Students Can Work Toward Bachelor’s Degrees

In August, the Santa Fe Higher Education Center (SFHEC) officially launched on the campus of Santa Fe Community College. The SFHEC is a partnership among SFCC, New Mexico Highlands University, the Institute of American Indian Arts and the University of New Mexico to increase access to higher education. The center will provide a single location where students can pursue a bachelor’s degree directly upon earning an associate degree at SFCC.

“The Santa Fe Higher Learning Center will be a boost to our community and our local economy. By increasing access to higher education we improve the quality of our workforce,” said Chris Abeyta, chair of the Learning Center District Board and of SFCC’s Governing Board.

Students can earn a four-year degree without leaving Santa Fe, and at a price that is affordable. In many cases, the savings realized by students who choose this path will be $10,000 or more. This fall semester at the center, NMHU, IAIA and UNM will offer bachelor’s-level classes in business administration, criminal justice, early childhood education, human services, teacher education and indigenous studies, among others. In the future students will also be able to earn or complete a master’s degree.

To register, contact NMHU, IAIA, UNM or SFCC’s Dr. Tina Ludutsky-Taylor at 505.428.1182 or tina.ludutsky-taylor@sfcc.edu. For a full list of courses and more information, visit www.sfcc.edu.

The NM Higher Education Department has approved SFCC’s purchase of land on the former College of Santa Fe campus (now the Santa Fe University of Art and Design) for the eventual construction of the SFHEC, to be located between SFUAD and Santa Fe High. In 2010, Santa Fe voters overwhelmingly approved a bond, with $12 million earmarked for construction of the Higher Learning Center.

Associate Editor’s note: The design of the SFHEC is an opportunity to integrate the facilities into the surrounding community, as well as to share amenities with nearby institutions. The campus food service could also serve as a local restaurant. Classrooms could double as convenient community meeting rooms. Perhaps there could there be shared libraries.

Will the architectural process cooperate with surrounding municipal resources and institutions? Planning should include connecting foot and bicycle trails, as well as consideration for future community heating and water-recycling systems. I believe that these opportunities are examples of the sorts of things we will one day take for granted.

Are there other opportunities to be had? The SFHEC curriculum could dovetail with SF High School’s State-mandated Pathways program (hands-on, applied learning; the new vo-tech). Teachers learning how to teach sustainability could be working with DeVargas Middle School or SF High students on real world solutions, such as helping the continuing evolution of the St. Michael’s Drive Sustainable Urban Village, or the Siringo Road Transit-Oriented Development’s next phase.

This would be better than creating an insular educational institution surrounded by a chainlink fence, wouldn’t it?