NEW ALBANY, IN, (Dec. 10, 2013) – The Indiana University Board of Trustees has approved the creation of an online Bachelor of Applied Science degree program, the first bachelor’s degree program offered jointly by all five IU-administered regional campuses and one of the first B.A.S. degrees offered in the state.
The new degree was approved by the Board of Trustees at their December meeting last week in Richmond, Ind. It must now be approved by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission. It would be offered at IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend and IU Southeast.
“Joint degrees such as this provide increased educational opportunities for students while capitalizing on economies of scale created by sharing faculty and classes across all five regional campuses,” said John Applegate, IU executive vice president for university academic affairs.
Funded by IU President Michael A. McRobbie’s IU Online initiative, the regional campuses are working together to create up to four more new joint online degrees over the next few years. The goal of this initiative is to increase availability of high-quality degrees to students all across the state.
Coursework for the proposed online B.A.S. could be oriented toward several specific career fields, such as hospital administration, general supervision or entry-level management. The degree would track into about 34 occupations that can be grouped into three clusters: specialty business, supervisory and management.
“The B.A.S. is designed for students who already are in the workforce but need a more advanced degree to improve their job options,” said Sharon Calhoon, assistant vice president for university academic and regional campus affairs. “Currently, the Associate of Applied Science degree does not align well with Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees, so students with an A.A.S. typically lose a substantial number of credit hours when they go on to pursue either degree.”
The new B.A.S. program is designed to help students who have earned an Associate of Applied Science degree achieve a high-quality bachelor’s-level credential more quickly and efficiently than was previously possible. IU research has identified a great demand for this degree, which is very closely aligned with future workforce needs in the state; it is expected that students in the B.A.S. degree program will develop skills that will help them advance in their careers and earn better salaries.
Students will be able to take all of their courses online or combine online instruction with classroom instruction. Full-time students who already have an associate degree in applied science will be able to complete their bachelor’s degree in two years.
The new degree program is expected to involve two full-time faculty from each campus and will be administered jointly by the School of Business and Economics at IU East, the Department of Allied Health at IU Kokomo, the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Northwest, the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics at IU South Bend and the School of Arts and Letters at IU Southeast.