Factors and issues surrounding development of one community college baccalaureate degree program Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/73666676h

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  • The purpose of this study is to describe the factors and issues surrounding development of one community college baccalaureate degree program, the three-year Bachelor of Manufacturing Technology at Westark College in Arkansas. This study probes three primary movements at play in the Westark baccalaureate program, which was developed to respond to industry demands. First, and most obvious, this new program proposes that the community college expand its mission to include baccalaureate programs. Second, the Westark program is based on the demonstration of student mastered competencies. Finally, the Westark baccalaureate attempts to integrate the general education requirement into the competency-based curriculum. Individually, these threads are relatively untested. Combining these components into one degree program is a relatively new concept. The intent of this inquiry was not an evaluation of the Westark Bachelor of Manufacturing Technology degree program. What the researcher hoped to accomplish was to uncover the salient factors and issues related to the development of this new program. What was gained through this process is an understanding of how one community college baccalaureate was established, including identifying important themes. Several issues have been described from the interviews and ongoing document search that should be useful for future studies of the community college baccalaureate. Furthermore, the study clearly implies that curricula supporting student master competencies is an entirely different direction of inquiry that is perhaps even more essential than the study of the community college baccalaureate. Whether or not the Westark baccalaureate will be unique to Fort Smith, Arkansas remains to be seen. Other community colleges may attempt to adopt the Westark College model. Lining up the social, economic, political, and pedagogical forces to expand the community college degree offerings to include a baccalaureate that includes integrated student master competencies could be difficult. However, Westark College has provided a model for other community colleges that may currently, or in the future, be considering a bachelor degree program.
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