De Anza’s auto tech program grows by degrees – The Mercury News

De Anza College has been given formal approval to offer its first-ever baccalaureate degree.

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors announced in late September that the Cupertino-based community college is cleared to offer a bachelor of science degree in automotive technology management as of the 2023-24 school year.

De Anza was one of 10 community colleges that submitted proposals for baccalaureate programs to the state chancellor’s office earlier this year, of which six were forwarded to the board of governors for approval.

The new automotive technology degree program was developed by the business, computer science and applied technologies division along with the automotive technology department. It will include general education courses and new upper division classes, although those courses must still go through a curriculum development process. De Anza hopes to offer classes toward the degree like automotive marketing, supply chain management, sales forecasting and human resources.

“We’re excited about expanding the Auto Tech program with this new degree, which will offer greater career and financial opportunities for our students while filling a need for local employers,” said De Anza’s Auto Tech Department Chair Dave Capitolo.

Many of De Anza’s students are already working and seeking better opportunities at their jobs, according to De Anza College officials. The auto tech department offers both day and evening programs to accommodate students who may work or have other obligations. Offering a bachelor’s degree extends the academic and career pathways for students, especially historically underrepresented populations who may not have the time or money to earn a higher degree.

“The new BS has been designed on the concept of stackable credentials, which allows individuals to progress on a career path that can improve their economic status,” said Dr. Moaty Fayek, dean of business, computer science and applied technologies at De Anza. “Students can complete a certificate, then an associate degree, and now students will be able to earn a bachelor’s degree, all for considerably less of a financial impact compared to universities.”

The automotive industry is an important California employment sector, according to De Anza officials, and it’s been strengthened by advances in consumer automotive technology and is expanding into markets such as autonomous vehicles. The auto tech department gathered information from auto dealerships, repair shops and auto part stores when it was developing its proposal.

“Most retailers are looking for managers that have a four-year degree,” said Mitchell May, western region education manager of Subaru University, a partnership between some Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Education Foundation schools and Subaru of America. ASE is a nonprofit organization that evaluates and accredits entry-level automotive technology education.

“Having the bachelor’s degree coupled with the automotive technology experience makes them ideal candidates for managers in all the departments within a dealership,” May said.

De Anza’s automotive technology department has more than 2,000 students enrolled each year. It currently offers associates degrees in automotive machining and engine repair technology, as well as advanced engine performance, automotive chassis and automotive powertrain technologies.

In addition, De Anza offers certificates of achievement designed to prepare students to be entry-level technicians in a number of automotive related fields, and the college offers noncredit classes, which do not count toward a degree or academic certificate but increase a student’s knowledge in automotive chassis technology and general service and smog technician requirements. There are no fees, placement tests or prerequisites required for the noncredit classes.

Many of California’s community colleges offer bachelor’s degrees in fields such as industrial automation, dental hygiene and bio-manufacturing through a pilot program that launched in 2014. The program became permanent through Assembly Bill 927, which was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October 2021. Currently, several community colleges in the Bay Area offer bachelor’s degrees, including San Bruno’s Skyline College, which offers a BS in respiratory care, and Foothill College in Los Altos, which offers a BS in dental hygiene.

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