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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

"Misguided Pathways"


     This semester, faculty—of Irvine Valley College's Academic Senate—confronted a hurried effort by the college to embrace a set of odd "meta-majors" as part of the dubious state-wide "Guided Pathways" initiative. (Money's at stake, natch.)
     The faculty pushed back: what's the hurry? Why not get faculty buy-in first? Who's the knucklehead who came up with these daffy majors?
     The brakes were applied. So far so good, but, as always, we should be wary of administration-driven and idiotic "reforms."
     See Nov 2, 2017, Senate Meeting: lowering the heat on Guided Pathways [Senate Capers].

Inside Higher Ed
     …But a new report is calling into question just how the system of seven two-year institutions [City Colleges of Chicago] has increased degree completions, alleging it softened standards and manipulated data in the pursuit of better graduation rates.
     According to the report from the Better Government Association, an Illinois-based nonpartisan watchdog group, “Since 2010, City Colleges has watered down its curriculum, violated its own rules on what constitutes a degree, changed the way it counts statistics and bestowed thousands of degrees -- sometimes in multiples to the same person -- to current and former students who in many cases neither requested nor wanted them.”
     Critics of City Colleges’ completion push see the system as having altered policy and created initiatives simply to improve its metrics and image….
Chronicle of HE
     …Faculty members at the University of Wisconsin at Superior said they were "blindsided" by this week’s announcement that the university was suspending more than two dozen academic programs, including majors in political science, sociology, and theater.
     The programs were being phased out, the university said, as part of a streamlining process to make it easier for students to graduate on time. First-generation students, who make up 46 percent of the student body, tend to get overwhelmed by too many course offerings, university administrators said. As a result, they added, students often make bad decisions that cause them to take too many credits, incur too much debt and take too long to graduate....
. . .
     Khalil Dokhanchi, a professor of political science who has been at the university for 25 years, said that he has "absolutely no idea what this means for me," but that he plans to stay on.
     "They’re saying that poor, working-class students can’t make decisions because there are too many choices. It’s offensive," he said.
     "This is a huge mistake and a good indicator of why faculty members should be involved in these decisions."....
The Conversation
     ...For the Golden State of California, 1960 was a golden year: It was a time of rapid development, when the state chose to use its tax revenues to fund magnificent freeways and other infrastructure.
     Part of this massive development was a system of public higher education – a model that put California center stage in the American imagination.

     The master plan has struggled to keep up. It has gone through many reviews and revisions, the latest of which, in 2017, emphasized improving access and affordability.
     But the convergence of these trends, combined with fluctuations in the state economy and tax revenues, has turned the Californian dream of higher education into an American dilemma….

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

These are scary times, especially with people eager to do anything for grant money or to jump on the new wagon in town without checking its wheels or cargo.

Anonymous said...

Students need to learn more, not less to be successful.

Anonymous said...

People like junkets, conferences, photo ops, the sense of doing something new instead of doing what need to be done better. There's nothing really new here kids.

Anonymous said...

From my observations at Saddleback, grant money boosts the egos of some administrators but pulls faculty out of classrooms, labs, library and counseling duties. And when the money dries up, the college is left to drop the programs or put its own money into them. Sometimes grants are beneficial but often not.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that what's going to happen to ANNIPISI and ELEVATE? The district is committed only for as long as the grant lasts.

Anonymous said...

They will spend the $$$ they got for ELEVATE?ANAPISI and then close it down. There is no political will or commitment to keep projects going, just to get grant money and photo ops.

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