Unanimous decision moves CWC’s proposed BAS degrees to final step

by | Oct 25, 2019 12:50PM

Featured Photo – CWC President Brad Tyndall

In a unanimous decision Thursday, the Wyoming Community College Commission (WCCC) voted to approve Central Wyoming College’s BAS degree in Organizational Management and Leadership with two options, Tribal Leadership and Business Entrepreneurship. This completes six steps of a seven-step process for the college, with the Higher Learning Commission visit remaining.

“Today’s approval by the Community College Commission is historic. We as a State have embraced a new and exciting vision to transform our community colleges and vocational education to the baccalaureate level,” President Brad Tyndall said. “We have carved a new pathway for those with vocational backgrounds and aspirations to advance in their careers. Their families and our local economies will benefit greatly.”

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In her presentation to the WCCC, Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Kathy Wells explained that in preparation for offering the proposed degree, CWC had conducted surveys of potential BAS employers indicating that 59% indicated a “strong need” for the program, 81% of those who hire would give BAS graduates a hiring preference, and 74% indicated they would pay BAS graduates “substantially or slightly more” than associate degree graduates. In addition, 50% said they would provide some kind of support for current employees to pursue a BAS degree, whether it be through a flexible work schedule, tuition assistance, or paid work time to attend classes.

“CWC has a long history of providing quality education at the associate degree level, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to expand our programs to the baccalaureate level,” Wells said.

In Wells’ presentation to the WCCC, she described the rigorous program design process CWC had utilized for the Bachelor of Applied Science prior to the WCCC review; involving surveys from potential students, employer focus groups, and input and approval from 100% of faculty at CWC prior to Curriculum Committee approval.

“CWC must follow a complex approval process to offer the Bachelors of Applied Science degree, and each step of the process is rigorous. The Wyoming Community College Commissioners did their due diligence and asked the difficult questions needed to ensure that CWC is prepared to implement bachelors-level education for the communities they serve. The unanimous vote of approval by the commissioners validates the work CWC faculty and staff have completed in their commitment to providing quality education and student support at this next level,” Wells said.

The final critical step for the approval of the proposed program, the visit from the Higher Learning Commission, the accrediting body for CWC, is expected to take place in late December or early 2020.

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