Buena Vista is offering new bachelor’s degree

Buena Vista University is offering a bachelor of Applied Science degree starting with the 2014-15 year.

The new degree allows the university to help meet the area’s work-force needs, Kathy Schmidt, BVU academic and program development manager, said.

“Many industry areas are needing people that are involved at a management or leadership-type of level,” Schmidt said. “We have a variety of growing industries in biotechnology and so forth that didn’t exist a few years ago, and now are in need of more management-type positions.”

She added, “This is a response to what business and industry indicate is a need.”

The new major is designed for students with an associate’s degree in a technical field.

“Maybe something with technology, renewable energies, hospitality, culinary arts. Those are a few of the industry areas that they may be employed in or have an associate degree within,” Schmidt said. “This degree will take them on to have more of a management or leadership role within a company.”

The program builds upon its students’ education, Schmidt said.

“There are some prerequisites that students may already have completed within their associate program. There are some courses that are required within the management area. And there are some areas where they have some responsibility of choosing courses more tailored to what works well in their career or their intended career,” she said.

Similar to BVU’s other degree programs, students need 128 credit hours to graduate.

“We would bring into BVU from other institutions, such as (Iowa Central Community College), as many as 68 credit hours toward that,” Schmidt said. “If they have credit hours from other four-year institutions, they may transfer as many as 98 credit hours.”

Classes for the new bachelor’s degree program begin Aug. 25.

“Students can start with our term this fall,” Schmidt said. “We do have classes that start every eight weeks, so they do not have to join as part of a cohort. They can join the program any eight weeks.”

Being able to offer a new degree through BVU is exciting, Schmidt said.

“It really brings together our partnership with the community college in response to what the need is in the community and surrounding communities for employment,” she said. “We’re very pleased to be able to enhance the work force and meet the community’s needs.”

In addition to the new program, BVU is expanding its offerings to help better meet work-force needs.

“We’re adding a focus on program development with business and industry. So it may be going into businesses and industries and offering things we have not in the past,” she said. “For example, it may not have to lead to a degree or license or endorsement, it could be professional development. All of this is done in partnership with what Iowa Central is already providing. We’d like to enhance that and expand those opportunities.”