Colorado Mountain College student Ben Saheb, right, listens as Georgie Weber makes a point in a class called integrated sciences for sustainability on the campus of the Steamboat Springs college Monday afternoon. Interest in the college’s four-year programs has grown since the college introduced them.

Photo by John F. Russell

Colorado Mountain College student Ben Saheb, right, listens as Georgie Weber makes a point in a class called integrated sciences for sustainability on the campus of the Steamboat Springs college Monday afternoon. Interest in the college’s four-year programs has grown since the college introduced them.

Colorado Mountain College bachelor's programs grow

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— Tommy Untiedt plans to be one of the first students to earn a bachelor’s degree from Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus in Steamboat Springs next year.

Sitting in Bristol Hall on Monday during a break from his finance class, Untiedt said he doesn’t mind playing the role of a guinea pig in the baccalaureate program that launched in August with 32 students.

“I’ve enjoyed it,” he said. “I kind of like being one of the first students to try something new.”

Untiedt said he encountered a few hiccups in the program’s inaugural months. He didn’t agree with some of the book choices. He wanted a more diverse offering of teachers. But he said that overall, his baccalaureate experience has been positive, affordable and convenient.

“It allows me to stay in Steamboat,” he said.

Now in their second semester, CMC’s four-year degree programs are starting to mature.

Enrollment in Steamboat’s baccalaureate program grew from 33 students in the fall to 41 students in the spring, according to the Alpine Campus’ registrar’s office. And with interest in the programs growing, the college plans to add a full-time sustainability studies faculty member next school year and to double the course offerings for both of its bachelor’s degree tracks.

“It’s all good news,” Kathy Kiser-Miller, the Alpine Campus’ interim dean of academic affairs, said about the progression of the program. “With a program like this, you need to be agile and adaptable.”

Kiser-Miller said the college has been learning on the fly as it strives to make the new program successful. She added that focus groups and feedback from the students shape and improve the bachelor’s degree programs.

“Our first students told us we need to offer more courses,” she said. “The fall semester was a rough ride because we were just starting, and the biggest challenge was having the resources to get these programs off of a writing board and into action.”

Still, she said the feedback from students has mostly been positive.

The Alpine Campus has the highest share of CMC’s baccalaureate students. CMC spokeswoman Debbie Crawford said Monday that collegewide, 182 students are taking bachelor’s degree courses across the state, an increase from 150 in the fall. She added there are more than 500 students at CMC campuses who currently are taking prerequisite courses needed to enroll in the program.

Costs for the 300- and 400-level baccalaureate classes at the Alpine Campus are $95 per credit hour for in-district students, $200 per credit hour for in-state but out-of-district students and $405 per credit hour for out-of-state students.

Back at Bristol Hall, Untiedt said CMC was ultimately a more affordable option than a public university on the Front Range. He said that after he gets his bachelor’s degree from the Alpine Campus, he would like to open a custom auto shop.

“I enjoy learning in Steamboat,” he said. “That’s pretty much why I stayed here to get this degree.”

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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