Robotics and AI Bachelors of Applied Science Coming to Bellevue College

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After extensive research on robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), the Center of Excellence decided the development of an Associates of Applied Science-Transfer (AAST) and a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) was a timely endeavor.  This decision was based on rapidly growing job demand in just of the following areas: machine learning, computer vision, neural networks, speech technology, and automated and embedded systems.

Bellevue College’s Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development, Mr. Albert Lewis, Jr., asked that Bellevue be the first college to work through the development of the AAST and then a BAS in robotics and AI (ROBAI).  With the support and guidance of Bellevue College’s programming chair, associate dean (instructional/AAS/BAS), curriculum developers and designers, the AAST was finalized and will launch fall 2018.  The courses have been uploaded to Canvas and already shared with other colleges, with other colleges indicating interest in accessing the curriculum.

The ROBAI BAS has been developed (courses, quarterly and yearly schedule), and the Statement of Need will be presented to the SBCTC in early July.  With strong industry interest and industry professional’s review of the degree, Bellevue College will be the first community or technical college in Washington State to offer this degree.  Already students are coming in for advising sessions on both the AAST and the proposed BAS.

(opens in a new window) As Dr. Sean Robinson, a Principal Data Scientist with Pioneer Square Labs, based in Seattle, said,

“The skills, tools and knowledge represented by this program are broad, in keeping with the complexity of the new state of the art in AI and robotics.  However, through a lot of careful curriculum planning and optimization, Bellevue College has created programs that bring across this breadth of knowledge while continuing to reinforce the “common heart” of AI, data science and robotics.  All courses that deal with programming, for instance, are based around the same core of python coding, allowing the students to learn programming itself, one of the most common code bases in the data-driven world, and the specific libraries used within that code base to accomplish complex data and AI programming, in the same sequence of classes.  We believe that the 4-year program will prepare graduates to operate immediately at the engineering level in these arenas, while the 2-year program will produce graduates capable of operating at a technician level as well as being conversant with all the terminology and concepts they are likely to encounter.  In both cases, the graduates of these programs will enter a job market very much in need of their technical skills and creative energy.”

The Center will continue to act as a resource for colleges interested in exploring these degrees as either a course offering, certificate, or degree program. To review the ROBAI AAST it’s can be found on the Institute of Business and Information Technology (IBIT (opens in a new window) ) page.

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