BCC’s ACADEMIC PLANS AND NEW INITIATIVES
For Associate Dean for Curriculum Matters and Academic Programs Alex Ott, staying under the radar is never an option. At 6 feet 6 inches tall, Ott reports that colleagues have seen him in front of Language Hall all the way from outside Nichols Hall. As he puts it, “You can’t lose me in a crowd, and I can’t subtly leave a room.”
But it’s not only his height that distinguishes him. Ott’s large presence can be felt due to the many positive contributions he is making at BCC.
Academic Master Plan
Ott was instrumental in developing BCC’s first Academic Master Plan (AMP), which grew out of BCC’s Strategic Plan, and identified areas of opportunity, strengths unique to BCC and areas for improvement. Now in the final phase of the 2018-2023 AMP implementation, the plan helped guide academic decision-making and informed the development of other plans, including facilities, enrollment and information technology. With the current AMP coming to an end, Ott is looking forward to the next academic planning effort, which will get underway this academic year.
“It is important that we review current and potential future academic programs within the context of educational and job market trends,” Ott said. The higher education landscape is constantly changing, he noted, “and reviewing our program offerings in that context and strategically setting goals is key to staying current.”
New Health Sciences Associate Degree to Launch this Spring
“One of the most significant outcomes of the current Academic Master Plan is the coming spring semester launch of our exciting new associate degree in health sciences,” Ott said.
Ott noted that the introduction of the Health Sciences degree was spurred by the student demand for health profession programs. “Lots of students come to BCC wanting to be nurses, but many students aren’t able to meet the criteria to get into the nursing program or ultimately end up changing their minds. This new degree will enable students to prepare to go into a nursing program or to opt into another health field, such as patient navigation, care coordination or health administration,” he said. The Health Sciences degree, Ott remarked, was developed by Dr. Stacia Reader of the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department based on extensive consultation with health care providers in the Bronx as well collaboration across multiple departments at BCC.
More on the new Health Sciences degree in the next edition of UPDATE.
Online Degree Programs
BCC officially launched seven online programs this fall, with more to be launched in the spring. Ott said the online degrees, such as the AAS in Cybersecurity and Networking, are a particularly good option for non-traditional students who can’t make the in-person structure work for them.
“Some of these degree programs will be offered asynchronously, with students being able to engage in the course content at different times, offering the maximum amount of flexibility,” Ott added.
Ott indicated that the college is committed to offering high-quality online degree and certificate programs, with ongoing faculty leadership and engagement in program and course development. Key to this, according to Ott, are the efforts of Dr. Jordi Getman-Eraso, Director of Online Learning and Professor of History, who is in the lead in multiple aspects of online programs at BCC, including faculty development, course development and BCC’s engagement with CUNY Online.
Now in his ninth year at BCC, Ott indicates that his role has never been the same from year to year: “Each year brings new challenges, certainly, but also great new opportunities to collaborate with faculty to innovate for the benefit of our students and our college.” Given the multiple major efforts underway, from academic master planning to the launching of the Health Sciences degree to more programs being offered online by BCC, it is clear that this year will be no different.