Clark State College has received official approval from the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) to offer a third applied baccalaureate degree. The four-year degree in Addiction and Integrated Treatment Studies (AITS) is now eligible for final approval by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
“Clark State has a strong track record of responding to industry needs, and no need is more critical now than training skilled individuals in the field of Addiction and Integrated Treatment Studies,” said Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State. “The need for skilled addiction professionals has only become more acute during the pandemic, and Clark State is here to provide the training and education necessary to assist in this critical healthcare need.”
The BAS-AITS degree is aligned with and builds upon, Clark State’s Associate of Applied Science in Addictions and Recovery Services and the Associate of Applied Science in Social Work Technology degrees, as well as short-term certificate programs in related fields.
Clark State proposed the BAS-AITS degree based on research conducted over the past decade that showed nearly 80% of individuals in need of treatment for addiction issues were also in need of mental health treatment. As a result, treatment providers must be proficient in both areas.
“Other programs in addiction studies do not have an emphasis on the mental health component,” said Blondin. “The Addictions and Integrated Treatment Studies Baccalaureate degree will be the first of its kind to educate and train future treatment providers to be proficient at both of these areas to better serve clients.”
Clark State College is partnering with a highly engaged set of human and mental health providers who have expressed concern with the lack of graduates from Ohio institutions at the Bachelor’s level who have developed these needed skills. These agencies span a broad range of social services from correctional facilities, to mental health facilities, homeless shelter networks, private practices, and campus settings. These sites will provide a strong and competent learning environment for the advanced skilled baccalaureate students. Clark State has also secured preliminary agreements to provide up to 40 practicum sites per year for the BAS-AITS degree.
A statement from ODHE Chancellor Randy Gardner said the ODHE observed convincing evidence of workforce need for well-trained employees in the field of addiction with strong clinical skills.
“There was a clear indication of collaboration and agreements with multiple employers,” Gardner’s statement read. “Support for the program was demonstrated during the public comment period among potential students as well as employers and other individuals in the field.”
Dr. Tiffany Hunter, Provost and vice president of academic affairs at Clark State, said the BAS in Addiction and Integrated Treatment Services is aiming to provide the program beginning in spring of 2022.
“We now must begin the process of seeking HLC approval as well as having the program approved for financial aid,” said Hunter. “We are excited and grateful that we will have the opportunity to fulfill a very important need in our community by offering them a 4-year degree, training students to work in the field of addiction, and meeting the needs of our community partners.”
Clark State will also seek accreditation from the National Addictions Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC).
Chairman of the Clark State Board of Trustees Kyle Hall said the Board is excited that Clark State College has been approved to offer a bachelor’s degree in a third area of study.
“This degree gives our students another great pathway to success and further strengthens Clark State’s offerings,” he said. “This degree path also has the important added benefit of training people to serve in a role that is greatly needed in our community, and many other communities across the state and country. We are excited to add this program and look forward to our students using this knowledge to make our neighborhoods a better place to live.”
In May of 2018, Clark State received approval from the ODHE for its first applied baccalaureate degree in Manufacturing Technology Management; soon after, the college received approval for its second applied baccalaureate degree in Web Design and Development.