s Degrees in specific areas of study.

A Bachelor’s in automotive technology course is now being offered at Rio Hondo College, with interaction design and biotechnology being offered at Santa Monica and Solano respectively.

According to the official press release on these new programs, “the board’s actions are in response to legislation sponsored by Sen. Marty Block (D-San Diego) and allows up to 15 college districts to establish a pilot baccalaureate degree program at one of their colleges in a field of study not offered by the California State University or University of California … The college districts selected for the pilot program were chosen from several applications. A team comprised of Chancellor’s Office staff, a member of the business and workforce community, and community college administrators, faculty and staff from districts that did not apply to host a program reviewed the applications.”

Is there a benefit of going to one of these community colleges and taking one of these courses?

Councilor Nicole Westbrook believes there is incentive for these programs.

“I think there are some benefits in terms of some community colleges offering a bachelor’s degree, there’s a benefit there because a lot of times students couldn’t normally transfer to a four-year school and earn that degree any way like in auto tech or welding or some of the other CTE programs.” said Westbrook.

While there are benefits to having community colleges off bachelor’s courses, it is not without flaw.

Biology professor Jancy Rickman pointed out a problem that Solano might face now that they’re offering bachelor’s degrees in biotechnology.

“I do know that biotech programs are very expensive to run and maintain and do not necessarily serve the number of students proportional to the cost. Contra Costa College (our sister school in San Pablo) has a biotech program and my understanding is they struggle with this discrepancy,” said Rickman.

Is possible that Los Medanos is selected to offer bachelor’s programs?

“I have had some discussion with faculty, especially CTE faculty, and they have a strong interest in trying to develop that program here as well. I think it’s just a matter of seeing how this pilot goes and if there’s benefit there that could be something we potentially offer in the future,” said Westbrook.

Community colleges offering bachelor’s degrees provides students an opportunity to get a higher education without having to attend a 4-year university.