GV to introduce new associate program in 2023


GVL / Meghan Tripp

Lea Gaetto, Staff Writer

The Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies and Padnos College of Engineering and Computing will be introducing a new degree to their course catalog in the Fall of 2023, the Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS). This program targets students who have attended community college for two years and earned a technical associate degree. 

Among the many administrators for this program is Paul Plotkowski, dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, and he explained how this program is distinct from the other degrees at GVSU.

“As opposed to most other programs students see, the new BAS flips the curriculum workload,” Plotkowski said. “The standard schedule for students at a community college and a university is to take general education credits in their first years and credits toward their major in the last years. With our new program, students will come in with their technical associate degree with credits aimed toward their major and then take their general education credits with us at GVSU.”

Plotkowski said students in this program could also take these credits simultaneously with the curricula for their major, though often, coursework for the BAS  primarily includes the individual’s general education credits with some of the degree requirements. 

This program is unique not only in its layout, but also in its target audience. As Dean Mark Schaub of Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies said, this degree offers students who began at community colleges, or working professionals, different educational opportunities.

“Many of them might be at a ‘dead end,’ in terms of career advancement without a four-year degree, so this route provides them with a feasible and relevant set of options,” Schaub said. “We will help them integrate their education and help them articulate a coherent and compelling narrative of their lifetime of learning.”

Both Deans are eager to see this program up and running for the first time next fall, especially since the pandemic put a wrench in the plans a few years back.

“COVID, of course, delayed progress a bit as we focused on delivering our existing programs,” Schaub said.

With the university adjusting to the pandemic, Schaub and Plotkowski were able to design the BAS program, and they were not alone in doing so. Ellen Schendel in the Provost Office, who since has departed from GVSU, and Simone Jonaitis of the Center for Adult and Continuing Studies, contributed immensely to the invention of the BAS program. 

“They described a great pathway towards bachelor’s degree completion for a whole set of underserved students,” Schaub said. “We collectively thought we could put together some innovative and appealing programs for these students with 2-year degrees, technical expertise, work experience and a desire for a four-year degree to boost them in their careers.”

With all forces united, they developed this reasonable and timely program for those willing to take their education and career to the next level. The program appears to be on track to be a great success, and Plotkowski could not be happier.

“I am extremely excited about launching these programs,” Plotkowski said. “Students will have the opportunity to enhance the technical associate degree they originally earned and have the backing of their employers and us at GVSU because we all want to see them succeed.”

Schaub echoed his excitement and gratitude for all involved in the BAS development.

“I am very excited that GVSU is taking this step to truly meet working adults where they are in their lives and respecting them as belonging at the university,” Schaub said. “This is tangible evidence of what we say we are doing in our new strategic plan: Reach Higher 2025. These working adults do so much in our state and deserve this opportunity. I am very proud.”