Miramar College has received conditional approval from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to offer a baccalaureate degree in Public Safety Management. Miramar College will now join its fellow San Diego Community College District institutions, Mesa College (Health Information Management/Physical Therapist Assistant) and City College (Cyber Defense and Analysis), in offering a bachelor’s degree. Starting in the fall of 2025, Miramar College plans to launch its Bachelor’s of Science degree in Public Safety Management. The College will now begin to build its upper-division courses through the College’s Curriculum Committee in hopes of providing two clear tracks for students, one in law enforcement management and another in emergency management.
“This is great news for local students and current public safety employees looking to obtain a degree in the public safety sector,” said Dr. Wes Lundburg, president of San Diego Miramar College. “Since 1969, Miramar College has been home to the San Diego Regional Public Safety Institute, which has provided training for most of the region’s first responders. This bachelor’s degree will not only strengthen the community’s trust in us that we offer best-in-class instruction for those in public safety, but it will allow for first responders to be in line for promotions and salary advancements that come with obtaining a 4-year degree.”
Sonya Christian, chancellor of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, congratulated Miramar College on its tireless efforts to secure approval in an Oct. 12 letter sent to the College. Earlier that day, the College’s provisionally approved baccalaureate degree program was presented to the CCCCO Board President and was granted conditional approval, pending receipt of an ACCJC substantive change approval letter. ACCJC is the official accrediting body of the California Community College system. After receipt of this approval letter from ACCJC, the Miramar College program will be fully approved and can launch.
Full approval was delayed due to duplication concerns from the California State University System. But those duplication concerns were dropped in early Oct.
It is anticipated that the Miramar College program will be presented to the full CCCCO Board of Governors as an informational item at their November 2023 meeting.
The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) identified 10 industry sectors for prioritized resources and program development due to the labor market needs and opportunities to prepare students to compete in a global economy. Public Safety/Government was identified as an emerging sector for employment and higher wage jobs in the San Diego region. Based on this emerging sector identification and working closely with San Diego County Office of Emergency Services, San Diego Gas and Electric’s Public Safety Division and first responder agencies throughout the region, the Miramar College School of Public Safety applied to offer the Bachelor of Science: Public Safety Management degree at the end of 2022.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has ranked San Diego County 16th out of 3,142 counties nationwide on the FEMA Hazard Risk Index for the most vulnerable counties to natural disasters. The Miramar College Public Safety Management degree incorporates Governor Newsom’s Initiative “Prepare California” and embeds industry certifications for disaster and emergency management planning and public safety needs to better equip law enforcement, fire, and emergency services members, first responders and allied partnerships and nonprofit organizations to be prepared for major emergencies and public safety threats most likely to encounter in the 21st century. Incorporated into the design of the curriculum will be an emphasis for place-bound students to focus on challenges in the San Diego region based on public safety threats, industry sectors, diversity in population and geographical location such as:
- Ranking for high risk for vulnerable counties to natural disasters.
- San Diego Gas and Electric (Utility Company) has developed a robust Emergency Plan including several public safety positions requiring higher education.
- San Diego is home to the nation's largest concentration of military personnel.
- There are more veterans in San Diego than there are active-duty personnel.
- The region features the largest number of Tribes and Reservations of any county in the United States.
- San Diego is home to the largest international border in the world.
- Limitations to emergency resources in the event of a disaster due to the geographical location in Southern California.
The California Community College System is the single largest provider of public safety education and training within the state servicing more than 33,500 full time equivalent students annually with public safety and services jobs comprising over 14.5% of the state’s entire workforce. San Diego Miramar College is the ideal location for the proposed Bachelor of Science in Public Safety Management given workforce partnerships, industry accreditation and natural scaffolding from existing Associate of Science degrees in Public Safety programs, especially given the identified need for future Emergency Management Director and Public Safety Management positions forecasted for employment in California.
Darren Hall, program director for the Miramar College Fire Technology Program, recently wrote in a Times of San Diego Op-Ed piece published on Oct. 10, “With the implications of climate change becoming more profound and the number and severity of natural disasters threatening our region, San Diego is in need of more well-trained emergency management professionals. Which is why San Diego Miramar College sought approval to offer a bachelor of science degree in public safety management. This industry endorsed, faculty driven initiative will allow students to meet the skills training and educational requirements needed to become an emergency manager at a fraction of what students must pay at four-year colleges and university.”
Miramar College is perfectly suited to house such a program as the School of Public Safety already offers 10 associate of science degrees, 13 certificates of achievement, 10 certificates of performance and hosts the Regional Public Safety Training Institute.
According to the California Community College’s Chancellor’s Office, research has shown that community college baccalaureate programs excel at providing affordable, flexible higher education opportunities to students who are often nontraditional, low-income and place bound. By serving a racially diverse student population, community college baccalaureate programs also play a crucial role in closing equity gaps, which aligns with the goals of Vision 2030. San Diego Miramar College’s program in Public Safety Management will help graduates qualify for high-wage positions in their region, bolster their upward mobility, and strengthen their communities.