The Ohio Department of Education has granted its final approval for bachelor’s degrees at two area community colleges while deferring one proposed by a third local college.
Of nine proposals to receive initial approval from the state, five have been given final approval and four were deferred, department spokesman Jeff Robinson told the this news organization.
Sinclair Community College had two of its three proposals approved, including its applied bachelor’s degree in unmanned aerial systems and a four-year degree in aviation, according to the school.
"This is one of the most important innovations in education in Ohio in our history. Mark this day,” Sinclair president Steve Johnson said.
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College had two four-year degrees approved, including one in land surveying and another in culinary and food science, according to the state.
Lorain County Community College was the third college to receive final approval for its bachelor’s degree in microelectronic manufacturing, Robinson said.
Each school would still need to be OK’d from the Higher Learning Commission before beginning to offer the degrees. That approval may take 18 to 24 months, Robinson said.
Clark State Community College’s proposal for a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing technology management was deferred by the state as was Sinclair’s proposal for a four-year degree in industrial automation.
Colleges that received a deferment have 90 days to explore whether the workforce demands for their proposed degrees can be met through collaboration with area businesses and existing programs rather than with an entirely new degree, Robinson said. Colleges that received deferments also must check to make sure that their proposed degrees would not duplicate programs already offered in their region.
After 90 days, another review will be performed before a final decision is made, Robinson said.
“Clark State will be responsive to ODHE’s request for more information, because we want to ensure a successful program for the businesses and industries that we serve. The proposed program offers an opportunity to provide higher education for an industry that is so important to our region’s economic health,” said Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State.
Proposals from Cuyahoga Community College and North Central State College were also deferred.
Community colleges in Ohio have aspired to offer bachelor’s degrees for years but they received a defeating push-back until this year. Gov. John Kasich signed into law the concept of specialized four-year degrees at two-year schools in June when he signed into law his last state budget.
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