ACC to look at bachelor degree expansion

ALPENA – Alpena Community College is exploring furthering its educational opportunities by offering bachelor degree programs. ACC is able to consider this after Act No. 495 passed, amending Michigan Community College Act, allowing community colleges to offer bachelor degree programs in cement technology, maritime technology, energy production technology, and culinary arts.

ACC President Olin Joynton said critical factors and questions need to be answered, along with pricing, before the process starts.

“It’s great to be where we are. It’s great to have the authority. We will exercise it how and when we are ready at this college,” he said. “A number of factors will feed into an intelligent decision in exercising the authority we have.”

Joynton said ACC has a committee in place to assess the college’s response and to organize implementing plans to offer baccalaureate courses. Committee members include Vice President Kathy Marsh, Vice President Dick Sutherland, Dean Don MacMaster, and Joynton, who will first focus on concrete technology, then marine teachnology, and lastly energy production.

“To move forward with any of these programs we must have assurance on several topics,” he said. “We need to know the strength and sustainability of our associate degree program. In some areas we have room to grow. We don’t want to build a bachelor degree on an associate degree that isn’t where it should be.”

Joynton said other topics that will be discussed include the advisory committee support and commitment, adequate facilities, equipment and staff, and the ability to price programs competitively with sufficient revenue to cover costs.

“We also need to make sure the market for our graduates will be there,” he said. “We have to look at our competitors, the programs that are out there, and how our version can be better.”

ACC representatives also will participate in a workshop hosted by Lake Michigan College in February, featuring the provost of the Wisconsin community college system, which recently had six colleges go through the same process.

In other business:

  • the board re-elected its officers and board secretary.
  • the board will continue the existing financial relationships of the college with Citizens Bank, First Federal of Northern Michigan, Chemical Bank, PNC Bank, and Bank of Alpena.
  • a total of $73,304.72 was received by the college and its foundation between Dec. 1 and Jan. 7 by 147 donors.

Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5687.