Why Douglas College should offer more baccalaureate degrees
By Dale Pereira, Contributor
More and more students are choosing to attend Douglas College for a variety of reasons: the location, smaller class sizes. But the numbers are not restricted to high school graduates. While many students transfer out from Douglas to research universities, almost as many transfer back in. So much so that Douglas was named a receiving institution in the BC Transfer Guide. But despite being one of the largest colleges in BC, Douglas limits its curriculum to university transfer and career programs. The college should expand its educational horizons by offering more courses and baccalaureate degrees.
Section 6 of the College and Institute Act states that the “objects of a college are to provide comprehensive (a) courses of study at the first and second year levels of a baccalaureate degree program, (a.1) courses of study for an applied baccalaureate degree program, (b) post secondary education or training, (b.1) adult basic education, and (c) continuing education.” Following the government’s mandate, Douglas is now known for the areas listed above. Nevertheless, there is still room for improvement in other areas. While the objects of a college are to be prioritized, developing new programs would not take precedence over the existing ones. Instead, they would complement and diversify the college’s educational opportunities.
Douglas only offers career-focused baccalaureate degrees. Therefore, one way to expand education at Douglas would be to create a Bachelor of General Studies degree. The majority of courses in each subject area at Douglas are at the first or second year level. Creating a General Studies degree could work by allowing students to use upper-level courses from various subjects. All credit courses could be used towards the degree and students would not have to worry about transfer credit.
For those who would like to stay at Douglas and complete a baccalaureate degree, Thompson Rivers University, Open Learning (TRU-OL) is a good option. The residency requirements are 15 credits as opposed to the traditional 60 credits at most universities. A student can take up to 105 credits at Douglas, while completing the remaining 15 online. As long as you meet the degree requirements, you can earn a four-year credential while staying close to home. Furthermore, the 105 credits can be transferred from multiple institutions.
The college’s administration recognizes the growing needs of a changing environment and has developed the 2010-2015 Strategic Plan. Their vision for Douglas College by the end of 2015 is to be “the largest and most progressive baccalaureate degree-granting college in British Columbia.” Such a goal is achievable if Douglas offers more courses and degrees, building on its previous success. While expanding course and program curriculum is only one aspect of quality education, it is an important one that calls Douglas College to once again take a leadership role in the community.