In Sync

By Zoe Lance
Sara Whipple

When Sara Whipple thought about going back to school for her bachelor’s degree, her first priority was finding the right program that worked for her.

Whipple, who works at Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) as an academic technology support specialist, wanted a program that worked with her tech background. She needed something that could build off of her associate’s degree from the community college. And most importantly, it had to have a flexible schedule.

“I was looking for a program that I could do while working full time,” she said. “And something I could do in a reasonable amount of time.”

Luckily, she didn’t have to go very far — Whipple turned to CI’s Extended University program at SBCC. In 2014 she applied as a Business major.

“I found out about it when the program first came to SBCC,” she said. “It was on campus, and I had taken a lot of the courses just out of interest.”

Whipple is one of many Santa Barbara residents who enroll in CI’s Extended University undergraduate and graduate degree programs at SBCC. The community college and four-year university partner together to make CI’s education regionally accessible. CI also has growing student populations at its Goleta and Thousand Oaks satellite campuses.

She’s on track to graduate in the spring. CI’s Business program teaches its students interdisciplinary fundamentals in accounting, information systems, management and more.

I already had a career, but this degree will allow me greater future flexibility. It will make me even more valuable as an employee.

Sara Whipple

While she enjoyed the technology courses and learning from her favorite professors, her favorite part was her capstone course. She and her cohort worked on a business simulation game that used concepts from all of their courses.

“The capstone class was the best,” Whipple said. “It made sense with all of the other classes. This program gave me a better understanding of business processes and techniques.”

While she already had 15 years of real-world experience, Whipple learned more about managerial styles, project planning and business operations that have helped her in the computer lab. She recommends the program to people who want to return to a college campus for a bachelor’s degree.

Whipple is looking forward to finishing up her degree at the Camarillo campus, where she’ll complete a computer science minor. She’s already thinking about the returning to CI’s Extended University after graduation to work toward an M.B.A.

“I already had a career, but this degree will allow me greater future flexibility,” she said. “It gives me more credentials and will make me even more valuable as an employee.”

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© Fall 2016 / Volume 20 / Number 02 / Bi-annual

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