Today, the Florida State Board of Education gave Valencia the green light to offer bachelor’s degrees for the first time with their approval of two new programs. With expected approval in December from the accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), Valencia could begin offering a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic and Imaging Sciences, and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology, in the fall of 2011.
“This is an important evolution in our programming mix, not a shift in our mission,” said Sandy Shugart, president of Valencia. “It comes at a critical moment for our community as we recover our economic footing. These programs are in high demand by our students and lead to well paying jobs in stable industries—health care and high technology.”
Similar bachelor’s degrees had been offered by the University of Central Florida until July of 2009, when budget cuts forced the university to eliminate the programs. Valencia’s interest in offering them was prompted by the needs of its own students, who along with other area community college transfers, made up the bulk of the enrollment in UCF’s programs. Employer demand proves to be strong, with 801 projected job openings by 2014 in Orange, Osceola, Lake Sumter and Seminole counties for radiologic and imaging occupations, and 215 for electrical and computer engineering, according to Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc.
The B.S. in Radiologic and Imaging Sciences will offer concentrations in Computed Tomography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and Quality Management. The degree will primarily be offered through online courses for the flexibility they offer to working health care professionals. The program aligns with associate degree programs in Diagnostic Medical Sonography and Radiography, already offered by Valencia.
The B. S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology will have concentrations in Computer Systems, Electrical/Electronic Systems, and Laser and Photonics. It aligns with the A.S. in Electronics Engineering Technology and the A.A. in Engineering. The curriculum prepares graduates for engineering occupations related to electrical/electronics, computer systems, digital electronics, digital and wireless communication, and lasers and optics.