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Central Wyoming College Board of Trustees Approves Next Step for Proposed Bachelor of Applied Science Degree

October 24, 2019 by Lori Ridgway

Vice President of Academic Affairs, Kathy Wells

In the October 15, 2019 Board of Trustees meeting, Central Wyoming College formally approved the proposed Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Organization Management and Leadership, taking a deep dive into the construction of the program curriculum.

“The Bachelor of Applied Science in Organizational Management and Leadership provides the student an opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to successfully manage and lead within public, private, government and nonprofit organizations,” said Dr. Kathy Wells, vice president of academic affairs. “The curriculum offers specific areas of emphasis while integrating practical application and active learning strategies to encourage growth in management and leadership roles.”

Students will have the opportunity to choose an area of emphasis in their final 12-15 credits in either business-entrepreneurship or tribal leadership.

Wells explained the college has been working with leaders and business councils of the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes on a reservation-based bachelor’s degree since 2014. Although that degree didn’t come to fruition, much of the work is strongly represented in this proposed degree.

“The tribal leadership option of the organizational management and leadership degree will provide much-needed leadership knowledge and workplace-ready skills for tribal members to support and advance tribal initiatives, including those focused on economic diversification,” Wells said.

The college also surveyed and met with 70 area businesses and industry sectors regarding the knowledge skills and abilities needed in the workplace. Feedback was used to incorporate the course design and content. Businesses interested in assisting with internships provided input into the course content and desired program outcomes.

“When you design curriculum you start at the end,” Wells said. “What do you want your graduates to emulate when they finish, in their next step as a graduate or in the workforce?” 

She explained that with most programs, one division area (there are two at CWC) of faculty, either the Arts and Sciences or the Business and Technical program division, is involved with the curriculum and course design for an academic program.

 

We followed a bit of a different process with this program. It is so interdisciplinary, we felt we needed to get input from all of the faculty. We decided to have a combined division meeting to go over the degree. It was a very complex process. After a lot of thought-intentional, rigorous work, we came out with a program and courses that received a unanimous vote of approval from that meeting. ”

Dr. Kathy Wells, V.P. of Academic Affairs

The college has also surveyed potential students for the proposed program to determine the level of interest in the program, various pathways for students (associate degree pathway, the transfer pathway, and the direct pathway) and flexibility of offerings. 

“We have had an excellent response to our surveys so far,” Director of Institutional Effectiveness Louisa Hunkerstorm said. "More than 150 responses have indicated they have an interest in the proposed degree.”

The next step in the approval process for the college will be the Wyoming Community College Commission meeting on October 24, 2019, at Gillette College.