The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Los Rios district passes on four-year degrees
The Community College Board of Governors selected 15 colleges for four-year pilot programs. Los Rios was not among the districts considered. // Photo by Gabby Smith // [email protected]

Fifteen California community colleges have obtained initial approval to begin four-year programs offering bachelor’s degrees in fields ranging from airframe manufacturing technology to mortuary science.

The programs were submitted for approval by the Community College Board of Governors Jan. 20, and the final decision for the pilot programs is expected to come in March. California will be the 20th state with community colleges offering baccalaureate degrees. These bachelor’s degrees are estimated to cost about $10,000, according to a press release from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s office, and are in majors not offered by the California State University or University of California systems.

Some of the programs that have begun the approval process are in fields in which Los Rios colleges have certificates or degrees available. However, the Los Rios Community College District did not apply for these four-year programs.

“The focus on the baccalaureate degrees was based on immediate regional needs, and we are still evaluating those needs,” said Los Rios Chancellor Brian King.

The district is careful when considering expanding its purview, according to King. “We already do so much,” he said. “From basic skills to certificates to associate’s degrees, we want to be cautious in expanding our mission.”

“The decision to nominate and push forward our programs — to not participate in our case — was made by the district,” said Dr. Damon de la Cruz, the department chair of American River College’s funeral service education program. Cypress College was approved for a four-year program in mortuary science, which is equivalent to ARC’s funeral service education program.

“Our core curriculum is identical. It’s how we teach it that’s the real difference between programs,” said de la Cruz. Though American River will not be getting its own four-year degree program, de la Cruz is happy about the opportunity for his students. “I am completely excited about Cypress’ ability to get this program off the ground,” said de la Cruz. “This gives our students the opportunity to move on and complete a bachelor’s degree.”

City College aeronautics professor Scott Miller says he believes that four year programs at community colleges would be ideal for vocational training.

“I think the career and technical training programs are perfect for that sort of thing,” he said.

One of the pilot programs that received initial approval is Antelope Valley College, which will offer a four-year degree in airframe manufacturing. Availability of bachelor’s degrees at community colleges would also help students advance their careers, according to Miller.

“Getting our students four-year degrees in this day and age would make our students that much more employable in their chosen fields,” Miller said. While the airframe manufacturing program now has an in-state four-year program available, not every Los Rios degree or certificate leads to a bachelor’s degree.

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For now, the pilot programs will be under scrutiny as other California community colleges consider whether or not to expand their degree offerings.

Los Rios has not ruled out the idea of offering four-year degrees, according to the chancellor. “We will continue to observe the pilot programs, and we remain very interested in the topic,” said King.

The following California community colleges have been initially approved for pilot programs to offer bachelor’s degrees in the following fields:
• Antelope Valley College – Airframe Manufacturing Technology
• Bakersfield – Industrial Automation
• Crafton Hills – Emergency Services & Allied Health Systems
• Cypress – Mortuary Science
• Feather River – Equine Industry
• Foothill – Dental Hygiene
• Miracosta – Biomanufacturing
• Modesto – Respiratory Care
• Rio Hondo – Automotive Technology
• San Diego Mesa – Health Information Management
• Santa Ana – Occupational Studies
• Santa Monica – Interaction Design
• Shasta – Health Information
• Skyline – Respiratory Therapy
• West Los Angeles – Dental Hygiene

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