Nearly 500 people responded to a Lower Columbia College online survey on what bachelor’s degrees should be offered here, with business administration emerging as the No. 1 choice.
The college conducted the month-long community survey to determine which programs it should offer in partnership with universities. Responses were collected through Jan. 7.
Only about 16 percent of Cowlitz County adults over age 25 have four-year degrees, which is half the state rate.
The survey asked which fields of study students would most like offered, how soon they would be ready to enroll in a four-year degree program, their current level of education and what type of format (live, online or a hybrid of both) they’d like classes offered.
The No. 2 choice of four-year programs —nursing degrees — was “not a surprise to us,” said LCC spokeswoman Sue Groth. “It’s been trending that way for people who become registered nurses to go on and get a bachelor’s.”
Third was applied or advanced technology, Groth said, a degree that would enable a person working in the trades to gain the skills to move up to a supervisory level.
Criminal justice was No. 4, she said. “Years ago the move was for people in any of those kinds of fields to think about getting an associate’s degree,” she said. “Now it’s moved on to encouraging a bachelor’s.”
About one-third of respondents said they would be ready to enroll in a four-year degree within a year and another third within two years, she said. More than half of the respondents preferred a hybrid format for classes, using both online and traditional classrooms.
“We’ve found that to be very popular, especially with working people,” Groth said. “They can come to campus one night a week and do the remainder of their class work online.”
LCC President Chris Bailey has been talking to representatives from Eastern Washington University and Washington State University-Vancouver about offering four-year degree programs at LCC. If all goes well, Bailey hopes to offer the first classes next fall.