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Maritime First Focus of Four-Year Degree Push

February 12, 2013
Maritime First Focus of Four-Year Degree Push

Last December during the lame duck session, state lawmakers passed a bill authorizing Michigan's 28 community colleges to offer bachelor degrees in maritime technology, energy production, cement technology and culinary arts.

“The legislation passed despite opposition from the 15 state universities – and only after nursing was eliminated as one of the approved technical areas,” says Stephen Siciliano, Northwestern Michigan College’s vice president of educational services. “Until NMC is able to offer its own bachelor of science in nursing degree, it will be looking for additional four-year college and university partnerships as a possible solution to our area’s critical need for a bachelor nursing program.”

Meanwhile, the college has turned its focus toward developing an applied technical baccalaureate in maritime technology.

The next step is developing an application to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) to start the “Change in Status” process, says Marguerite Cotto, vice president for professional and lifelong learning.

“What this means is preparation of master schedules, completing a self-assessment that answers a series of academic process questions about the proposed degree, etc.” she says.

The HLC is an independent corporation and one of two commission members of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Cotto and other NMC officials have met with Great Lakes Maritime Academy (GLMA) Superintendent Jerry Achenbach to begin preparing for HLC approval. They believe they can redesign the current maritime program to save students time and money, but stress NMC will continue to partner with Ferris State University in meeting the needs of GLMA students.

In a few weeks, Cotto, Siciliano and Darby Hiller, executive director of research, planning and effectiveness, will attend a conference where community college representatives work together to prepare for HLC accreditation.

“This work over the next few weeks will allow us to start formulating an implementation plan, which is due to the NMC Board of Trustees by the end of June,” Siciliano says.

So what about the other degrees allowed in the bill?

“It's unlikely NMC would offer cement technology since we don't really have a program to build up to that,” says Andy Dolan, executive director of public relations and marketing. “We’re going to do market analysis on energy production and culinary to determine when or if to go forward with those.”

Opponents of the new baccalaureate program say it will create duplication between community colleges and universities while supporters say it will make college degrees more affordable and accessible.

NMC President Tim Nelson, who had launched a webpage to encourage people to contact their lawmakers in support of the Community College Baccalaureate Authorization Bill, says it will help make Michigan's workplace more competitive.

“This is an important step for our students and the future students in Michigan,” he says. “This authorization, coupled with our current and continuing partnerships at the University Center, provide superior access to higher education for citizens in our region.”


Most Recent Comments

 
Hemant on April 15, 2013 6:37pm

you can become an LPN, this is a cerfctiiate program .to be an RN you must have at least an associates degree in nursing having an undergraduate degree will help you if that degree contained coursework that meets the prerequisites for the nursing degree/program.

Alex B on February 14, 2013 12:44am

As a maritimer myself, the field is extremely difficult and the technical knowledge required to receive a license is daunting. Most people don't know that most USCG licensing exams require a 90% minimum to pass. This field takes a minimum of four years dedicated to school only and 5 years with having to work through school. This timeframe is year round, with no summer breaks throughout the entire curriculum. This school is NOT for those who aren't severely dedicated...

G on February 13, 2013 9:21am

NMC is ill equipped to offer any four year programs. They have more full time staff than full time teachers, and most students have trouble with even the basic skills. They would do well to perfect what they are supposed to be doing before expanding their programs.

Mike and Lynn on February 12, 2013 11:18am

We are both nurses (with BSNs) working here in Traverse City. In our opinion, NMC is being disingenuous when it claims it needs to address “our area’s critical need for a bachelor nursing program.” There is absolutely NO shortage of bachelor nursing programs here. Over breakfast we were able to count at least 8 different BSN programs that our fellow nurses are enrolled in, including 2 that hold classes right on NMC’s campus. NMC should simply increase the capacity of their current associates nursing program. THAT would do much more to help alleviate the local nursing shortage.

Ron in Leelanau on February 12, 2013 8:45am

Disturbs me that these degrees were approved for 4 year programs. Except for Nursing, these are two year programs at best. We're kidding ourselves to think it takes 4 years to learn how to make cement or good food. C'mon folks, people are going into big time debt to go to school and the taxpayer is also on the hook.
When will we see the first 4 year degree to grow weed legally?

Bill Ross on February 12, 2013 7:49am

15 state universities, 15 too many

anonymous on February 12, 2013 7:25am

Pleased to see the 4 year program move forward and hope the nursing program will be pursued with as much enthusiasm as the maritime program. Although the maritime has been in Traverse city for a long time, I think there are more local opportunities for students in the nursing program and medical fields than in maritime. I don't believe the local taxpayer actually benifits from the maritime program.

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