Sierra College offers six new degrees |

Sierra College offers six new degrees

Christine Stanley
Sierra Sun
Ryan Salm/Sierra SunJared Colcord, a finance student at Sierra College receives paperwork from Administrative Coordinator Joanne Zahn on Thursday. Sierra College has added six new degree programs this year.

Sierra College is undergoing a growth spurt, and beginning in the fall six new degree programs will be offered at the Tahoe-Truckee Center.

In spring 2009, the junior college will move from a small building in Truckee’s Pioneer Commerce Center to a 28,000-square-foot campus atop McIver Hill. But before that, said Dean Rick Rantz, more options need to be available for students.

“We are trying to expand our programming so that when we move into our new campus we will be able to fill the space,” he said.

Previously, the college did not offer any degree options that students could complete entirely from the Tahoe-Truckee Center. Students could take most classes locally ” but then needed to either take on-line courses or travel to another Sierra College campus in order to complete the requirements, Rantz said.

Now, students will be able to achieve full degrees locally in applied art and design multimedia, fine art, English, humanities, liberal arts and accounting.

“Some of these were selected because data suggested they were in high demand, while others were selected because only one or two additional courses were needed (to form a complete program),” Rantz said.

The new degree programs will be transferable to four-year colleges, according to counselor Cindy Flores, which is the desire of many Sierra College students ” close to 60 percent of whom are looking to eventually transfer.

Sierra College staff said they suspect the new accounting degree will be popular, as many students ” such as Truckee resident Helen Davis ” have been voicing a need for more business courses.

Davis turned 50 this year and is now closing in on her retirement as the operations manager at the Nevada County Superior Court, but she has yet to earn a degree.

“A degree is always something that I had regretted not obtaining, and I just think it’s wonderful that I can get this done. It’s here. It’s affordable,” Davis said. “Before I retire I’m hoping to have some promotional opportunities to benefit my retirement, and then after I retire, who knows. Maybe in the end I’ll be a CPA. [I’m] just opening the doors for so many opportunities.”

Degree-based courses are available this semester, and the official degrees will become available in the fall semester.

What: Sierra College registration

Where: Online at or by calling 550-2225

When: The spring semester begins Jan. 16 and the last day to register is Jan. 27.

The future Sierra College campus site is on McIver Hill, located at Highway 89 south across from the Shell gas station. On top of McIver Hill, also called “Hippie Hill,” sits a 100-foot by 200-foot open area where a 28,000-square-foot, two-story building will be constructed next summer.

The Truckee Donner Land Trust has worked with Sierra College to minimize visual and physical impacts of the new campus, since 25 percent of the trees on the site were felled to make way for the project.

Sierra College representatives have set forth a plan to provide an array of new degree and certificate programs that include recreation management, hospitality, mechatronics and lab sciences.

Housing will also be available on the property for both students and staff.

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