Monday, November 28, 2016
But I agree: I don't know who is the audience. Can it tip the scale for a transfer admission? I suppose that is possible. I'll have to remember to ask the folks on the receiving end when I see them next year.
I think efforts to institute a co-curricular transcript are understandable (elevate the value/importance of different kinds of experience and learning, capture information about student activities, appeal to employers), but misguided.
Basically, your resume IS a co-curricular transcript. It's where you put internships, summer jobs, campus leadership, service, special skills, etc. To my recollection, I have never heard an employer express interest in a co-curricular transcript--they wouldn't know how to evaluate it and would likely ignore it. Students might care about a co-curricular transcript, but only to the extent that it demonstrates they've fulfilled a graduation requirement.
You also raise important points about measuring competencies and gathering this data. If it's self-reported, it's much harder for a college to verify it took place, let alone measure the impact it had. Absent some kind of co-curricular or experiential learning requirement that is baked into the higher education experience and has an accompanying administrative oversight (Warren Wilson College's triad of academics, work and service comes to mind), I see a lot of challenge in administering this, an unclear audience and subsequently very little value.
First, I worked for the school newspaper as a section editor. This was a high enough level position at my school that I received a small stipend ($75/term, I think) and 1 or 2 academic credits in some sort of "class" out of the Communication department (I don't think it counted toward fulfilling the major, but I really don't remember now). The accountability for this was that if I didn't actually get the sports section of the paper together every week, it would be really obvious that the paper didn't have a sports section, and our faculty advisory would presumably notice as he leafed through the paper that Friday. Presumably, the editor in chief also did some sort of report. This sounds more like your "radio station" example - something with shifts and a product, where it makes sense to track it somewhat like a job or a class, particularly if students may go on to a career in a related area.
Also, I was involved in our school's gaming club. One year I was even co-president, so the school might theoretically still have a record of that. For this, we submitted to administration what events we held to justify our budget (with rough headcounts), and mostly our accountability piece was a list of which rooms we'd booked for club events when so we could show we were an active club with lots of things going on. We mostly played tabletop RPGs, and we discovered that student groups could book conference rooms for free, so we mostly tended to book some pretty nice 10-person conference rooms for various games on weekend evenings when they weren't otherwise used. This was probably the main reason we needed "club" status in the first place, although they did also give us a small budget that we spent on building a game library and buying supplies to make boffer weapons. We were probably considered one of the most active groups on campus in terms of sheer number of "meetings" since we had several different people running games that meet weekly (we designated each game as a "subcommittee" for room-booking purposes). I doubt admin ever had a clear list of our membership (except for the school-supplies email group list), let alone who attended which event. This also isn't something that most employers would care about and there's very little temptation to lie and say that you were, in fact, spending all of your Friday nights rolling dice and pretending to be a pirate if you weren't bothering to show up. We certainly could have provided attendance lists (since it'd be the same small group every week with a clear leader who was in charge of running that game), but we didn't.
Finally, I was in our school's GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance). At that time, that's something I actively wouldn't have wanted employers to see, particularly when I was applying for teaching jobs in small rural towns (times have changed a bit, but I'd still rather bring that up on a case-by-case basis). I'm pretty sure no one took any kind of attendance at our meetings (possibly a headcount of roughly how many people attended events), and some of our attendees wouldn't have been comfortable coming if we had.
So anyway, these cover the broad three types of student activities: things students would, in most cases, want documentation of (newspaper), things students probably wouldn't care about one way or the other (gaming), and things students might actively want not to have documentation of recorded (GSA). Any plan that doesn't distinguish between those three different types of activities probably needs more refinement even before you get into the tracking piece.