Community colleges and the future of higher education
March 11, 2019 /
If this country achieves its post-secondary performance goals and brings many more Americans into a bright future, community colleges will take on a great deal of responsibility.
Community colleges are the cornerstone of American higher education. These institutions enroll nearly half of all college students and the majority of African American and Latin American students, as well as a large number of low-income, first-generation, and senior students.
Community colleges play an important role in addressing the country’s biggest challenges: stagnant family income, income and wealth inequalities, and political polarization.
Our society puts enormous strain on community colleges. These institutions are responsible for:
- Development of the workforce.
- Training of human capital.
- Local and regional economic development.
- Technical and vocational training.
- Civil service
Community colleges are a cheaper alternative to colleges and universities with four years of vocational training. They are a gateway to higher education and, in many cases, an alternative to four-year colleges.
Despite their central place in the university ecosystem, community colleges lack respect and adequate financial resources. Too often these institutions are condescending, their critical role in rehabilitation and vocational training is limited. Their success rates in terms of transfer and graduation rates, as well as post-graduate salaries, are also severely criticized.
An affordable, accessible option with a focus on learning and skills, especially for non-traditional students, community colleges earn far more support, funding, and respect than they currently receive.
Of course, community colleges face many new challenges. These include inscriptions that vary considerably depending on the business cycle. the need to keep costs low and reduce the cost of registration and fees; Competition from other providers of training and credentials, including “competence-based” providers at relatively low cost; greater accountability requirements for graduation and transfer rates, licensing rates for licenses and work after the end of the program. Their responsibilities are now expanding as these institutions have to work much more closely with the K-12 school districts, four-year institutions and local industry.
Several ideas have been developed to improve the results of community colleges. Terry U. O’Banion’s 13 ideas that change the world of community college provide a brief introduction to many possible innovations. Here are ten innovations that have been advanced:
- Enrollment in a four-year institution.
About 80 percent of community college students expect a switch to a four-year facility. For many reasons, including the opportunity cost of continuing education, most do not. Joint enrollment at a four-year college or university provides a way to increase the transfer rate and make the transition smoother.
- Fields of study.
These programs, which are closely aligned with the Community College curriculum and the four-year university curriculum, face a major challenge: the loss of student transfer credits. Articulation agreements were inadequate, as real loans are often provided by individual departments or universities. To be successful, it is important that departments and individual faculty members work together to ensure that the learning outcomes of the courses are comparable and that the credit points are easily transferred.
- Meta majors
The Meta Majors introduce students to a broad field of study and open windows for possible jobs. Meta Majors can help students identify potential careers and careers at an early stage of their college careers, making it less likely that students will change careers later, which can be costly and time-consuming.
- Structured roads
These programs are more coherent, synergistic and more carefully aligned than traditional careers. By reducing student options, guided routes help students continue to work to some degree. At best, these paths are interdisciplinary, including relevant courses in other areas that are essential to the education of a student. A notable example is math courses adapted to a particular career.
- Stackable credentials
Stackable badges provide a way to make sure that students who can not earn a certificate or certification have real value in the job market.
- Applied Bachelor Degrees
Florida is one of the most advanced providers of bachelor’s degrees in areas that avoid four-year institutions, such as: Dental hygiene, emergency management, health care administration, radiology and imaging. One can imagine many areas in which it might make sense for a community university to offer bachelor degrees, eg. In automotive technologies, computer-aided design and drafting, dietetics, parenting, flood control and environmental management. Hospitality Information systems, logistics, acquisitions and project management, body and occupational therapy, public safety and administration as well as web design and development.
- Bridging the gap between vocational and academic education.
At present, the dual responsibilities of adult education centers (professional and technical training and the foundations for a bachelor’s degree) are a matter of concern. Would not it be sensible to regard these responsibilities as a symbiosis and to ensure that many more students graduating or moving from a community college already have a recognized business competence with evidence? Blurring the gap between professional and academic careers could also serve another valuable function: helping students better understand their career choice.
- Rethink the correction
Redevelopment is one of the most important tasks of community colleges, but too often rehabilitation courses become a dead end because the students enrolled in these courses do not earn college credit and gradually exhaust financial aid. Parallel courses were offered combining a credit and a repurchase section as a possible solution. However, there are other options. These include diagnoses to identify specific areas that require correction. Software for developing skills in critical areas; and intensive training camps that focus on a specific challenge.
- One-stop surround support
In community colleges, academic and non-academic support can not be limited to a discrete group of “vulnerable” students. Rather, such support must be provided in a cost effective manner. This support must also be proactive as students in many cases stop instead of seeking the help they need. In summary, the support must be a team effort that unites the faculty, student services specialists, and peer mentors. Career services, services for the disabled, advice on financial assistance, tutoring and writing support should be included in the academic experience.
- Alternative programming and delivery methods
In addition to the more traditional evening classes and weekends, the alternative modes include hybrid courses, low-residency courses, online courses supplemented by a presence structure, and support on a satellite campus or “store” deployment of life and academic trainers
With the rising costs of a four-year university degree and the demographic changes that increase the numbers of low-income and non-traditional students, there is reason to believe that community colleges are playing an increasingly important role in education. post-secondary
The condescension must come to an end and be replaced by the opinion that two- and four-year institutions participate as partners in a joint venture.