Bismarck State College, North Dakota, received notification in July that the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association has approved BSC’s plans to offer a bachelor of applied science degree in energy management.

The approval came through a vote on June 25 of the Higher Learning Commission’s Institutional Actions Council to extend BSC’s accreditation to include this specific bachelor’s degree.

Two Higher Learning Commission (HLC) evaluators visited the campus in May as part of the process to change BSC’s affiliation status with the HLC.
Dr. Wayne Boekes, BSC provost and vice president for academic affairs, said this approval is the final step in a long process. “We view the HLC approval as a stamp of quality assurance,” he said.

The bachelor of applied science (BAS) degree is designed to educate energy workers to move into supervisory and management positions. Individuals who have received an associate in applied science (AAS) degree in one of BSC’s energy education programs are eligible to apply for the BAS.

BSC is working with students who want to enroll in the program to begin prerequisite courses. The online program will begin spring semester of 2008.
Dr. Boekes said BSC began researching the possibilities for providing this program after the college’s industry partners and energy technology students and graduates requested it.

Courses will include general management and general education courses, and energy-specific courses, such as managing energy facilities, government regulations, energy economics and finance, and others.

Boekes said BSC will collaborate with other North Dakota University System institutions to provide some of the upper level management courses. The total program will be offered online.

“Energy education is a niche program for BSC, and with the energy industry facing large numbers of retirements in the next five to 10 years in technical and in management areas, it only makes sense that BSC would provide training in both areas,” Dr. Boekes said.

In November 2006, the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education gave approval to BSC to offer the four-year degree program.