VANCOUVER — The fall quarter of classes began Monday at Clark College, and the roster includes several new educational programs. Clark’s culinary institute restarted after several years on hiatus, and the school added a second bachelor’s degree option, a Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Management.
According to Chato Hazelbaker, chief communications officer at Clark College, the first class of about 60 students began courses at the Tod and Maxine McClaskey Culinary Institute for the first time this fall. Two associate degree course paths are offered in Professional Baking and Pastry Arts Management and in Cuisine Management.
A press release provided by Clark College stated that the school’s culinary programs were put on hiatus several years ago. The Cooking/Restaurant Management program was suspended in 2013 to create a new curriculum and update the facilities. Clark’s Baking/Bakery Management program was suspended in 2015, when the culinary facilities remodel project meant that the program could not continue.
Hazelbaker said that before the programs were put on hiatus, students already enrolled were allowed to finish their degrees. The culinary program was put on hold to “retool it,” Hazelbaker said.
According to Hazelbaker, the newly reopened program has a modernized curriculum and will soon have a modern culinary facility as well.
“Demand is super high,” Hazelbaker said, noting that many people in the region want to pursue a culinary career.
“It’s a hot industry right now,” from both a hiring perspective and a learning perspective. There are nearly full cohorts in both associate degree programs, Hazelbaker said.
Hazelbaker said that the new curriculum focuses on “what the latest food trends really are.” As such, many of the changes focus on healthy food choices and the freshness movement. Classes are focused on “where our students are actually going to work.”
Increasingly, consumers desire food options such as dairy free, gluten free and vegan, Hazelbaker said, and the new curriculum will help students be aware of those trends.
The culinary programs boast an almost completely new faculty roster. “They’re just thrilled to be started,” Hazelbaker said.
While classes for the new culinary institute began this week, the culinary institute facility is still undergoing construction. Current students are taking some classes that are in classrooms that do not need to be tied to the culinary institute, and the Columbia Tech Center campus also has some cooking facilities that can be used until the new facilities are open, Hazelbaker said.
According to Hazelbaker, the college plans to move culinary students into temporary occupancy in the new facilities in October. The Clark College website lists the grand opening for the Tod and Maxine McClaskey Culinary Institute as Tue., Nov. 28.
New Bachelor’s Degree Offered
The beginning of the fall quarter also marks the start of classes for the first full year and cohort of students in Clark College’s new Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Management.
Hazelbaker said that the program was created with guidelines and input from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, as well as input from industry partners and Washington State University Vancouver.
The degree program is designed so that people who already have a two-year technical degree can pursue a four-year degree focused on managing or working in their own business, Hazelbaker said.
Rather than focusing on management theory like many traditional four-year degrees, the Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Management emphasizes “practical, hands on skills,” according to Hazelbaker.
The new program requires the prior completion of a two-year degree program, and anyone from the existing two-year programs at Clark College can apply.
The first class of the new program began last winter, but this fall marks the first full year it is offered, as well as the first full cohort of 35 students. Another cohort will begin classes during the winter quarter, Hazelbaker said.
The Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Management is the second bachelor’s degree program offered at Clark College, according to Hazelbaker. The first was the Bachelor of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene.
Hazelbaker said that college faculty is looking at specific needs of the community to determine if more bachelor degree offerings will be available in the future. Two areas he said that are being examined are drug counseling and mental health care and cybersecurity.
Hazelbaker said that the college works to determine “what’s our role in that?” but noted that Clark will remain “primarily a community college.”
Overall, Hazelbaker said that both new programs show “strong local demand for jobs in both of these areas.”
Hazelbaker said that one of the main goals for Clark College going forward is to focus on “guided pathways” that make it easier for students and prospective students to understand the process of obtaining a degree.
With the beginning of fall quarter at Clark College, “it’s just nice for the school year to be started,” Hazelbaker said. “The energy of having students back is just fantastic.”