This spring, Colorado Mountain College celebrated as the first students in the institution’s two new bachelor’s programs earned their degrees.
In light of the success of the college’s programs in business administration and sustainability studies, CMC officials announced last week it is going through an accreditation process to offer three more bachelor’s degree options at campuses throughout the state. If successful, the college would bring its total number of bachelor’s degree programs to five, which is its limit, according to Colorado statute.
The programs CMC is attempting to bring to local students are a Bachelor of Applied Science, a Bachelor of Science in nursing and a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies, with an emphasis in elementary education.
Because CMC is limited to offering five bachelor’s degree programs by the state legislature, Brad Tyndall, senior vice president of academic affairs for Colorado Mountain College, said the school and its board of trustees approved offering programs that are intentionally flexible.
For example, the interdisciplinary arts degree will focus on teaching, but it could be altered or expanded in the future to meet changes in student needs, Tyndall said. The Bachelor of Applied Science also is flexible in the sense that it is a nationally recognized “finishing degree” for students with associate’s degrees in leadership, management and technical programs.
Although the college is in the midst of the accreditation process, CMC will have to navigate a lengthy approval procedure before it can begin offering the degrees to students. In addition to approval from the state, CMC will need to garner support from the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado State Board of Nursing, among others.
“I feel very confident we’re going to get all of our approvals because we know what we’re doing,” Tyndall said. “We don’t expect it to be a walk in the park, but they (state officials) will be providing good feedback on how to make the programs better.”
Although the accreditation process is a college-wide effort, Tyndall said the degrees would not be offered at each of CMC’s 11 campuses.
In Summit County, students already have access to the bachelor’s degree programs in business administration and sustainability studies at the Breckenridge and Dillon campuses. Since an Associate of Arts and Science degree in nursing is available locally, Tyndall said that program would likely be expanded to include the Bachelor of Science in nursing degree as well.
The Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies and the Bachelor of Applied Science are not being considered for the Breckenridge and Dillon campuses, Tyndall said, but would still be available to local students online.
“The teaching program is not being offered in Summit initially, but I could see it being expanded there eventually,” Tyndall said. “We’re anticipating the BAS (Bachelor of Applied Science) degree will encompass a lot of technology, like interactive television, so it could be delivered to Summit County in a hybrid format.”
CMC officials plan to file their official accreditation paperwork with the state in August, Tyndall said.
“I feel very confident we’re going to get all of our approvals because we know what we’re doing. We don’t expect it to be a walk in the park, but they (state officials) will be providing good feedback on how to make the programs better.” Brad Tynball, senior vice president of Academic Affairs, Colorado Mountain College