Commerce Bachelor’s Game Changer for Miami Regionals

Ted Light, Chair of Business Technology at Miami University's Regional Campuses.Offering the new Bachelor of Commerce degree "is a real game changer" according to Ted Light, chair of Business Technology at Miami University's Regional Campuses.

"A lot of our students had a good experience with Miami Regionals but need a bachelor's degree to get ahead on the job," Light said. "Now we are able to offer that option."

The first major offered in the Bachelor of Commerce degree program is Small Business Management, in keeping with the mission of the College of Professional Studies and Applied Sciences.

"Business Technology has always had an applied outlook," Light said. "We teach people skills in class that they can use in their job the next week."

The Commerce baccalaureate has three components: required Commerce courses, the Miami Plan, and free electives.

The free electives component gives the degree its utility for many people by making it "transfer friendly" for those coming to Miami from other institutions. With about 40 hours of free electives as part of the degree, it is ideal for veterans with military course credit, or someone with a degree in another field like engineering or fashion design.

"This structure allows them to take a major portion of their prior credit and apply it to the Commerce degree in a meaningful fashion," Light said.

In developing the new degree, Light and his colleagues calculated that in the region there is a "pent up demand" for an applied business degree.

"Between Miami Regionals and area community colleges there are about 800 graduates a year with associate degrees in business. We're developing articulation agreements with the other colleges to help ensure a smooth transition to the Bachelor's degree for those graduates. And we've had a lot of interest from our graduates too."

Now that the Commerce degree has been established, the next step will be adding an additional major. Light shared that "getting the degree established is a long process, but now that it is in place it will be easier to develop and add majors in response to area economic and job development needs as they evolve."

Another attractive feature is that the entire course of study will be available online.

"There's just an incredible demand for online course," Light said. "BTE has always focused on non-traditional students, who are often older, working, or have families, and online is great for all that. I've talked to people who have been injured on the job and are off work for a while, stay at home parents and shift workers. It's great for them because they can't be on campus during normal class times."

This flexibility will also allow Miami to offer the degree in remote locations, such as community colleges in rural parts of the state.