With 4-year OK, CMC eyes more residential campuses

Colorado Mountain College this week won final approval to begin offering four-year degree programs this fall, a development that could help lead to additional residential campuses, including in Rifle.

The Higher Learning Commission, the college’s accrediting body, on Monday approved proposals for a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and a Bachelor of Arts in sustainability studies. The college previously received authorization from the Legislature and Colorado Commission on Higher Education to begin offering four year-degrees.

Colorado Mountain College up to now has offered only two-year degrees. Its president, Stan Jensen, said Tuesday the college now will serve as a dual-purpose institution — an open-enrollment community college and one offering four-year degrees. Applicants for upper-division courses must hold a 2.3 grade-point average and have earned 45 transfer-level credit hours at the college or another accredited institution.

Jensen said the pursuit of four-year programs has helped spur Colorado Mountain College to explore expanding or adding residential campuses. Current residential campuses are in Steamboat Springs, Leadville and Spring Valley near Glenwood Springs. New locations could include Rifle, Edwards and Breckenridge, all of which have community campuses now.

Jensen said CMC “always is going to serve local folks first and foremost.” But with students already coming from 48 states and more than 20 countries, the college is seeing an increasing opportunity to be a destination school, he said.

Jensen called the final approval of the four-year program a historic moment for CMC, which began offering associate degrees and certificates of occupational proficiency in 1967. It plans to begin offering four-year programs in nursing and K–12 education within a few years.

The college initially will hire three full-time additional faculty — two in business and one in sustainable studies — who along with existing instructors will teach upper- and lower-level courses.


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