The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College School of Arts and Letters is excited to announce a new Associate Degree in English will be offered starting the Fall 2017 semester. The degree’s design centers on writing, reading, language and literature. Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Heather Duda, said the degree develops analytical reading and writing skills and practice, which are useful in a variety of careers.
“The Bureau of Labor and Statistics rate the ability to think critically and communicate effectively as one of the biggest skill sets employers are looking for today. Many of our students graduate and find jobs in our area, so this degree option will provide local employers with potential employees who demonstrate strong critical thinking and communications skills,” Duda said. “Because literature classes often require written and oral communication components, I believe this is a great degree that demonstrates a high level of marketable skills, which will open the door for a wide variety of employment options in a number of fields for our students.”
The degree program will be available to both incoming and current Rio and CCP students. English Department Coordinator, Dr. Jackson Connor, said the degree will lead in to the four-year degree in English and will also be available to high school students participating the in College Credit Plus program.
“There are several benefits this degree offers. One of the major benefits is this is a stackable degree, which means students can get their two year degree which they can use to enter the workforce or as a stepping-stone to carry on to a higher degree,” Connor said. “I hope this will allow more people within our community to obtain an affordable associate degree because it will offer opportunities to move forward with whatever next step they have planned.”
To earn the associate degree, students must earn 60-62 credit hours, including both general education courses and courses specific to the degree. Duda said another reason the degree program was created is many students, including College Credit Plus students, were earning enough English credits to earn an associate degree.
“We generated the program a couple years ago because the English faculty determined there was a need for an associate degree program,” Duda said. “We wanted to provide the degree option that would appeal to students with a variety of academic and professional goals. This has been a multi-year project, so we are very excited to see it finally culminated, approved and ready to begin this fall.”
Connor said he is excited to for the program to begin and is grateful for his colleagues’ efforts to create the degree in order to continue providing quality education to the community.
“This process began before I came to Rio about two years ago, and Dr. Kent Williams, Dr. Elizabeth Brown, Dr. Heather Duda and Dr. Jack Hart have all worked very hard to get this started,” Connor said. “By the time this project came to me, they had done a lot of the ground work. We’re also so glad the Ohio Department of Higher Education was so quick to respond to our request to approval and we are thrilled by their support for Rio and the new program.”
For more information on the new Associate Degree in English or the School of Arts and Letters, contact 740-245-7254 or 740-245-7364.