Tuesday, December 01, 2015
Cohorts and Critical Mass
- it’s only money
If we could afford answer A, we could do nearly anything. Even answer B would allow far more responsiveness to local conditions than we can manage now. As long as we’re stuck with “maybe C but probably D,” well, some needs will go unmet. I’d like to change the direction of that train.
You certainly don't run a nursing cohort that way!
To be clear, I'm not saying you have to be really selective like you are in a nursing program, but you do have to have college-level students if it is a college-level program. Perhaps what you need to do is have just-in-time remediation like they do in machinist programs: teach the fraction arithmetic and digital programming while they are learning other things. Think that through, with the incoming student body in mind, and then your program will be "tightly constructed".
That said, the workforce-oriented programs that worked well at my college in response to a community need were ones that had outside funding so they could run with a small cohort. That was easier to do back when there were lots of jobs programs to address the Great Recession, however. Not so easy now.
If you state "to be considered a part of Program, you need to apply and have met the follow checklist of [developmental classes] and to remain in the cohort you must pass [classes required for program] in the following quarters (since that's the only time they'll be offered in this two year cycle)" upfront, and then try to have options for student who leak out of your cohort to get some other kind of degree or lesser related credential, that's probably the way around this. Of course, that doesn't get those "leaky" students the credential they want in a timely fashion, but if the alternative is not offering the program at all, it's not like they'd otherwise be served better.
Sort of a "reverse stackable credential", where you earn a lower (but still useful) credential after failing to meet the standards of a more exclusive one.
To paraphrase someone in the 1992 Clinton campaign, it's the money, stupid.
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