Mesa’s Bachelor’s Degree Begins

Mesa students begin their first semester in the newly offered four-year program


Mesa Communication Services

Professor Connie Renda helps kickoff new Bachelor's program.

Jennifer Ovalle, Staff Writer

Another semester has begun at Mesa College, but it will certainly not to be forgotten now that the historic bachelor’s program for health information management students is in full swing, giving workforce development programs an opportunity to flourish.

This new chapter in the college’s history was possible due to the senate bill 850 which was signed in to law by Governor Jerry Brown last September, granting the bachelors pilot program to the San Diego campus.

“To get the Bachelor’s, most people are paying 20, 30, 40 thousand dollars a year and this is 10,500 so it’s very exciting.” Said professor Connie Renda, one of the main driving forces behind the baccalaureate program.

The program in Mesa College not only offers students in the curriculum a cheaper opportunity for them to accomplish their career goals, but also brings to attention an often overlooked issue regarding career development programs.

“All the programs in the pilot don’t exist in a four year so there is no opportunity for students, for our program unless they go to a private and it costs about 60 thousand dollars to get those last two years.” said Margie Fritch, dean of the health sciences and public services.

According to Fritch, she along with Renda devoted approximately 18 months to develop the plan that successfully allowed the college to be selected for the program.

Having had firsthand experience in the field by not only having a masters degree, Renda created a health information business about a decade ago which she later sold. She assembled the academic proposal by approaching the matter with her knowledge on how to fulfill a community’s needs and how to build and launch an ambitious idea into fruition.

Though both women worked endlessly, they both expressed how they also owed the success of the program to the unconditional support of the administration such as Chancellor Constance M. Carroll among other members of the district office.

“Once you’re here, you’re going to realize how many people are here to help you achieve.” said Alexis Castro, 20, who is one of the 32 students of the bachelor’s freshman class. “The staff of the program want you to achieve and so once you come in, someone will be there.”

“I feel very achieved and want to continue to challenge this program, I feel honored actually.” Said Elsa Sitthivong, 24, who hopes to get into the baccalaureate program. “It’s a good opportunity, we’re one of the schools to get this and I’m very happy.”

Though this golden opportunity is only available for students who want to obtain the health information management at the moment, Fritch and Renda are both hopeful that the bachelor’s pilot program will succeed and eventually expand into different workforce development careers by 2023 when it concludes its preliminary run.

Fritch and Renda urge those students to obtain the degree because they are passionate about the work and not just for the degree itself and to be prepared for the work and dedication that lies ahead.

The high demand to be part of the baccalaureate

program is already ascending this early in the semester, and though the program will continue to evolve along with the field it will certainly become a milestone for the campus, and a grand opportunity for the students to succeed in their academic ambitions.