New degrees approved


By LAUREN EBBEN, Staff Reporter |

The Amarillo College board of regents has approved three new degree programs. The programs, approved Jan. 22, include two associate degrees in biotechnology and data science and an associate of applied science degree as a diesel transportation technician.

Dr. Claudie Biggers, a biology professor who leads the grant that sparked this new degree, presented the biotechnology program to the board. This is the fourth degree introduced to the college as a part of the STEM Research Center grant and will allow students lab research opportunities that they can take with them to university.

While the program is new, Biggers said that the courses will remain much of the same as existing degree programs with only two new classes, BIOTECH 1414 and BIOTECH 1415, created for this degree.

“The great thing about the program we put together is if they change their mind, a lot of the core is the same, so students just have to change their major course requirements,” Biggers said.

Penelope Davis, chair of mathematics, presented the associate degree in data science. The degree was developed in response to requests from businesses in the community.

“It incorporates the needs of our community for students to be ready to go with an associate degree to interpret the massive amounts of data that technology is bringing to us daily,” Davis said. The degree is created out of existing courses, with a few courses brought back from inventory.

Jerry Terry, the department chair for logistic and transportation, spoke about the associates of applied science degree as a diesel transportation technician.

Terry described the degree as a “perfect marriage between two well-established programs,” using existing classes in the logistics training program and the diesel technology program to complete it. These shared classes make the process more versatile. Rather than a step-by-step process, students will be allowed to jump around in-between each of the two programs.

“Our students that want to be owner-operators someday would benefit greatly from this program if they can service and repair their own trucks,” Terry said.

In addition to these three degree plans, the board also reviewed an update on the master plan, an improvement planning project that looks over the college’s programs, buildings and space and equipment use.

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