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United Tribes to Offer New Programs
March 7, 2016

Former UTTC Tribal Environmental Science student Sean White Mountain testing water quality during a summer research experience for undergraduates. TES photo/Jeremy Guinn

BISMARCK (UTN) – United Tribes Technical College will offer four new programs in the fall of 2016, including one new bachelor’s degree program.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of Chicago, IL approved UTTC’s request to offer a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science and Research.

The four-year program will be taught at the new Science and Technology Center. The college began conferring bachelor’s degrees in 2011 and currently has four baccalaureate programs.

Three other new programs will be offered as two-year, Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees: Human and Social Services, Information Processing Specialist, and Information Technology.

Human and Social Services will provide a general education for employment in a variety of social service capacities. The degree plan is designed for graduates who wish to transfer and continue to a baccalaureate degree in social work or a related field.

Computer Information Processing and Information Technology are updated variations of former degree programs at UTTC. Both are among the top 25 AAS degrees in the country in employment projections and salaries.

The additions will bring to 20 the number of programs at the college in Bismarck governed by the five tribes located in North Dakota.

Focus on Science Research
UTTC planned for the new bachelor’s program by studying the job market for the needs of employers and the interests of potential students.

“There are a number of other tribal colleges in the region that offer BS degrees in Environmental Science,” says Lisa Azure, UTTC VP of Academic Affairs. “The question was whether we could offer something different to be able to recruit students and fulfill needs in the communities we serve."

The answer came in the form of research.

“The faculty and students in our current Environmental Science program are doing research at a level that is rarely found in an associate degree program,” says Azure. “And that’s the unique quality about the UTTC program, and the reason the BS degree at UTTC is referred to ‘Environmental Science and Research.’”

Four-Year Enthusiasm
“Current students are thrilled at the potential for getting a bachelor’s degree here,” says Jeremy Guinn, chair of the UTTC Environmental Science program. “A high percentage are planning to roll right into the program.”

The timeline and schedule of the current environmental science associate degree plan was redesigned in May 2015 to make it more effective for students to finish in two years and “seamlessly enter the BS program,” says Guinn. Students who began in fall 2015 or spring 2016 are currently working under the new plan.

“Students transferring into the program will find that many of their courses from other North Dakota colleges are common courses that will transfer easily,” he says.

Challenges Ahead
Receiving approval for the Environmental Science and Research bachelor’s degree was a big hurdle.

Over the next year comes the challenge of moving students through the transition. Those who graduate in May with an associate degree will have a direct path into the bachelor’s program. For transfer-students, the challenge is to assure they have the required courses in the appropriate sequence.

Teaching materials for the upper division courses will be finalized over the summer and into the fall semester as these will be new courses for UTTC.

It’s an added workload but the department faculty has been preparing course guides and program reviews for a number of semesters, says Guinn.

“The faculty buy-in for the BS program really moved this forward,” says Guinn. “We’re preparing for engaging our students at a new level of learning science concepts. And that’s exciting. We’re strategically building our programs for the future.”

HCL Action
The HLC’s Institutional Actions Council approved UTTC’s institutional change request for the BS in Environmental Science and Research at a meeting in early February, 2016. Substantial changes are considered only for institutions in good standing. A site visit was not required.

The college was notified in a letter dated February 12, which will be the effective date of the new status as listed in appropriate reports on the HLC’s website http://www.hlcommission.org/. The new program will be included in the next scheduled HLC site visit in 2017.

Campus Learning Environment
United Tribes Technical College is a member organization of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. The college serves Native and non-Native students with culturally-connected post-secondary education and training on-campus and via online courses and classes. The campus community in Bismarck is a family learning environment that offers housing, childhood education services, daycare, security, foodservice, health services, counseling and many student and family activities. For information about course offerings, financial aid or housing, or to schedule a campus visit or register for the upcoming term, go the website www.uttc.edu, or contact the UTTC Admissions Office, 3315 University Drive, Bismarck, ND, 58504, 701-255-3285 x 3111, admissions@uttc.edu.
UTTC Academic Programs
Program                                                                     CERT  AAS    BS
Automotive Technology                                                          x
Business Administration                                                          x          x
Business Management                                                                      x **
Criminal Justice                                                                       x **      x
Culinary Arts/Food Service                                                     x
Elementary Education                                                             x **      x
Environmental Science and Research (BS Fall 2016)             x          x
Fine Arts                                                                                  x
General Studies                                                                      x **
Graphic Arts                                                                            x
Health, Physical Education and Recreation                            x
Heavy Equipment Operations (HEO)                          x
Human and Social Services (Fall 2016)                                   x
Information Processing Specialist (Fall 2016)                          x
Information Technology (Fall 2016)                                         x
Medical Coding and Billing                                          x **
Nutrition and Wellness                                                            x **
Practical Nursing                                                                     x
Pre-Engineering                                                                      x
Welding Technology                                                   x
** Available Online
– Lisa J. Azure, PhD, VP Academic Affairs/Teacher Education Chair
More information Lisa Azure 701-255-3285 x 1407, lazure@uttc.edu, or Jeremy Guinn 701-255-3285 x 1458, jguinn@uttc.edu


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