SACSCOC Approves Level Change That Allows GTC To Offer Applied Bachelor’s Degree
The board of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) has approved a level change for Greenville Technical College (GTC), allowing the college to offer applied baccalaureate degrees. With GTC’s Applied Baccalaureate in Advanced Manufacturing Technology coming this fall, South Carolina joins 25 states where policies authorize two-year colleges to offer at least one bachelor’s degree.
“This a monumental change for Greenville Technical College and for our state as we become part of a nationwide trend,” said Dr. Keith Miller, president of GTC. “The significance of this degree should not be understated. It is a bachelor’s degree in every sense of the word that is technical in focus with a project-based curriculum. The program will prepare graduates to assume technical and managerial leadership positions in the growing global manufacturing sector, which drives South Carolina’s economic strength.”
Governor Henry McMaster signed legislation into law in 2018 permitting Greenville Technical College and the state’s other technical colleges to offer an applied baccalaureate degree in advanced manufacturing technology. The bill had earlier that year been approved by the S.C. House and Senate.
Need for this educational option was voiced by some of the area’s strongest manufacturing employers including Michelin, GE, and Bosch Rexroth. The new degree gives Greenville Technical College improved ability to meet the workforce needs of industry.
Bachelor’s degrees at community colleges lower the cost of education and increase accessibility. Students entering GTC’s new degree may be veteran employees who have earned an associate degree in a manufacturing-related field and are working as technicians. They need a bachelor’s degree in order to advance. Before this degree was authorized, those employees interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree couldn’t build upon their associate degrees, instead having to start their education over at a four-year institution.
Graduates will be able to implement advanced technology to improve plant performance and efficiency with technical skills beyond what can be covered in an associate degree. Students completing the program will be able to lead interdisciplinary teams and manage complex manufacturing design and process improvement projects. They will demonstrate technical experience in manufacturing processes such as CNC machining, welding, PLC programming, and robotics applications as well as new and evolving technologies including additive and subtractive manufacturing, intelligent manufacturing systems, and advanced metrology. They will be skilled in data analysis and its application to problem solving and in financial principles that apply to manufacturing processes and decisions.
The applied baccalaureate in advanced manufacturing technology at Greenville Technical College will not duplicate anything offered by a four-year institution and will be very different from a traditional bachelor’s degree. GTC works closely with Clemson University to meet advanced manufacturing workforce needs, coming together at Greenville Tech’s Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI) to bridge the gap between the education of the technician and that of the engineer. Through the Vehicle Assembly Center at CMI, GTC, Clemson, BMW, and other partners test new manufacturing processes and technologies away from the factory floor. These collaborative projects allow students to experience scenarios related to safety, facility planning, and integrated systems that typical manufacturing learning tools do not allow.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. It serves as the common denominator of shared values and practices among the diverse institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Latin America and other international sites approved by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral degrees.More information about the Applied Baccalaureate in Advanced Manufacturing Technology is available at open house events. To register, go to https://open-house-advmfg-bachdegree.eventbrite.com