Public safety degree proposed at LTCC |

Public safety degree proposed at LTCC

Diane Lewis
Special to the Tribune

Lake Tahoe Community College has submitted a proposal to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to be considered for a four-year degree pilot program, allowing up to 15 community colleges the opportunity to offer one 4-year degree each for starters. After considering multiple options, LTCC’s Baccalaureate Degree Steering Committee ultimately chose to propose offering a Public Safety Administration degree.

“The college is tapping into the expertise of our extremely committed Fire Science and Criminal Justice advisory committees in order to make this dream a reality in Tahoe,” said Virginia Boyar, LTCC’s Dean of Instruction and Career & Technical Education. “A Public Safety baccalaureate degree is highly valued by those filling management positions in a variety of public safety industries.”

A PSA degree is often sought by those in various public service careers who want to move into leadership roles, such as police officers, military personnel, firefighters, emergency leaders, and court and prison personnel. LTCC is convening a Subject Matter Expert Steering Committee to ensure the PSA degree meets the needs of both law enforcement and fire service professionals. The steering committee will include high-ranking public safety officers, and is being led by LTCC adjunct instructor and former State Fire Marshal’s Office Division Chief Art Cota.

“There’s an energy and excitement around this proposal that is unprecedented,” said Boyar. “I think we have an excellent chance at being chosen as one of the pilot colleges, and since most of the curriculum will be delivered online, there is incredible potential to draw students from around the state and nation.”

LTCC already offers both an AA and transfer degree in Criminal Justice, and three AA degrees and certificates in the area of Fire, including Fire Science, Fire Officer, and Fire Academy. If LTCC is chosen for the state’s pilot program, interested students could potentially earn all the degrees they need for a public safety leadership career right in South Lake Tahoe.

About half of all districts in the community college system submitted letters of intent to the Chancellor’s Office indicating their desire to host a baccalaureate degree program. Proposals from other colleges included degrees in a multitude of vocational fields, such as airframe manufacturing technology, biomanufacturing, respiratory hygiene, and engineering technology. In order to be chosen for the pilot program, the proposed baccalaureate degrees must be in a field of study not already offered by the California State University (CSU) or University of California (UC) systems.

A team comprised of Chancellor’s Office staff, a member of the business and workforce community, CSU and UC representatives, and community college staff from districts that did not apply to host a program will review the proposals. The team will make its selections and forward them to the chancellor, who will decide which proposals are submitted to the Board of Governors for ultimate consideration and approval, in consultation with representatives of the CSU and UC systems. The board is scheduled to make its decision on Jan. 21, 2015.

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