OC board hears BAAS report

A report on Odessa College’s new bachelor of applied arts and sciences was presented by professors and students at the OC Board of Trustees meeting.
The baccalaureate degrees are in leadership and management and automation. The BAAS in leadership started this spring and automation will begin in the fall.
Two-year schools, such as Odessa College are allowed to offer four-year applied baccalaureate degrees under the provisions of Senate Bill 2118, which passed the Texas Legislature in June 2017, and became effective immediately.
Vice President for Instruction Valerie Jones said representatives from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is planning a site visit to OC April 29 through May 2.
Oscar Gonzales, department chair for business professions, said he is really excited that the program has taken off. He said he has 22 students, most of whom take the classes online, although the course also is offered face to face.
“It’s an exciting adventure for us,” Gonzales said.
Armin Rashvand, department chair of engineering and technology, is in charge of the automation degree. The course will start in the fall and be capped at 20 students.
He said the course focuses on a lot of hands-on learning.
Rashvand added that OC is in partnership with several oil and gas companies and plans are to add more.
Jones thanked the board for taking on the initiative and said it will be transformative for the college.
Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness Don Wood said Rashvand has become an instructional leader in the fab lab. He noted that the lab has been opened up to the community and Director Cedric Bleimling has more people using it than he can accommodate.
He added that Bleimling also offers workshops.
Wood also talked about OC’s goal of reaching 10,000 students. He said one way this can potentially be accomplished is through dual credit students at the Ector County ISD high schools and early college high schools.
The board approved calling an election for board members Tommy Clark, place 9; Neil Grape, place 6; Royce Bodiford, place 3; and Larry Johnson, place 5.
Johnson was appointed to replace the late Ray Ann Zant. Places 3, 6 and 9 are six-year terms and Johnson’s term expires in 2021, Vice President for Business Affairs Virginia Chisum said.
Election Day is May 4. Early voting runs from April 22 through April 30.
The board also said farewell to Jones. Her last day is Feb. 8, President Gregory Williams said.
She is going to Lone Star College as associate vice chancellor of academic affairs.
“She’s good people,” Williams said.
He added that Jones has made him and everyone associated with her better.
Jones said OC has shown what is possible in higher education.
The board also agreed to sell properties at 301 Fitch Ave. and 9510 W. Westridge Drive for less than market value.