Tuesday, February 06, 2007
The life-cycle of an occupational program:
“Gee, we're seeing a lot of employer and student demand for a program in x.”
Several years pass
“Maybe we should have a program leading to a degree in x, so students can get those jobs.”
“Don't we already have something sorta like that in department z?”
“Let's have the chair of department z put it together.”
The scene shifts to department z.
“How can students possibly jump right into that? They need a solid foundation in the courses we happen to teach.”
“Let's make x a subset of z, so students can major in z with a concentration in x.”
“Good idea. And let's construct the Gen Eds so as not to offend the other chairs.”
“Great job! I'm glad you've made certain the students will get a solid foundation in z.”
“Thanks. It's all about academic integrity, you know.”
At in-person registration:
“Why do I have to take z? I only want x!”
“These prereqs are bullshit. I'll just take what I want.”
“Why don't we have a program in x? Students and employers are clamoring for it.”
“Can't be done. We tried it a few years ago, and the numbers were terrible.”
I thought it was intended as a rather insightful and inciteful rebuke of the administration.
I also see “Don't we already have something sorta like that in department z?” where admin passes the buck after a few years rather than research the needs of the employer right away ...
... and “Let's make x a subset of z, so students can major in z with a concentration in x.” where the committee at the dept level does much the same thing.
Of course, it could suffer low enrollment if the program only uses classes that are narrowly focussed on the new subject. Cuts both ways, which is why DD has a tough job.
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