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VC to offer firefighting, criminal justice degrees; college also buys Welder Center

By KBell
May 21, 2012 at 12:21 a.m.
Updated May 22, 2012 at 12:22 a.m.


WELDER CENTER DEVELOPMENTS

The VC Board of Trustees approved giving VC President Tom Butler the authority to purchase the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts.

The Victoria Performing Arts Center, former owners of the Welder Center, will transfer the property and its debts to VC.

The college anticipates the transfer of the property and equipment, which could be done by June 1, to cost about $30,000.

Victoria College will offer two new degree programs next year.

The VC Board of Trustees approved at its Monday meeting adding associate of applied science degree offerings in criminal justice and fire science.

"In order for peace officers to advance in whichever department in which they work, more and more police chiefs are looking to officers who have degrees," Patricia Vandervoort, vice-president of instruction, said. "It will do the same thing in the fire station ... opportunities for advancement."

Several years ago, the college offered the criminal justice degree. When the program began attracting fewer students, VC cut the two-year degree and only offered the semester-long police academy.

Now, VC is hearing from the community the desire to have an advanced degree in criminal justice, Vandervoort said. VC's criminal justice curriculum is aligned with other colleges offering a four-year bachelor's degree for peace officers who want to pursue even further education.

The police academy will serve as the first semester's coursework. Current peace officers who have completed the academy can bypass the first semester to finish out the final three semesters.

The fire science degree expands on the current one-year continuing education program VC offers. The new two-year plan includes a summer of EMT training.

The college is planning to repair a fire truck donated by the city to use in the program.

VC already has the equipment and staff necessary to implement the new degree offerings, which will be funded by tuition and fees, Vandervoort said.

The Texas Workforce Commission lists firefighting, and police and sheriff's patrol on the Golden Crescent Target Occupation list, meaning they are in-demand jobs in the area.

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