Central Wyoming College is looking to become the first community college in the state to offer a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree. Representatives from the national Higher Learning Commission are visiting the college's Riverton campus this week to evaluate the proposed degree program.
The college currently offers a 2-year Associate in Applied Science degree in disciplines ranging from computer science to culinary arts. CWC President Brad Tyndall said the 4-year BAS in Organizational Management and Leadership is geared toward those who are already part of the workforce.
"The applied science degrees are very much job-focused," Tyndall said in in August, after the program was approved through the college's internal evaluation system. "This effort would allow us to add more and take people to the Bachelor's level where they can advance their careers."
The proposed BAS program has strong support from leaders of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes, which employ hundreds of people in Fremont County. Tribal Education Coordinator Ivan Posey said that both of the program's areas of concentration, in Tribal Leadership and Business Entrepreneurship, were designed with the Wind River Reservation's workforce needs in mind.
"Whether [the student] works in economic development, natural resources, the health field - tribal leadership is pretty broad," Posey said. "Perhaps there's an individual who has an [Associate's degree] in accounting that works for the tribal government but would like to pursue their Bachelor's. This will give them the opportunity to do that."
Students opting for the Tribal Leadership concentration would take courses including federal Indian law, natural resource management and tribal governance.
Following a national trend, the state of Wyoming authorized its seven community colleges to offer BAS degrees in March. Pending approval from the commission, CWC officials hope to begin offering the degree starting next fall.
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