PCC is currently discussing a possible proposal to become one of 15 California community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees, according to Assistant Superintendent of Academic Student Affairs Robert Bell.
In March of 2014, Dean Barbara Freund and PCC’s nursing faculty began developing a curriculum for SB 850, the law passed by the state senate and signed by Governor Jerry Brown in May that would allow community colleges to offer four year degrees in certain fields.
Progress was halted when changes to the bill made it so that community colleges could not offer such classes if these programs were taught at a Cal State. CSU Los Angeles offers nursing degrees, which means PCC cannot, Bell said.
If this is the case, it is extremely unlikely that PCC will take advantage of SB 850. As of now, the nursing program is the only one with the credentials needed to offer a bachelor’s degree. A substantial amount of funding along with a considerable amount of additions to the faculty would be needed. PCC does not have room for either.
“I am not enthusiastic about community colleges offering bachelor degrees,” said Board of Trustees President Anthony Fellow. “Most B.A. granting institutions are those with professors with doctorates who have distinguished research records, which you need to have to go through the tenure ranks, which takes about six or seven years. A B.A. also requires upper-division courses. I think our nursing program had these two essentials. I did support the B.A. in nursing, but I am, in general, not supportive of community colleges offering B.A.s.”
This bill potentially provides excellent opportunities for PCC’s students in the future, as well as a much more appealing option financially if the CSUs and UCs continue their tuition increases. However, it is far from a small undertaking by the college, and certainly cannot happen at the drop of a hat.
“Any community college that considers applying to offer one of the 15 authorized community college four-year programs will need to make sure it is accomplishing its basic two-year mission and that the four-year program will not compromise that or be a distraction,” said Dr. Ross Selvidge.