NWCCD accomplishes next step toward offering bachelor’s degree

In its Oct. 7 meeting at Sheridan College, the Wyoming Community College Commission (WCCC) unanimously voted to approve Northern Wyoming Community College District’s proposed curriculum for its Bachelor of Applied Science degree. This is the next milestone in a rigorous seven-step approval process the District must complete before students can enroll in the four-year program.

The degree NWCCD will offer upon final approval is a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Management and Leadership with areas of emphasis in Business and Industrial Technology. This degree will provide opportunities for students to seek advancement in current jobs, the ability to launch a new career, or even start their own business.

“A four-year degree offered locally is a game-changer for our students and regional employers,” said NWCCD President Dr. Walt Tribley. “We are proud to continue to create the skilled workforce that community and industry partners need, and, in turn, provide our graduates with jobs that give them higher earning power and a better quality of life.”

This program is created in a way that makes it easy for students who previously earned a degree in an applied area such as welding, diesel technology, or many other fields. They can enter the program as “juniors,” or essentially the half-way mark in the program which is a huge advantage, according to Dr. Estella Garrison, Vice President for Academic Affairs.

“This degree is flexible from start to finish. Students can continue to work while completing this degree. They can begin this degree having little or no college experience, or they may already have a two-year degree and have a desire or goal to earn that four-year degree. They may even qualify for college credit for life and work experience,” said Dr. Tribley.

To develop the curriculum, the District worked closely with local and regional employers to determine workplace needs. Results were incorporated in the course design and content of the programs.

The approval of the Bachelor of Applied Science degree began in 2019 with Senate File 111 which authorized the state’s community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees with the approval by the WCCC. NWCCD anticipates a site visit from the Higher Learning Commission, the next and final step, sometime in 2022.