By Nora Thompson
A number of programs at Pima Community College are being inactivated, but it is not exactly what it seems.
At its most recent meeting, Pima board members voted to inactivate eight certificates, 13 degrees and seven concentrations within certificate programs. However, only a few of the programs to be rendered inactive are actually going away. Instead, many of them will be folded into other programs or degree pathways.
According to Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Jullian Easter, the division of Academic Quality Improvement, or AQI oversaw the inactivation process and focused on the number of students that were actually completing the programs and the demand for that particular program in the community.
“If we don’t have the students graduating, the question is why do we have certain programs on the books?” Jullian Easter asked.
Pima has offered both a standalone degree and an associate degree with a concentration. For programs like Anthropology, one of the degrees that PIma is inactivating, students have had the option get either their associate degree in Anthropology or their associate in liberal arts with a concentration in Anthropology. After the program shuts down, the standalone will no longer be offered but the concentration will still be.
“The outcomes are the same,” said Jennie Conway, the director of Curriculum and Articulation Services at Pima. “The courses were probably tweaked a little to make sure that they align most closely with what the U of A required for their first two years.”
The concentration degrees are made with the University of Arizona in mind because a bulk of the students transfer there from Pima. The degrees are designed to mirror what a student would get in their first two years at a university in hopes that the transfer process becomes easier.
For certificates, Pima originally worked directly with certain companies trying to meet their specific needs. Currently through, Pima is moving away from that model, and in doing so, it is eliminating programs that start with the WFC prefix or workforce certificate. As a result, classes such as EMT – paramedic are being discontinued, though Pima will still offer a Paramedic degree.
“There’s not a lot of difference between a Workforce Certificate and a degree other than general education,” Conway said. “It was more beneficial for students to earn their degree rather than their certificate.”
Of the inactivated programs, there are only a few that will no longer be offered at Pima in any form. These include certificates for: coaching, direct care professional and solar installer.
The therapeutic massage, pharmacy technician and machine tool degrees will be discontinued but the certificate programs will still be offered.
“Students don’t need the degree to get employment; the certificate will meet those needs,” Conway said.
Students that are currently in the degree programs are put into a teach-out. For the next two years, students that are still enrolled in the inactivated programs can still get their degrees or certificates while students that were previously enrolled in the programs and took time off before completion will be contacted by their program’s dean.
Easter and Conway would like to remind students to make sure that they have their information updated with Pima. They need to have the program they are pursuing listed, along with the correct contact information. This is especially important if they plan to pursue a program on the inactivation list which can be found on the Pima website under meeting notices.
Most certificates and degrees will still be offered at Pima, with minor changes. “When you read on the surface and see inactivations they think — it’s gone, but I would say basically just about every degree was repurposed,” Easter said. “The courses are still there but they’re being packaged in a different way.”