PPCC to offer first bachelor’s degree

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Pikes Peak Community College will offer its first Bachelor of Applied Science degree in emergency services administration starting in the fall, training “a new generation of leaders in the proactive strategic planning for disaster prevention and reduction,” according to a PPCC news release.

The college is one of three community colleges in Colorado offering a bachelor’s program and is the only one in the nation offering this multi-department program, according to the release.

“The passing of Senate Bill 14-004 in 2014 paved the way for community colleges to offer four-year degrees,” the release states. “The purpose was to help people in rural areas earn a four-year degree without leaving their community.”

Lance Bolton, PPCC president, said this is the first of many bachelor degrees to come.

“The most significant would be nursing, and we’re working on that through the legislature,” he said in the release. “It’s important to note that we remain committed to our two-year degrees and certificates, and those will always be the core of what we do. But this expansion into four-year degrees really changes the definition of what we are as a community college. It will put a four-year degree within reach of so many more people.”

Bolton said Dean Rob Hudson “deserves credit for this. He and his colleagues have been working for years to bring this to fruition. The result is a new degree program that will have a significant impact on our students and our community.”

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What makes PPCC’s BAS program unique is that it is designed to train public-service professionals to effectively manage across the range of public-service agencies and to understand how each agency (law enforcement, fire, medical) is organized and equipped to deal with crises.

“Someone who understands each [agency’s] unique role during a crisis and knows how to coordinate their activities is best suited to centrally lead efforts during a crisis like the Waldo Canyon Fires or the Planned Parenthood shooting,” the release said, adding “There is a growing need for security and emergency training like this in our community and around the world. Graduates can get jobs in the forest service, homeland security, police forces, hospitals, city and state governments or any large organization that needs an office of emergency management.”

PPCC’s fire science, EMS and criminal justice department faculty have been developing courses and are working with PPCC’s e-learning to get them online. Online classes will start fall and classroom classes begin in spring 2019.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect changes to factual errors in the initial news release. The degree name is Bachelor of Applied Science in emergency services administration not emergency services management. In addition, PPCC can create 4-year degrees even if another regional college has the same degree program.