Here is the ideal bachelor’s degree program offered at a community college:
“The Southern Illinois University program is an accelerated bachelor’s degree program in Aviation Management, held in our classrooms at Mt. San Antonio College. Students completing the A.S. degree at Mt. SAC (with special attention to specific details about the SIU general education requirements) can enter the SIU B.S. degree program in Aviation Management immediately after completion of their A.S. degree.” (http://www.mtsac.edu/instruction/tech-health/aeronautics/siu_connection.html)
I am all for collaborating with baccalaureate granting institutions to create programs like the one above. Let the community colleges focus on what we do best, which is remediation for underprepared students, A.A. degrees, vocational education, lifelong learning, and transfer. Even with these missions, there are tussles over resources at each of our community colleges for the folks in charge of each of these missions. You throw bachelor degree programs into that mix, and something will have to fall by the wayside.
There was a report from the “California Community Colleges Baccalaureate Degree Study Group,” and I must say, the report comes to no definitive conclusions, and has a rather eclectic presentation style. At first it put me off, but then I began to realize the style of this report is a true reflection of California. For example, when the report and news articles try to garner support by saying “Other states and cities are already doing it,” then try to compare California with Great Basin, NV, Indian River, FL, Midland, TX, and Bismarck, ND, I can’t quite grasp the similarities. But with 38 million people and 113 community colleges, we as a state, are somewhat hard to define and definitely eclectic. So, maybe, just maybe, we have regions of the state that might benefit economically from a Bachelor’s degree at Butte College, College of the Dessert, or Barstow College. But once we travel down that slippery slope, community colleges will begin to want to offer B.A.’s for all the wrong reasons; increased status, prestige, other issues.
If I had to vote up or down today for this concept, I would say, “Look at the Mt. SAC/SIU relationship!”, and then say, “Why are we even voting?”
By Dan Nannini