Eight Southern California community college campuses will each start offering a four-year bachelor's degree for the first time, many starting as soon as fall 2016.
The board of governors of the California Community Colleges on Tuesday picked 15 campuses to develop the new bachelor’s degree programs. The board's approval is the first step in a program approved by state legislators last year to offer degrees for in-demand careers to more Californians.
“These colleges are embarking on a new mission for the California Community Colleges that will expand opportunities in public higher education,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris. “Students will have a range of programs from which to choose to earn high quality, affordable and in-demand degrees. California employers win, too, as they will have improved access to highly qualified candidates in these fields.”
The board of governors picked the 15 campuses from 34 that submitted proposals to offer bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees. The board will give final approval in March, after consulting with officials of the California State University and University of California systems. The degree programs also require approval from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.
The legislation caps at 15 the number of colleges that’ll be allowed to offer the degrees.
The Southern California colleges and the new bachelor's degrees they are likely to offer in fall 2016 include:
- Antelope Valley College, airframe manufacturing technology
- Cypress College, mortuary science
- Rio Hondo College, automotive technology
- San Diego Mesa College, health information management
- Santa Ana College, occupational studies
- Santa Monica College, interaction design
- West Los Angeles College, dental hygiene
- MiraCosta College, bio-manufacturing
Other California community colleges that will be offering four-year degrees include:
- Bakersfield College, industrial automation
- Crafton Hills College, emergency services and allied health systems
- Feather River College, equine industry
- Foothill College, dental hygiene
- Modesto Junior College and Skyline College, respiratory care
- Shasta College, health information management
Officials at Santa Monica College said their interaction design degree is meant to satisfy a hunger on the part of technology companies for workers with a four-year degree in the design field that melds function and aesthetics.
“We’re very excited about the approval,” said Santa Monica College President Chui Tsang. “This comes at a very important time. The technology industry is exploding on the Westside here. Day after day we hear news of the expansion of technology here in Venice, and Culver City, and in Playa Vista. All of these areas are really fueled by this economy."
Tsang said there are more than 2,000 jobs in the technology field in Southern California. Santa Monica College wants to fast track its interaction design degree and hopes to have the first class of 25 to 30 students by fall 2015, he said. Other colleges are looking to start a year later.
California has 112 community colleges that educate over 2 million students each year. Nearly two dozen other states allow two-year institutions to offer four-year bachelor’s degrees, but California has not done so until now.