AACC approves first bachelor’s degree

Daniel Salomon, Co-Editor

The Board of Trustees approved AACC’s first applied bachelor’s degree at its monthly meeting on Jan. 9.

This degree will be the first bachelor’s in interior design in Maryland. In addition, it will be the first bachelor’s degree offered by a community college in the state.

“We could either wait and see what happens or we could be … on the forefront of this,” Director of Architecture and Interior Design Michael Ryan said.

But it’s not at the college yet. AACC needs approval from the Maryland Higher Education Commission, a board responsible for state policies of public and private colleges, universities and for-profit career schools.

“The anticipated timeframe for MHEC to take a look at this is and make a decision is about nine months, so it’s a long process,” President Dawn Lindsay said. “It’s not something that’s going  to happen quickly.”

The state’s 15 other community colleges approve of applied bachelor’s degrees at two-year schools, Vice President for Learning Mike Gavin said. Community College of Baltimore County reportedly also will ask the state to approve at least one applied bachelor’s degree.

AACC chose interior design for its first applied bachelor’s degree because its existing program includes an associate’s degree and an advanced certificate. Combined, the program already had the equivalent coursework of a 120-credit curriculum.

“It really was not difficult for us to put the curriculum together,” Gavin said. “It’s just we have not been able to call it a bachelor’s degree.”

AACC has one of two interior design programs in Maryland accredited by the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

Tiffany Beninsca, a second-year transfer studies major, said: “I’ve always thought that a bachelor’s at AACC would be a good idea and if it helps people stay in Maryland I think that’d be cool, especially with the cost [of out-of-state tuition.]”

“I think it would be really interesting, the first offered in a Maryland community college,” Olorunjawnon Ajayi, a third-year computer engineering student, said.