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BSC looking to offer more four year degrees

Bismarck State College continues to look at asking for a state Board of Higher Education policy change, that could allow the poly-technic institution to offer four year bachelor degrees in certain areas.

BSC is already allowed to offer four year “bachelor of applied science” degrees.

"The Bismarck-Mandan MSA (metropolitan statistical area) is projected to grow five percent in the next five years," BSC President Doug Jensen told the Board's Academic and Student Affairs Committee. "We are looking, and we've talked to our teams, about what are the needed types of degrees and needed content, skills, competencies and knowledge the community is talking about."

Jensen said BSC has identified up to 19 possible four year degree areas.

The chairman of that committee – John Warford is a former Bismarck mayor. He said he has heard these concerns from people in the area.

"The overall thinking in the community, the pulse of the community, is 'Why the second largest metropolitan area in North Dakota does not have a public four-year college, other than United Tribes Technical College?'" Warford said.

Another committee member, Kevin Black, said he liked what Jensen had to present — but he also raised some concerns.

"We do have to be thoughtful when it comes to duplication," Black said.

Jensen said he believes some of the opposition comes from fear of competition with other colleges in the system.

"At some point, we really need to start thinking about where is the system going, where is the growth opportunity," Jensen said. "I think that will settle down some of the competition and territory concerns that keep popping up."

University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott said that’s what the “Envision 2035” strategic planning effort will address.

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