Normal, Ill — Beginning this Fall, Lincoln College will be offering a new Bachelor’s degree option through the school’s Accelerated Bridge to Education program on the college’s campus in Normal.
The Accelerated Bridge to Education program – also known as the ABE program – will be offering Capstone degrees to students who have previously received an Associate’s degree in Applied Science. Examples of degrees in an applied science field include careers in automotive studies, computer science and information technology, graphic design, culinary arts, cosmetology, and technical degree options, among others.
The Capstone degrees will be offered in the same format as other ABE degree programs, which allow students to complete their Bachelor’s degree at an accelerated pace. In the ABE program, students typically take one course at a time, meeting one evening per week for a five-week period. By using this format, the ABE program – which is designed for the working adult – allows students to complete up to 27 credits per calendar year toward their Bachelor’s degree requirements.
“We are very excited about this new program,” said Lincoln College President Jon Astroth. “With Lincoln College’s Capstone degree program, individuals with an Applied Science degree can complete a Bachelor’s degree on their local community college campus.
“The Capstone degree program recognizes the academic credits these students have earned in an applied science field and assists them in pursuing the benefits that a Bachelor’s degree offers in today’s workplace.”
A key component of the Capstone program is the establishment of articulation agreements with multiple Central Illinois community colleges. Collectively, these community colleges award thousands of applied science degrees on an annual basis.
An articulation agreement has already been established between Lincoln College and Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby. Negotiations with other Central Illinois community colleges are ongoing and progressing well, according to college officials.
“The Capstone program offers great potential for Lincoln College to further its mission to help students achieve their full potential,” said Jeff Kratz, Dean of Academic Affairs on the Normal Campus. “More importantly, with the economy’s need for Bachelor degree recipients, we think it meets an important need throughout the state of Illinois. Right now, we are only focused on Central Illinois, but, it’s possible that Lincoln College could become the premier college in the state in terms of getting a Bachelor’s degree after receiving an applied science degree.”
The Capstone degree program will initially have two Bachelor’s degrees for students to choose from, with other degree options currently being investigated: a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Management in
Entrepreneurship and a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Science in Organizational Leadership. The two Bachelor’s degrees offered through the Capstone program differ in what they offer to students.
According to Kratz, the Bachelor’s of Applied Management in Entrepreneurship is intended for individuals who may want to start their own business.
“The Bachelor’s of Applied Management in Entrepreneurship is designed so that their focus of study is what they completed during their completion of their Associate’s degree in Applied Science,” said Kratz. “In their third and fourth years of study through the Capstone program, students will complete their remaining general education requirements, along with some specialized courses in the business field. The Applied Management in Entrepreneurship degree is designed to give them the skills they need to start their own business and maintain and grow that business.”
Kratz says the Bachelor’s degree of Applied Science in Organizational Leadership is intended for those individuals who may be seeking to grow in their position with a current employer.
“By earning a Bachelor’s degree in the field of Organizational Leadership, and enhancing their business knowledge and leadership skills, students can increase their potential of moving into management and leadership roles,” said Kratz. “The Capstone program gives them an easier path to a Bachelor’s degree, with their first two years being specialized courses which they will receive credit for.”
Joni Allison, Associate Dean, said the Capstone program will allow Lincoln College to enhance its efforts to support the ideals of organizations such as the Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based foundation that is devoted to expanding accessibility to higher education. The Lumina Foundation has embarked on an initiative known as “Goal 2025” which aspires to increase the number of Americans with “high-quality degrees and credentials” from 39 percent to 60 percent by the year 2025, according to the organization’s website.
“Lincoln College and the ABE program embrace the challenge that’s been articulated by the Lumina Foundation and many of our nation’s leaders, who have spoken at length about America’s need for a workforce that is highly-skilled and highly-educated,” said Allison. “We feel that the Capstone program, because it will allow us to work with applied science degree recipients, will only help us in these efforts. We are very excited and hopeful to be part of the solution in Central Illinois to a nationwide problem.”
For more information on the Capstone program at Lincoln College, please contact the ABE Admissions office at (309) 452-0500 or e-mail the program at firstname.lastname@example.org.