MiraCosta College applies for bachelor’s degree pilot program

North Coast Current

MiraCosta College has filed an application with the state to launch a pilot bachelor’s degree program in biomanufacturing, the institution announced Dec. 22.

The college, with campuses in Oceanside and Cardiff, would be able to conduct the pilot program if the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office approves the application. The state Community Colleges Board of Governors is scheduled to review the office’s recommendations on Jan. 21 for confirmation.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Sept. 28 authorizing the creation of pilot bachelor’s degree programs at 15 community colleges. State Sen. Marty Block (D-San Diego) developed the legislation, known as SB 850. Block is a former San Diego Community College District trustee.

“The baccalaureate program will provide a tremendous opportunity for the students at MiraCosta College and our feeder high schools,” Mary Benard, MiraCosta’s vice president of instructional services, said in a college district statement. “The proposed program builds on an exemplary Biotechnology Program already present at the college and is responsive to the growing need for baccalaureate trained manufacturing and production technicians in North County.”

In proposing the degree program, MiraCosta aims to take advantage of San Diego’s prominence as a top national life sciences cluster, according to the district. The program’s goal would be to prepare students for employment in the manufacturing sector of the biotechnology industry.

“Our proposal for a degree program in biomanufacturing is incredibly important to our region and, specifically, North County San Diego,” Mike Fino, MiraCosta College biological sciences instructor, said in the announcement. “Objectively, this is a remarkably worthy degree program that is industry-responsive with well-paid, in-demand career paths within an industry segment that is one of the largest in the nation.”

Only 15 of the state’s 72 community college districts will be selected to offer a bachelor’s degree program, MiraCosta stated. As of now, 36 districts have applied. If MiraCosta’s proposal is approved, the college would begin its program by the 2017-18 academic year, with a degree completion deadline by 2022-23.

The college estimates the total student fees for the degree would be about $10,000.