Guam college announces new bachelor’s degree program

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HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — On Monday, Guam Community College announced the approval of its first four-year bachelor’s degree program, focusing on Career Technical Education.

Guam Community College President Dr. Mary Okada speaks during a press conference at GCC’s Student Learning Center in Mangilao, Monday.  Photo by Haruo Simion/ The Guam Daily Post

The program looks to address the chronic shortage of teachers in the Pacific islands, particularly in Guam and Micronesia.

The bachelor of science in career technical education program will provide an opportunity for students to articulate an associate’s degree in any CTE field to the bachelor’s degree. That would prepare them to become teachers who meet the CTE certification requirements of the Guam Educator Commission and the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.

The proposed degree comprises more than 120 credits, and has three main components: general education, major courses, and CTE specialization — with some elective credits.

The four-year degree will cost $17,166 per student — excluding lab fees, books and supplies.

It’s expected to begin being offered this fall.

The college offers CTE courses at six of the island’s public high schools, said GCC President Mary Okada.

“Graduating certified teachers in Career and Technical Education will help us to expand those programs and begin engaging students in their career track of choice sooner,” Okada said. “This will allow students to transition from high school to the workforce better prepared with some experience.”

Okada said school superintendent Jon Fernandez helped to bring focus to the program.

Fernandez addressed the chronic shortage of teachers at last year’s CTE Regional Summit, Okada said.

“The chronic shortage of teachers has plagued our school system for more than a decade,” Okada said. “But, as he acknowledged last year, it is reaching critical levels. We believe that our new four-year program will help to relieve that pressure.”

Students for years have been asking for a bachelor’s degree program at the college, said Marsha Pastrozny, GCC’s Education Department chair.

She said many CTE-related programs are offered at high schools where students can start earning college credits and working toward a bachelor’s degree.

A two-week survey showed that almost 300 Guam students were interested in the program, she said.

“We feel there’ll be an interest in the region, too,” she said.

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