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Big Bend has big plans with new bachelors program

Staff Writer | November 9, 2022 1:20 AM

MOSES LAKE — Big Bend Community College now offers a bachelor’s degree, with its first cohort of students set to graduate this coming spring.

“I have nothing bad to say about this program,” said BBCC student Devin Elvin. “It's honestly amazing. There's nothing I could critique or (have been) done better. It's just been amazing.”

The Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Management degree, BAS-AM for short, builds upon any two-year degree by adding junior and senior-year courses focused on applied management.

The process to create the new degree started in 2018 and launched in the fall of 2021, Program Coordinator Anne Ghinazzi said.

“(The program) was driven by local employer needs,” said Ghinazzi. “There is a persistent low bachelor degree completion rate within our Big Bend service district, and yet more and more positions that offer family-sustaining wages require that bachelor's degree credential for the position.”

Ghinazzi explained that Big Bend worked closely with local employers to see what the needs were in the community relating to education and employment.

“It was determined that management should be the first bachelor's degree that's offered in the community because it's very versatile,” said Ghinazzi. “It provides the skills that can cross over into management positions across a lot of different industries in our service districts.”

The BAS-AM program, according to Big Bend’s website, includes classes in accounting, project management, human resources, organizational behavior and leadership, marketing and business communication.

Ghinazzi said their goal with the program is not only to give residents of the service district skills to advance their careers and lives but also to build and retain highly skilled workers locally.

The new program not only benefited students and employers in the Columbia Basin but educators as well. The program gave current qualified faculty the opportunity to step into the program's upper-level classes but also created positions to bring new associate faculty members to Big Bend.

Currently, the program accepts 30 students per year and has already seen a lot of success from year one to year two.

“From the 30 students who were admitted last year there was a 90% retention rate of those students continuing on in their senior year,” Ghinazzi said.

She added that they like having a small cohort in the BAS-AM program because it allows the faculty and staff to provide one on one support and build teamwork and camaraderie between each other.

“30 students is kind of the sweet spot for our program,” said Ghinazzi.

The classes for the bachelor’s program are completely online which is something Elvin appreciates because she works three jobs and is able to work on her class work when she has time rather than a set time that may be during her working hours.

Ghinazzi clarified that there are preset deadlines throughout the quarter but all of the lectures and coursework are available online and accessible at any point for students which allows for that flexibility.

Elvin said she thinks it's important for residents of the Columbia Basin to know that they can obtain a bachelor’s so close to home and for an affordable rate.

“It's affordable too,” said Elvin. “That's the nice thing and there's so many grants and so many scholarships available for the program.”

Tuition at Big Bend for residents is about $2,300 each quarter for a full-time schedule, Ghinazzi said; however, the BAS-AM program has upper division classes that cost slightly more than the regular tuition class rate to keep with state standards.

“The reason I chose to go to Big Bend is because of its affordability and the great support system the college provides to its students,” said BAS-AM student Maria Santillan.

While Santillan has enjoyed the program so far, she feels like the best is yet to come. She thinks her favorite part of the program will be the capstone that she will complete in the spring.

“I'm nervous but I'm excited because it's a great opportunity to have hands-on experience,” said Santillan.

Both Santillan and Elvin are excited about their futures after completing the program and highly recommend Big Bend and its new bachelor’s program.

“If you want your degree, because I know a lot of places are now going towards bachelor’s and even master’s, it's a good place to go,” Elvin said.

Rebecca Pettingill may be reached at



Devin Elvin is a senior in the BAS-AM program and loves that the program is versatile to many different job sectors in the area.


Rebecca Pettingill/Columbia Basin Herald

While the BAS-AM program classes are completely online, students have the option to take classes on the BBCC program in their general education courses.



Anne Ghinazzi is the program coordinator for Big Bend Community College’s new Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Management degree.



Maria Santillan, a student in the BAS-AM program, feels that the best part of the program is yet to come with the capstone project they will do this spring before graduation.

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