History of the Baccalaureate Degree Program

Looking for the Industrial Automation Baccalaureate Program page?

Another historic first for Bakersfield College!

On Jan. 20, 2015, the California Community Colleges Chancellors Office announced BC had been selected as one of just 15 colleges in California to pilot a four-year degree program.

Following the announcement, BC immediately began work with the state developing the parameters for a new Bachelor of Science in Industrial Automation program to be offered to BC students.

The decision rewarded BC's exhaustive five-month pursuit of the program following the signing of SB 850 by California Governor Jerry Brown in September 2014. In completing the state's rigorous application process, Bakersfield College obtained statements of support from more than 80 representatives of local businesses, education, and government, illustrating how strongly the greater Bakersfield community supported the college's application for the baccalaureate pilot program.

Industrial automation represents the technology-driven business model of the 21st century. In today's industry, engineers involved in developing new products or processes work closely with supervisors who apply scientific and technical knowledge in the design, manufacturing, and repair of automation systems. Bakersfield College's Baccalaureate Degree Program in Industrial Automation will train students with the skill set those managers require, meeting the needs of a host of local employers, including major companies in the agriculture, distribution, and manufacturing sectors.

Under the law, the four-year degree programs must be up and running by at least the 2017-18 academic year. However, districts may start their programs by the fall 2015 semester following final approval of the plan in March 2015.

Kern EDC Endorses the IA Program

Kern EDC website.In addition to getting the campus and BC students buzzing, the new program has even captured the attention of Bakersfield's business elite. Check out the fantastic spread on the Industrial Automation degree in the Kern Economic Development Corporation's Connections newsletter.  When one of the region's most formidable business advocacy organizations is on your side, it's just more assurance that area businesses are as anxious to see program graduates enter the workforce as we are to deliver them!

Photo Gallery

Letters of Support

Bakersfield College's efforts to become a bachelor's degree pilot site were widely supported in our community. We received letters of support from business and community leaders, as well as a dynamic list of Bakersfield College staff and students who supported our bid to have a Baccalaureate of Applied Science at Bakersfield College.

Media Coverage

Letter to Chancellor Harris

Dear Chancellor Harris:

One year ago, in January 2013, I returned to become the tenth President of Bakersfield College.  What I found here at Bakersfield was the same vibrant campus that I knew and loved since my days as math faculty, a campus with a fierce dedication to service in education and a 100-year history of innovation since bringing higher education to the southern reaches of the central valley.

I'm writing to state the obvious, that Bakersfield College should be one of your pilot sites for the baccalaureate degree (SB 850 - Community College District Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Programs).  The combination of quality, capacity, dedication, willingness, community need and economic viability make this choice, for me, a self-evident one.

We are widely recognized as having one of the best Associate Degree Nursing Programs. As you know, nursing is a program where successful students are virtually guaranteed a job -- healthcare needs new nurses faster than we can train them. The industry is changing however, and Bachelor's degrees in Nursing are now the standard for entry level jobs in most areas of California. Both the need and the opportunity for Bakersfield College to address that need are immediate.

Bakersfield College is an ideal choice as one of the first community colleges to successfully offer a Bachelor's degree for all the right reasons. It would build on existing strength to meet fundamental community health needs and build the economy. It would maintain the premise and promise of making our nursing graduates among the best prepared and most competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace. And it would continue a proud lineage of educational innovation for the citizens of the South San Joaquin Valley.

Please let me know if I can be of assistance in moving SB 850 forward in any way, as I truly feel offering baccalaureate degrees at California's community colleges, and Bakersfield College in particular, is important to the health of California's healthcare system. I believe that this legislation needs to be part of the next California Educational Master Plan.  After all, it was Dorothy Donahoe, the legislator from Bakersfield, who in 1958 proposed developing a progressive plan for California's Higher Education Institutions.  So let's do it, and in 2014, let's have Bakersfield as one of the pilot sites.

Thank you for your consideration.


Sonya Christian

Documents and Resources

Program Documents


Letters of Support

For more, see our "Letters of Support" above.




KCCD Board of Trustees