Feb. 9, 2006
By Melissa Evans
All five Ohio University regional campuses are now offering a Bachelor of Technical and Applied Studies (BTAS) degree for students with an associate's degree in a technical area to apply their hours toward a four-year degree.
"Career advancement often depends on having a four-year degree, and this one accommodates those students by having a two-plus-two format, thus avoiding taking numerous additional hours as most traditional four-year degrees would require," said Christi Simmons, associate professor of business management technology at Ohio University Chillicothe Campus.
"Students can select classes that will enhance their associate degree and further their knowledge in certain areas," said Miki Crawford, coordinator of technical and applied sciences at Ohio University-Southern. "They have choices with this degree."
Ashley Swartzwelder, a student at Ohio University-Southern said her adviser and a professor pushed her to continue her education after receiving her associate's in applied business in accounting technology.
"I am so thankful they encouraged me so much to get a BA degree, since I am now closer to obtaining my goal in becoming a certified public accountant," Swartzwelder said. "The knowledge and skills that I have learned in the TAS program will give me an advantage over other people in the business field who may not have a technical degree."
Swartzwelder said she is looking forward to attending graduate school and earning a master's degree in business administration when she graduates this spring.
The curriculum for the bachelor's degree is multidisciplinary and includes three core courses and 10 courses to choose from in the areas of behavioral sciences, leadership and organization, professional skills and social sciences, depending on the student's career and personal goals.
Day and evening classes are available, and students are able to pursue the degree on a part-time basis, making it possible to earn a degree while working.
"We have many working adults who have technical associate degrees and want to move into management positions or need a bachelor's degree in order to be promoted," Crawford said.
"It can…be quite a balancing act working, going to school, studying and making time to have a personal life as well, but it will all be worth it in the end," said Malyssia Allen, a technical and applied studies student at Ohio University-Southern.
A.J. Walsh is a technical and applied studies major at Ohio University-Southern who recently retired from his law enforcement career.
"I've paid for five degrees already, three for my wife and two for my sons. It is my turn to graduate," he said. "The degree will give me credibility and community standing without people knowing my past history, abilities and experiences."
Crawford said enrollment in the program has already grown since it began with 10 participants in the fall of 2004. There are now 45 participants studying technical and applied studies at Ohio University-Southern, and she is optimistic about the program's growth in upcoming years.
"I anticipate that these numbers will continue to grow as others in the community learn about the program and its flexibility in course choices," she said.
Melissa Evans is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.