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Three Ohio Schools Inch Toward Applied Bachelor’s Offering

A group of Ohio community colleges are one step closer to offering bachelor’s and applied bachelor’s degrees on their campuses.

The Ohio Department of Higher Education approved five proposed programs at three schools.

They include Bachelors of Science in Land Surveying and Culinary and Food Services at Cincinnati State Community and Technical College, Bachelors of Applied Science at Sinclair Community College in Unmanned Aerial Systems and Aviation Technology/Professional Pilot, and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Microelectronic Manufacturing at Lorain County Community College.

The offerings will now be reviewed by the Higher Learning Commission, a third-party nonprofit that evaluates program offerings at higher education institutions for accreditation.

Jeff Robinson with ODHE said the review and accreditation process can take anywhere from 18 to 24 months.

The best case scenario for these schools to actually begin offering their programs, he said, is fall of 2019.

This is the first time ODHE has accepted and reviewed proposed bachelor’s offerings by community colleges since legislation in 2017 allowed for the creation of the programs.

Lawmakers saw it as a way to increase access to higher education and create a more educated workforce to keep up with industry needs, but placed restrictions of which programs could be created, including limiting offerings to those that do not exist at other nearby four-year institutions.

They must also have the support of area businesses, which Johnny Vanderford with LCCC said has increased for their microelectronic engineering degree.

“We’ve seen over the last five years going from only eight supporting companies to now over 40 of them, supporting both our associate and our bachelor degrees,” he said.

Those companies reach from Mentor to Toledo and south from Lorain to Wooster, he added.

Dr. Andrew Shepherd with Sinclair Community College expects his school’s programs in drones and piloting to officially begin enrolling students for the Fall 2019.

Until then, he said the school is working to identify general education courses that students currently in the two-year program can take in order to ensure a smooth transition from one program to the other.

“Now they’re going to have a clean pathway all the way from starting college through their bachelor program right here in the state of Ohio and in Dayton, and we think that’s great,” Shepherd said.

Four other programs submitted for approval have been placed on a deferred status, Robinson said. ODHE is requesting more information from the schools before allowing them to move forward.

They include proposals from Clark State Community College for a Bachelor of Applied Science in Manufacturing Technology Management, a Cuyahoga Community College Bachelor of Applied Science in Data Integration/Database Administration, a Bachelor of Applied Science in Industrial Automation from Sinclair Community College, and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology from North Central State College.

Some of the programs, according to Robinson, were deferred because ODHE had concerns they were already being offered by other colleges and universities in the area.

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