Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Their parents punish them for (whatever) by sending them to cc until they’ve learned whatever lesson they’re supposed to learn, at which point they gleefully decamp for ‘real’ college.
As much as I’d like to deny it, it fits with what I’ve seen, and explains a lot.
I’ve heard of policymakers touting college as an alternative to jail, but apparently, parents do something similar. This is a morale killer of the highest order.
Obviously, the kids who are (quite literally) serving time don’t carry a lot of intrinsic motivation, so the argument that they should risk lower grades by taking harder courses is an absolute non-starter with them.
I’ve heard of safety schools, but this is much worse. We’re purgatory.
I’m not sure how to get past this reputation. As a cc, we reject selectivity, so we’ll never carry the cachet of exclusivity. Quite the opposite: we fall prey to Groucho Marx’ old line about never joining a club that would accept him as a member.
Has anyone out there at a safety school (or a purgatory school) found a way around this?
In all seriousness, you must first remember that any solution will require spending money. My suggestion is to rework the CC honors program and run it jointly with your neighbor, Big State University (BSU) (you do have a BSU neighbor, right?)
In my experience, a number of students at a CC are there because they had good grades, but can't handle the SAT/ACT. Or they didn't get into their BSU of choice. Or they just cannot afford a state school (I have talked to parents of 16-20 year olds who told me they didn't think they were eligible for aid because they were white!). For better or for worse, these are your best honors candidates. So partner with BSU and their honors program. Make sure anyone who graduates from the CC honors program can enter directly into the BSU honors program as a junior.
I am a relatively new reader, so forgive me if I rehashed old topics.
(BTW, welcome to all new readers!)
A long article from today's Globe and Mail (Cnd national newspaper) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20050926/SRCOLLEGEINDUSTRY26/TPEducation/
The skill-based college diploma stands in stark contrast to liberal arts degrees from universities. To a generation terrified by the possibility of joining the ranks of the unemployed, the lofty university degree may be losing its attraction.
According to Ontario College Application Services, the number of college applicants is on the rise. In 2000, nearly 129,000 people applied for full-time study for the fall term. Five years later, the applicants total about 136,000.
Sheridan vice-president Maureen Callahan chalks up the appeal of colleges to their job-driven education. "An increasing number of [students] are on student loans, are working during school, are finding the financial pressures are very difficult and I think a lot of them want the sense they will be able to find employment," she says.
"There are people who enjoy the exploration of knowledge by following the paths through the academic woods. Then there are the other students who want to know what they can do with it, those who want to know how to apply that knowledge."
The fact is that employers hire college graduates who are prepared to launch into the work force, says Sheridan president and CEO Robert Turner. And Sheridan reflects that need by routinely evaluating the more than 100 programs on offer and "constantly checking our education is relevant to the marketplace," he says.
"At the onset, we were designed to provide practical applied training that yields to an exciting career, and we still do that, that's still our strength. But be very clear, we have no aspiration to be a university, we have the aspiration to be the best polytechnic in the country."
1. It's pitched not as being "harder" but as offering things that you can't get elsewhere (courses on superheroes, for example, or a writing course in which students plant a garden and write about it in the summer). In other words, it's a program that is built on doing cool interdisciplinary stuff that seems easier than regular classes because it is fun.
2. There is an honors course option wherein students can take care of both their requirements for English with only one course. You don't need to be enrolled in honors to do this - just have a minimum ACT score - and this can be a way of recruiting into the honors program.
3. Honors has the best classrooms, smaller class sizes, etc.
4. It is advertised as something that will help students transfer into a better university or - and this is key - into the university they want with more scholarship opportunities(i.e., you're more likely to be selected for an academic scholarship if you are enrolled in an honors program).
I have some problems with some of these strategies, but RCU does have a thriving honors program because of them.
I read somewhere that the engineers who sneered at the liberal arts crowd in the 80's and 90's have been downsized, but blogging is a growth industry. Revenge of the English majors!
Dr. C -- I like the interdisciplinary angle, and the acceleration angle, but they both run into transfer issues. If a class doesn't have an obvious disciplinary home, it gets shunted into the dreaded "free elective" category, which effectively makes it worthless. We could do it if we kept our own students for four years, but we don't. Cool idea, though.
I think an honors program is a hard sell if ALL there is to define it is more work. There's got to be something that makes it seem like fun, too.
Whew. Sorry to be long-winded. I do love to discuss things curricular (because I'm an idiot :) )
There are many students who need a four-year degree in order to have the career they intend -- and I certainly hope it doesn't sound like I'm slagging off community colleges. The problem with being a "high-achieving" student attending a CC for two years is that many have already completed college credits in high school, through AP courses. I started school with almost 60 credits of the 120 I needed to graduate, most of them gen ed requirements. And because I was a physics major, I was in upper-level courses that I wouldn't have been able to take at a CC before two years are up. So the advantages of a CC -- cheaper tuition in the first two years when you're not "supposed" to be taking anything a small department can't offer -- don't apply to lots of kids who are graduating from high schools with AP or IB programs.
I shake my head everytime they have the conversation, but ...
That's actually entirely what I DID expect and what I was trying to say, although I don't think it's necessarily true that students who don't have access to AP courses are falling "behind" the curve. From my experience, which is of course limited to my state and my university, these students actually make up the bulk of the curve, and students who are going into college with 20, 30, 40, 50 credits are ahead of the game. Going in with the number of credits I had allowed me a lot of academic freedom, so I could take classes in both of my majors (one art and one physical science), and work on several research projects to help me get ready for graduate school, but I could have done those things by taking an extra semester as well even if I'd gone in with no credits. As far as the rigors of an accredited program . . . do I think my AP Chem course taught me as much as I would have learned at, say, MIT? Probably not. But was it more rigorous than the corresponding course for which I got credit at Large State University? Absolutely -- and that goes double for classes like World History, which at LSU was often taught in a curriculum based on reading 3 historical novels over the course of the semester.