The transfer mission: we oughta be committed
It's a community college "see me, feel me" extravaganza!
This morning’s New York Times offers a slew of articles (well, 3 of 'em) about community colleges under the title The Two-Year Attraction, where we learn that “Almost half of all college students go to a community college, making the two-year experience as much the norm as not.”
Like it or not, we (at the community colleges) are where it's at, and increasingly so!
WHY, WE'RE POLYPEDAGOGICAL!
In John Merrow’s “Dream Catchers,” we learn that
Community colleges today do far more than offer a ladder to the final years [of college]. They train the people who repair your furnace, install your plumbing, take your pulse. They prepare retiring baby boomers for second or third careers, and provide opportunities for a growing number of college-age students turning away from the high cost and competition at universities. And charged with doing the heavy remedial lifting, community colleges are now as much 10th and 11th grade as 13th and 14th.
Merrow reports that “Two-year colleges receive less than 30 percent of state and local financing for higher education," and yet they enroll “nearly half of all undergraduates.”
In “For Achievers, a New Destination,” Beth Frerking explains that
…as four-year universities have become more expensive, good students who want to save money are turning to community colleges to earn their core undergraduate credits. …[A]ccording to a report in October by the College Board, community colleges charge an annual average tuition of $2,272, compared with $5,836 at state universities and $22,218 at private institutions.
Many two-year colleges are now recruiting students who fit the traditional profile of baccalaureate undergraduates: 18- to 24-year-olds who have strong high school records and are moving directly into higher education full time.
…No longer wed primarily to a work force-training mission, these colleges consider it a major, if not predominant, goal to prepare students to transfer to four-year institutions.
WE OUGHTA BE COMMITTED!
Frerking’s next observation might be of particular interest to denizens of the SOCCCD:
…The two-year colleges most committed to funneling students into four-year colleges tend to have some or all of the following: learning communities (in which students attend classes with the same small cohort of classmates), honors programs (noted for curriculum that crosses disciplines, teachers who hold advanced degrees and smaller classes taken with similarly talented peers) and articulation agreements with four-year institutions in the state (typically synchronizing basic courses with a university’s requirements and guaranteeing admittance to transfer students who have kept their grades up).
These colleges focus on liberal arts and the sciences, responding to increasing demand for math and science teachers, health professionals and high-tech experts. The best community colleges also have what experts call “a culture of evidence,” meaning they extensively assess students’ academic performance and adjust teaching practices accordingly, says Kay M. McClenney, director of the annual Community College Survey of Student Engagement….
HOW ARE WE DOING?
ASSUMING that Frerking knows what she’s talking about—no doubt some will carp about some of her generalizations re “commitment”—we might consider how the SOCCCD’s colleges do relative to the standards that she mentions.
I’ve offered some observations below, but PLEASE WRITE US to tell us how you think Saddleback College, Irvine Valley College, and ATEP (which will open in the Fall) rate on the Frerking "commitment" meter.
Learning communities: NOPE [None that I’m aware of, unless rabbits count.]
Honors programs: YES & NO [unlike some of the programs that Frerking describes, by law (I believe), IVC’s Honors Program cannot be selective among students. That is, less-than-“talented” students can and do enroll in our Honors courses.]
Articulation agreements: YES
Focussing on liberal arts and the sciences:
Responding to increasing demand for math and science teachers, health professionals and high-tech experts:
Embracing a culture of evidence: [I know that some of my colleagues in English will have something to say about this.]
See also Tennis in a parking lot