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Ventura County

Oxnard School, Fresno Campus Teaming Up

Education: Community college students will be able to stay home and get a bachelor's in industrial technology through a Cal State program.

July 10, 2002|JESSICA BLANCHARD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

High school graduates will soon be able to earn degrees from two state universities in Ventura County when Oxnard College begins offering a four-year degree in partnership with Cal State Fresno next year.

Students may earn a bachelor's degree in industrial technology from Cal State Fresno without ever stepping on its campus. Instead, they can take all their classes at Oxnard College's satellite center in Camarillo.

Cal State Channel Islands, which officially begins classes this fall in Camarillo, is the only other state university to offer four-year degrees in the county.

The goal of the alliance between Cal State Fresno and the county Community College District is to better serve the needs of Ventura County students and businesses, said Cheryl Shearer, dean of technology and business at Oxnard College

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday July 12, 2002 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 8 inches; 307 words Type of Material: Correction
Ventura County colleges--An article in some editions of Wednesday's California section incorrectly stated the number of state colleges offering four-year degrees in Ventura County. UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Northridge offer degrees through extension campuses in Ventura County.

The community college offers a two-year degree in industrial technology, with graduates trained to be, for example, computer network engineers, system administrators or school district technology aides. But there is a need for workers to expand their skills, Shearer said, and with many students aspiring to become managers, a bachelor's degree becomes almost a necessity.

In addition, the rising number of high-tech companies moving into Ventura County has increased the need for skilled workers, she said.

Classes will begin in January 2003 for Ventura County community college students who have at least 56 transferable credits and who meet general CSU admissions standards. Officials anticipate a full class, with as many as 20 students.

The plan is to offer two or three classes each term, allowing students to graduate in about 2 1/2 years. Classes will be taught by instructors on site, said Kathleen Alfano, who was instrumental in creating the program.

"We want people to get really strong instruction, and to feel they really are part of a bachelor's program," said Alfano, director of the National Science Foundation Regional Center at College of the Canyons in Los Angeles County.

She said about 50 prospective students attended a recent meeting that explained the new industrial technology major.

Sophomores Eric and Nicholas Conger, 19-year-old twins who live in Simi Valley, said the variety of jobs in the field appeals to them. With Cal State Fresno offering a four-year degree locally, the twins are considering industrial technology as a major.

"Having [the college] be closer to home--that would be a lot easier," Eric Conger said. "And I assume it's going to be less expensive than paying tuition at a four-year" college.

Students can save thousands of dollars by attending a local community college before transferring to a CSU bachelor's program. For example, students pay about $400 in tuition and fees annually to attend Oxnard College; the rate to enroll in the Cal State Fresno industrial technology classes averages about $1,800 per year.

Students could also save money by avoiding relocation to the Fresno campus, said Jeanne Bailey, a spokeswoman for Moorpark College, which also offers industrial technology classes and whose students, along with Ventura College students, are also eligible to take part in the Cal State Fresno partnership.Community College District officials say they would like to expand degrees to a variety of majors.

That is happening at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, a community college that offers a variety of bachelor's degree programs, an MBA program and a doctorate in school administration through partnerships with several universities in California. The college's enrollment has increased each semester, said Bruce Battle, a spokesman.

Administrators at Cal State Channel Islands, which has filled about 80% of its fall enrollment, say they aren't worried about competition for students. They hope the convenience of new degree programs will prompt more area residents to earn four-year degrees.

And that is the goal--to create more opportunities for students to earn degrees, said computer instructor Edmond Garcia, who works in the industrial technology department at Moorpark College.

"Since this partnership happened, more and more schools have been interested in it," he said. "And as the idea is put on the table, and we're seeing the commitment taking place, hopefully [more partnerships] will come to fruition."

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