GV offers new degree program to promote access to higher education


GVL / Macayla Cramer

Jack Blake, Staff Writer

Starting in the fall of 2023, a new online degree program called Bachelor of Applied Sciences (BAS) will be offered to the student body at Grand Valley State University. 

There are four new majors under BAS that are designed for students who have completed an associate of applied science degree (AAS) and want to further their education and skill set. These programs are flexible and offer students, especially adult learners, the opportunity to further their education and careers.

Melanie Shell-Weiss, an associate dean for Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, said this degree program is aimed towards individuals who already have training in a variety of specialized technical skills, most often in the form of an applied associate degree. 

“We want to support students to be able to advance in their current professions or explore new opportunities that build on their technical skills but will provide them with greater job security, more flexible career options and removing the glass ceiling that many individuals face without a bachelor’s degree,” Shell-Weiss said. 

Melanie Shell-Weiss led the Provost-appointed Task Force that developed the new programs. This program allows students to build on their pre-existing skills by strengthening their communication, critical thinking, reasoning and research abilities. 

Shell-Weiss said instituting the BAS program aligns with the university’s mission to “increase access to higher education” and help meet the needs of community members. 

The four new majors offered in the BAS program will be housed under Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Padnos College of Engineering and Computing and Seidman College of Business. Some of the majors in the BAS program offer accelerated, 6-week curriculum classes and all feature a predominately online format.

The new majors that fall under BAS are Professional innovation, Leadership and Business Fundamentals, Technology Project Management and Web Design and Development.

According to GVSU, the Professional Innovation major, housed in the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, is versatile, allowing students “to pursue a flexible array of customizable emphases.” It’s focused on allowing students to specialize in the academic areas they are interested in such as healthcare, hospitality and leadership. 

 The Leadership and Business Fundamentals major falls under both the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies and Seidman College of Business which allows students to gain baseline familiarity with finance, management and marketing principles, while bettering their team-working skills. 

The Technology Project Management major is in the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing. Shell-Weiss said it’s catered toward students who want to build skills in key areas such as drafting, computer-aided design (CAD) and logistics. 

The Padnos College of Engineering and Computing also hosts the new Web Design and Development major. The curriculum is aimed at strengthening students’ technical skills and computing knowledge.

Although each major has their own respective curriculums, classes, goals and instruction methods, the majors meet the standard general education requirements of GVSU. 

“Students enrolled in all four majors will take a common set of core classes with each other, including a shared capstone/senior seminar,” Shell-Weiss said. “All students also complete internships that support career exploration, whether students want to advance in their current careers or explore new career options.”

She hopes these requirements will help students prepare for careers after college.

Jack Lukomski, a current computer engineering major at GVSU, said he thinks that expanding the School of Engineering with the BAS program is “awesome” for expanding the college. Similarly, the additional programs could potentially expand the student body in the other colleges. 

Shell-Weiss said the BAS program is unique to GVSU because very few other universities currently offer similar degree programs. However, An increasing number of universities are beginning to develop Applied Bachelor’s Degrees such as Loyola University – New Orleans and Lindenwood University. 

Applications for the BAS program are currently being accepted for fall 2023 and can be submitted online.