Odessa College Adding Four-Year Degree Plans

Odessa College Adding Four-Year Degree Plans

Zora Asberry

NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Odessa College students may have the opportunity to get a Bachelors degree. The plan was discussed at the Odessa Board of Trustees meeting that happened on Tuesday.

Odessa College is planning on partnering with universities, bringing their professors and upper division courses to the campus. Some Odessa College students are excited about this new plan and are now considering staying another two years to obtain their Bachelors degrees.

Rashawn Black, a two-year Communication student at Odessa College, said, "I still want to do a lot more and I love this town, so I kind of don't want to leave yet. That's why I would be happy if they add two more years to it."

College officials say that adding four-year degree plans could be an easier way for students to achieve their educational goals and still stay local.

Valerie Jones, Vice President of Instruction at Odessa College, said, "If an Odessan can't relocate, then their opportunities can be limited and their dreams have to be shifted and accommodate those restrictions from their lives. So what we wanted to be able to do is see if we could open those opportunities and really help to make a difference in the baccalaureate attainment rate for our community."

Statewide, 27 percent of Texans ages 25 and older, have a bachelors degree, but in Ector County only 13 percent have their Bachelors.

Jones says that it is partly because of the fear to venture out.

"To leave the community of Odessa College and go out there to somewhere else, there's conversations about, getting the courses to transfer, how do I navigate the cost, how do I find my living accommodations, just all of the discussion that goes into that."

Odessa College is still in the beginning stages of the process but their first step is to invite regional universities to get involved.

"We look forward to taking a concept that's made a difference in other communities and making an even bigger impact in ours by doing it in an embedded way that transforms the opportunities that this community sees in front of themselves," said Jones. 

Odessa College hasn't yet determined which upper-division courses will be offered but they aren't going to have the full university curriculum. Four-year degree plans at are expected to be fully implemented at the college by Fall of 2016.