On May 10, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved the two-year institution’s first two bachelor’s degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in Sign Language Interpreting and a Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics.
GPC President Anthony Tricoli said the addition of the two bachelor’s programs gives student an opportunity to complete both associate and bachelor’s degrees without leaving their local campus.
“While our mission has now been expanded to include bachelor’s degrees, we shall remain the state’s largest access institution, providing an open door to educational opportunity for students who can benefit from a GPC experience,” Tricoli said.
GPC’s sign language interpreting program, already the largest in the state, has been around for more than 30 years.
Damita Boyd, coordinator of the sign language program, said the new degree offering will give students more time to further enhance their skills.
“We have known for a while that what we have been asking students to do in two to three years has been nothing short of monumental,” Boyd said. “They are learning a new language, developing fluency in it, learning to navigate new cultural norms, learning the business and practice of interpreting, and simultaneously having to develop a broad base of knowledge so that virtually any information they receive can be processed in two languages.”
Health informatics is the use of computer technologies in health care to store, share, transmit and analyze clinical knowledge and data. Diane White, dean of health sciences, said GPC is well-equipped to offer a bachelor’s degree in health informatics.
“We have excellent faculty in health science, business and computer science that have expertise in this area and are qualified to teach at the baccalaureate level,” White said.
“This is a monumental day for GPC receiving the opportunity to offer four-year degrees, and everyone here should be very proud.”