Reporter’s notebook


MiraCosta to offer AI degree

California’s MiraCosta College this fall will begin to offer an associate in science degree in artificial intelligence (AI), the first program of its kind in the state.

College officials say the program is geared to meet a growing demand for skilled AI professions and will begin with three courses: Artificial Intelligence Concepts this fall, followed by Artificial Intelligence Application and Artificial Intelligence Strategies and Solutions in 2025.

“In California alone, we’re seeing predictions of over 10,000 annual job openings in high-level AI positions through 2025, with median hourly wages reaching up to $55.67,” MiraCosta professor Rick White, who developed the first class, said in a release.

More healthcare training, job pathways in Chicago

City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), the University of Chicago and the University of Chicago Medical Center on Tuesday will announce an expansion of healthcare programs and facilities in the city that will increase access to affordable higher education, clinical experiences and employment opportunities in growing healthcare fields. 

The joint project includes two new facilities that will support 600 jobs and bring the first clinical laboratory technician program to Chicago, as well as the addition of a full nursing pathway to Kennedy-King College, according to CCC. It will accelerate participants’ ability to secure well-paying positions at UChicago Medicine and other South Side hospitals with a one- to two-year degree.

Oklahoma college develops ties with Thailand

Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) is one of 19 U.S. institutions selected to participate in the International Academic Partnership Program (IAPP) focusing on Thailand.

For the next nine months, the selected group will work on developing and enhancing international higher education partnerships between the two countries, according to a release. In April, U.S. participants will join a delegation to Thailand to visit potential partners, learn first-hand about the Thai higher education landscape, and meet with entities that play important roles in higher education cooperation, such as the U.S. embassy, EducationUSA and the Thai Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation.

“Building a partnership with Thailand opens doors to cultural exchange and academic collaboration while recruiting international students enriches our campus community with different perspectives and talents,” said Jason Johnson, vice president of student affairs at OCCC.

IAPP was developed by the Institute of International Education in 2009 to help international academic partnerships that need professional guidance or strategy. To date, the program has worked with more than 350 higher education institutions and 13 partner countries, including Norway, Cuba, Greece, New Zealand and India.

San Deigo college students to sample global ag trade

San Diego Mesa College is among 19 minority-serving institutions selected to take part in the 2024 USDA Agriculture Market Challenge, which provides students with experiences working in the field of global agricultural trade and learning about related USDA careers.

During the five-week program, teams of students develop and present a market-entry strategy for a fictitious American company seeking sales opportunities for a U.S. food or agricultural product in an overseas market, according to USDA. The team that completes and wins the challenge receives an opportunity to meet with USDA leaders in Washington, D.C.

San Diego Mesa College will have a four-student team participate, mentored by geography professor Waverly Ray.

“I applaud our faculty, in particular, geography professor Dr. Waverly Ray, for pursuing opportunities that allow us to breathe life into the ‘serving’ part of being an HSI [Hispanic-serving institution],” said President Ashanti Hands in a statement. “This opportunity allows us to see, serve and support our students as they innovate ways to serve our community.”

How might crops grow on the moon and Mars?

A group of students at NHTI – Concord’s Community College (New Hampshire) are participating in a NASA contest to study how Earth crops could grow on the moon or on Mars.

NHTI professor Tracey Lesser’s biology senior capstone students and the NHTI Environmental Action Club are partaking in NASA’s Plant the Moon and Plant Mars challenges and will research how radishes and cabbage may grow in non-Earth environments, focusing on water retention and nutrients.

“The project demonstrates for students the intricacies of the space environment while learning how to make biological decisions in an experimental classroom setting,” Lesser said in a press release. “It’s invaluable in teaching future generations that anything is possible, given the right conditions.”

The NASA project hopes to rouse ideas and conversations about long-term space travel. The winners will have the chance to showcase their results at a virtual symposium with NASA scientists, program executives and other industry professionals.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.
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