Bachelor’s degrees at Colorado Mountain College approved

Higher Learning Commission gives final OK for eagerly awaited degrees

Former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter signed Senate Bill 10-101 in Breckenridge on Thursday, May 27, 2010. The bill allowed Colorado Mountain College to offer up to five bachelor’s degrees. The final regulatory approval needed before the first two degrees will be offered this fall was granted on Monday, April 18, 2011. Photo Ed Kosmicki

Colorado Mountain College can now offer bachelor’s degrees.

With Monday’s (April 18, 2011) approval from the community college’s accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission, Colorado Mountain College will start offering two new bachelor’s degrees in the fall: a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability Studies. Several additional degrees are being evaluated for future years.

Over the past 18 months, the college has received approval to offer bachelor’s degrees from its elected board of trustees, the Colorado Legislature and Gov. Bill Ritter. The Colorado Commission on Higher Education’s permission was granted this spring, pending a positive outcome from the HLC.

“CMC will be a dual-purpose college,” said Dr. Stan Jensen, president and CEO of the college. “We will continue to be a comprehensive community college, and our other purpose is to be a college that offers excellent four-year degrees.”

To illustrate this, Jensen said, “Students can come to Colorado Mountain College to earn a career and technical certificate, a two-year associate degree and/or a four-year baccalaureate degree.”

To enroll in upper-division courses toward earning a bachelor’s degree, students must hold a 2.3 grade point average and have completed 45 transfer-level credit hours at Colorado Mountain College or another accredited college or university.

“With the addition of these bachelor’s degrees, we will be even better-equipped to serve our communities and students,” said Jensen. “At Colorado Mountain College, we can provide higher education that supports job preparation and is an engine for economic development.

“These are real-world degrees that will help our students create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities,” said Jensen.

Colorado Mountain College is located in Steamboat Springs, Rifle, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Glenwood Springs-Spring Valley, Aspen, Edwards, Dillon, Breckenridge, Leadville and Buena Vista. Of these locations, the college’s three campuses in Spring Valley, Leadville, and Steamboat Springs are residential. The college’s Central Services administrative offices, which serve all other locations, are located in downtown Glenwood Springs.

Colorado Mountain College has been offering associate degrees and certificates of occupational proficiency since 1967.

For more information about these degrees, including curriculum, cost and admission process, please go to http://www.ColoradoMtn.edu/4year.

Sidebar:

Visiting team praises college during its accreditation visit

In the report submitted by the Higher Learning Commission’s visiting team following their research visit to the college in February, the college received high praise:

“Upon receiving legislative authorization, the institution moved with deliberate speed in developing the proposal for two bachelor’s degrees. Where institutional changes and additional capacities were needed they occurred. There is a ‘can do’ attitude evident at the institution that consistently is applied within the context of its mission and vision. Such commitment to quality education strengthens their efforts as does the strong collaborative approach that is evident in the interactions between administration and faculty and among the faculty. Student and community enthusiasm for the opportunities that a bachelor’s program provides is strong. All this is supported by a very strong administrative team that respects the strengths that each person brings to the process of providing a quality education that is responsive to needs of each stakeholder group.”

In another section of the report, the reviewers said:

“It is apparent to the team that the implementation of AQIP (Academic Quality Improvement Process, the college’s system of accreditation and continuous improvement) processes are embedded into the governance of the College to an extent that its quality improvement oriented processes impact all areas of College operations in a manner that to the team is truly exemplary and constitutes a model for postsecondary institutions.

Colorado Mountain College is a comprehensive community college that, through its 11 physical sites, as well as through distance learning, serves the educational needs of a population spread across 12,000 square miles in north-central Colorado. As a local district college, it is separate from the Colorado Community College System.

Media contact: Debbie Crawford, Colorado Mountain College’s public information officer, Central Services in Glenwood Springs, 970-384-8535, dcrawford@coloradomtn.edu]

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