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Higher Ed approves general studies degree at Ozark Campus

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The Arkansas Department of Higher Education has approved an Associate of General Studies degree for Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus, allowing its students to tailor their coursework to meet industry needs, as well as transition into four-year degree programs.

The approval came Friday during the ADHE Coordinating Board’s quarterly meeting at NorthWest Arkansas Community College at Bentonville.

The general studies degree combines 15 hours of core general education requirements and 45 hours of technical or academic coursework. By doing so, students are provided a degree pathway into multiple programs of study, in particular a Bachelor of Professional Studies at Arkansas Tech University at Russellville.

Arkansas Tech-Ozark’s request to add the associate degree came as a direct result of industry employers’ needs, many of which require specialized coursework.

Chief Academic Officer Bruce Sikes said the addition of general studies “will allow students and industry the ability to be flexible in their desired training.”

Also, the degree provides a path for students who change majors, enables past coursework to be used toward a degree, allows students to pursue transferable general education coursework and provides a tool for students to utilize coursework from separate programs to complete a degree.

Chancellor Jo Alice Blondin said, “This program is a great complement to our degree offerings, as it allows for students to put together a personalized degree plan that improves their employability.”

For the Arkansas Tech Career Center (ATCC), a secondary technical center for students from 11 high schools in Pope, Yell and Johnson counties, the new offering allows its students to pursue an associate degree in their specialized field, such as culinary arts, construction technology and computer-aided design and drafting.

Located in Russellville, ATCC merged with Arkansas Tech-Ozark last year. Because of the partnership between ATCC and Arkansas Tech-Ozark, participating high school students can receive concurrent college credit for classes taken.

Chief Student Officer Richard Harris said, “We recognized the economic needs for the River Valley region, and this seamless transition will be an excellent opportunity for students to come back and complete a degree, as well as a vehicle for others to pursue a four-year degree.”

To learn more about the Associate of General Studies, call the Office of Student Services at (479) 667-2117 and ask to speak to an academic advisor.

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