LEWISTON, Idaho – Lewis-Clark State College and North Idaho College administrators are exploring opportunities to create a pathway to a bachelor’s of applied science (BAS) degree in health science. The pathway would be applicable to various health concentrations including the schools’ existing dental hygiene partnership.
Conversations are in the early stages, and approval from the Idaho State Board of Education is required to add a new degree, but administrators at both schools are excited about the possibilities.
“Historically, we’ve had very successful partnerships with NIC,” said Krista Harwick, associate dean of LC State’s School of Professional Studies. “For example, our community college to BSN [bachelor of science in nursing] track, where students enroll concurrently in NIC’s associate degree nursing program and LC’s bachelor’s program, has been very successful, providing an efficient pathway for students to earn their BSN one semester following completion of their associate degree.”
LC State offers multiple pathways for bachelor’s of applied science degrees and a pathway specific to health science and, in particular, dental hygiene makes sense both from an infrastructure and demand perspective. Bachelor’s degrees in dental hygiene are increasing in popularity as advanced degrees lead to higher earnings potential and open the door to career advancement in areas such as management, education and medical sales. A bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene also prepares a student to pursue graduate studies.
“LC State is a small school that does big things and much of this is due to our firm belief in the power and efficiency of partnering with sister institutions,” LC State President Cynthia Pemberton said. “The idea of meeting an Idaho need by leveraging existing resources and creating a seamless pathway for students is very promising.”
“NIC and LC State have a shared student-first commitment to quality and affordability,” NIC President Nick Swayne said. “I’m confident this expanded partnership will result in a high-value bachelor’s degree that is cost-effective and relevant to the needs of our communities.”
The current two-year dental hygiene partnership includes coursework offered on NIC’s campus in Coeur d’Alene and at LC State in Lewiston. Clinicals and laboratory practice occur in the NIC dental hygiene clinic for Coeur d’Alene-based students and in the LC State dental hygiene clinic for Lewiston-based students.
Administrators look forward to announcing more formal plans this fall.