Degrees of Difficulty: Plan to Add Baccalaureate Programs at Chatt State is Going Nowhere Fast

Tim Goral's picture

Chattanooga State President Jim Catanzaro wants you to stay in school — specifically, his school.

Catanzaro, who brought training centers from Germany, who opened a $33 million health science center, whom the Gallup Organization calls a "Maximizer," now wants to add five applied science bachelor's degrees to his community college. He first proposed the addition to the Tennessee Board of Regents and has been lobbying ever since.

By 2018, he hopes, Chattanooga State will graduate about 60 students per year with these degrees not currently offered by area four-year institutions.

And though more states are deciding to do what Catanzaro proposes, he is running in the opposite direction of Tennessee leaders. They want community colleges to remain two-year institutions. And they want those two-year institutions preparing many students to transfer to universities.

Grady Bogue, interim chancellor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said adding bachelor's degrees at Chattanooga State would depart from the original mission of a community college.

Catanzaro's plan could open a door that, once opened, won't close. Other community colleges could follow with similar proposals.

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