Clark State moves closer to offering second four-year degree

Clark State Community College received approval Wednesday from the Ohio Department of Higher Education allowing the college to move a step closer to developing its second four-year degree program.

College officials said the four-year degree in Web Design and Development could be available to students as early as 2020, although the college still needs final approval from the Higher Learning Commission, an independent entity that approves degree programs in 19 states.

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Clark State already offers separate programs in new media and graphic design, said Jo Alice Blondin, Clark State’s president. But the new program will offer students skills in both design and web development, she said, making them more marketable to potential employers. Workers often have a background in one of those two areas, but not both, she said.

The proposed program will prepare students for employment as web developers, web designers, front end developers, and software developers, according to a proposal submitted by Clark State.

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“One of the advantages of businesses hiring these individuals is the business can get almost a two for one,” Blondin said.

If approved, the program would be the community college’s second four-year degree. Clark State also received approval from the ODHE in May this year for a four-year degree in Manufacturing Technology Management.

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Scott Dawson, assistant professor and program coordinator for Graphic Design and New Media, helped push for and develop the program. He said there was a short time frame to develop the proposal, and he had to work with local companies to make sure there was a need locally. Within just a few days, he said he had support from more than a dozen local companies for the program.

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“It was the easiest sell I had in my life,” Dawson said.

Information in the proposal showed a recent snapshot indicated there is demand for more than 1,400 web developers in an area stretching from Dayton to Columbus. That field is expected to grow by 11 percent over the next decade.

Dawson said he worked with Diane Roux, an associate professor in computer software development, to pull the program together. He said they worked with local businesses to see what kinds of skills are needed locally, and built the proposal around that.

“We just ask companies what they want and that’s what we give them,” Dawson said. “That’s our formula.”

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