(Photo by Monica D. Spencer)

MCCCD hope to offer bachelor’s degrees beginning in the fall of 2023

Maricopa County Community Colleges plan to add bachelor’s degree programs to the eight community colleges in the district to address the demands of the workforce throughout Arizona.

Though not all programs have been approved, MCCCD hopes to expand on the pool of bachelor’s degrees offered within the district.

“Through this bachelor’s degree pathway in early childhood dual language. The focus will be in our community,” said chair of education studies at MCC, Annapurna Ganesh.

Mesa Community College plans to add a Bachelor of Applied Science in Data Analytics and Programming, and Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education: Dual Language. 

MCC plans to be the only community college in the district to offer these programs. Glendale, Paradise Valley, and Rio Salado Community Colleges plan to add a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Special Education at a later date.

According to Charles Coolidge who is a part of MCCCD digital marketing and communications department,  the approval of adding bachelor’s degrees came from the Senate Bill 1453 which had specific guidelines and requirements on how community colleges can offer bachelor’s degrees in Arizona.

According to Coolidge, MCCCD leadership teams were made up of faculty, staff, and administrators that reviewed college proposals and selected the first set of MCCCD bachelor’s programs.

The process of the possible addition of the programs throughout MCCCD began with various representatives from different colleges that analyzed enrollment projections, workforce data, and college resources, according to senior associate vice president at MCC, Nora Reyes.

All programs were added to their specific college based on the need of employers within their specific field and the expected job growth the career has. 

Research obtained by MCCCD showed no college in the East Valley had a plan to offer a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology, which was a key sector in legislation. 

MCC’s planning team partnered with various computer and information faculty and decided to pursue offering a Data Analytics and Programming degree, according to Reyes. 

“The goal of offering these programs is to support the state of Arizona in meeting the critical workforce demand for educators and information technology professionals,” said Reyes.

The plan for the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education: Dual Language program is to have an enrollment target of 75 students annually by the fifth year of the program. 

Data Analytics and Programming has a plan of approximately 140 students by the fifth year of the program. Both statistics include student completion, according to Reyes.

Programs such as Information Technology, Public Safety Administration, Behavioral Sciences Nuclear Medicine Technology, and Computed Tomography, and Elementary and Special Education are other bachelor’s degrees that have a plan to be offered at various Maricopa Colleges.

“The students we serve were our number consideration leading us to approach program selection and development regionally so students will be able to obtain a degree near their home,” stated Coolidge. 

The goal of the various programs is to support the state of Arizona by meeting the critical workforce demands, according to Coolidge. 

“Actually, it would be great to get my bachelor’s degree from MCC at lower costs and classes with fewer students, which would make me more likely to get integration and participation opportunities,” said Saeed Alhabbas, a student at MCC.

The MCCCD Governing Board authorized the programs on August 23, 2022. All programs have been submitted to the Higher Learning Commission, but have yet to be approved. 

While the programs wait to be approved by the HLC, a visit to the HLC site is scheduled for October 3-4, 2022, to focus on the college’s readiness to offer bachelor’s programs in their pre-selected fields

If approved by the HLC, then the programs will be submitted to the Department of Education for Title IV financial aid, according to Coolidge. 

If the programs are approved throughout all steps of the process, MCCCD plans to have bachelor’s programs in the fall of 2023.

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