New bachelor’s degree program, new opportunities

by De Anza College

De Anza College has won formal approval to offer its first-ever baccalaureate degree: a bachelor of science in automotive technology management. The degree will provide students with new opportunities for jobs and career growth, while helping fill a need for skilled managers at auto dealerships, repair shops and commercial vehicle fleets.

The California college could begin admitting students to the new program as early as 2023-24, or once the new upper-division courses have gone through the curriculum development process.

Approval for the new degree was formally announced by the Board of Governors for California Community Colleges, which is expanding an earlier pilot program that allowed a limited number of community colleges to begin offering bachelor’s degrees.

Track record for innovative programs

De Anza’s new degree program was developed by the Business, Computer Science and Applied Technologies Division and the Automotive Technology Department.

The department, which draws more than 2,000 student enrollments each year, has a strong student success rate and a track record of offering innovative programs such as noncredit classes and certificates, evening classes and a new career pathway in the growing field of autonomous and electric vehicles.

The new degree program will include general education courses and current offerings in the automotive technology program, along with new upper-division courses that will be developed in subjects such as automotive marketing, supply chain management, sales forecasting, human resources and other business practices relevant to the automotive industry.

The degree “is built around the concept of stackable credentials, allowing individuals to progress on a career path to improve their economic status,” said Moaty Fayek, dean of business, computer science and applied technologies. By taking auto tech classes at De Anza, students will now be able to accumulate credits toward certificates, associate degrees and a bachelor’s degree.

The program also will be open to students who transfer to De Anza after taking automotive courses or earning associate degrees at other accredited colleges, Fayek said.

“An equity breakthrough”

“This is an equity breakthrough,” he added, because it extends the academic and career pathways for students – including women and other historically underrepresented population groups – who previously may not have had opportunities to earn bachelor’s degrees or advance into automotive management.

In developing the proposal, the auto tech program gathered input from principals at auto dealerships, repair shops, auto parts chains and other employers, who reported a strong need for managers who have both “an automotive background as well as business savvy,” according to an outline that De Anza submitted to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. The commission gave its approval for the program in February.

Important employment sector

The automotive industry is an important California employment sector, strengthened by advances in consumer automotive technology and expanding into new markets such as autonomous vehicles for passengers and delivery of goods.

“We’re excited about expanding the Auto Tech program with this new degree, which will offer greater career and financial opportunities for our students while filling a need for local employers,” said Capitolo.

De Anza was one of 10 community colleges that submitted proposals for baccalaureate programs to the state chancellor’s office earlier this year. After a rigorous review, the chancellor’s office forwarded six of those proposals to the board of governors for approval.

De Anza’s sister institution, Foothill College, currently offers a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene and won provisional authorization today for a new baccalaureate in respiratory care, pending approval from the accrediting commission.

This article was originally published here.