CMC prepping for new bachelor’s degrees
Summit Daily News
After receiving final approval from the Higher Learning Commission on April 18, administrators at Colorado Mountain College are moving full speed ahead with arrangements for two new bachelor’s degrees.
At an information session for prospective students Tuesday in Dillon, Bill Sommers, the college’s assistant vice president of enrollment services, said school officials are moving as quickly as possible to get necessary provisions in place before classes start in three-and-a-half months. The college has been accepting applications for the two degrees – a bachelor of science in business administration and a bachelor of arts in sustainability studies – since getting the final OK in April. While faculty has already designed the coursework, administrators are still working out when and where classes will be offered.
“We’ve pushed off from the dock, and we’re still building the ship,” Sommers said.
Although a permanent schedule is not yet set, Nicole Fazande, instructional chair for the college, said class offerings for the two degrees will alternate between the Dillon and Breckenridge campuses, and will primarily be offered on weekday evenings and weekends (Friday evenings and Saturdays).
“They’re trying to build schedules based on student and community needs,” Sommers said.
College officials are also waiting to hear from the federal government regarding financial aid for students at the baccalaureate level. Sommers said currently students at the college can only be approved for aid pertaining to associate degrees. Debbie Devine, student services generalist for Summit campuses, said she is not sure when approval for higher-tier classes will come.
While administrative details are being worked out, numerous sessions are being held over the next few months to inform prospective students about specifics pertaining to degree requirements.
At Tuesday’s gathering, Sommers told attendees the new offerings are “degree completion programs,” designed to build upon CMC’s existing associate-level coursework.
Sommers said faculty designed a “traditional” business degree, so coursework will be easily recognized by other institutions. He said the classes will provide students with foundations in accounting, finance, marketing, information systems and finance, and will prepare them for a wide range of careers in the public or private sectors, as well as graduate school.
“The business program is pretty rigorous,” he said. “Students will have a global sense of what business is about.”
The sustainability degree, Sommers said, is not an environmental science degree. Courses will focus on “the three ‘E’s of sustainability: economy, environment and (social) equity. The degree incorporates business, science and literature studies, which Sommers said makes it unique from those offered at the 30 colleges faculty studied while designing coursework. He said the business aspect is especially important because graduates will need it to move ahead in a modern world.
Sommers said so far, the college has received about 80 applications for the new degrees – about 60 percent for business and 40 percent for sustainability. He said there is currently no cap on how many people can be admitted into the programs, and that registration for higher-tier classes is slated to begin sometime in June.
Attendee Emily Roesel said she is trying to decide whether she wants to apply for a degree in sustainability studies, or wait until the college offers a certification in education. Administrators are currently working on accreditation to offer teacher certification for K-12 and a bachelor’s in nursing, a status CMC president Stan Jensen recently said he hopes to have approval for “in a couple of years.” Roesel, who recently moved to Summit County and knew the college was hoping to offer the bachelor’s degrees, said she was excited to hear of the programs’ recent approval. She said she is currently leaning towards applying for the degree in sustainability studies because she thinks the job market will be better.