For most of its 150-year history, Weatherford College has focused on providing a variety of two-year degrees with the anticipation of students entering the workforce upon graduation or transferring to a four-year institution.
That changes this fall with the addition of WC’s first bachelor’s degree program.
“By now offering bachelor’s degrees, Weatherford College is responding to community demand for a high quality education at an affordable price,” said Dr. Tod Allen Farmer, WC president. “Bachelor’s degrees can now be earned at Weatherford College for a fraction of the price of a university-based education.”
In June 2017, Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 2118 granting community colleges the ability to offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing and other specialized areas. A year later, WC administrators took on the task of developing and seeking approval and accreditation for a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree.
After a lengthy application process, WC’s BSN program is now taking applications for the first 30-student cohort scheduled to start classes in Fall 2020.
“By offering this program we are assisting RNs by increasing opportunities for advancement as well as the ability to work in top-100 hospitals that hire BSNs only,” said Kathy Boswell, dean of health and human sciences. “This will provide opportunities for them to move into leadership roles and provide for pay increases. Overall, this will increase the quality of healthcare in our community.”
The final step to granting this new degree is accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. College administrators completed the required inquiry to SACSCOC in February and await an answer this June.
Upon final SACSCOC approval, WC will be the fourth Texas community college with a BSN program and the first approved to offer the courses online. The program consists of nine courses and can be completed in as little as one year.
With the BSN program on track, the WC Board of Trustees then set their sights on a second bachelor’s degree in December – a Bachelor’s of Applied Arts and Science in Organizational Leadership.
The first step toward adding the BAAS degree was to contact neighboring institutions of higher education and the THECB to inform those bodies of WC’s intent to submit an application for approval of the program.
“To date, this office has received only a single inquiry about the program from a nearby four-year institution,” said Mike Endy, vice president of instruction and student services. “We have informed them that our intention with the proposed BAAS program is to offer courses locally to serve a growing number of paraprofessionals in our region.”
Applications to the THECB and SACSCOC are in progress, and Endy is hopeful to have approvals from those organizations so the program can begin in Fall 2021.
This baccalaureate program will target students who have completed the core curriculum, which equals about 42 hours of general education courses, along with the coursework for their specific applied arts and sciences program paired with upper-level courses in organizational leadership, management and planning, Endy said. The program will be a combination of face-to-face classes, online and hybrid courses to serve the local population.
“The impact of bachelor’s degrees on Weatherford College will be profound as these offerings will tremendously enhance the institution’s ability to provide opportunities for our communities and region while maintaining the integrity of our service mission,” Endy said. “For me, the impact of WC is most profound Leveling Up from page 3. in the way our college affords individuals opportunities to change their lives. I couldn’t be prouder or more pleased with what we are doing.”
Farmer anticipates exploring a Bachelor’s of Technology degree in 2022 along with other degrees that would complement the college’s current program mix.
“Weatherford College students now have more educational opportunities than ever before in the rich history of our noble institution,” Farmer said. “It is a great time to be a Coyote!”