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Subject:

The Great Community College Experiment

From:

Dan Kern <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 2 Dec 2009 07:19:23 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (310 lines)

The Great Community College Experiment 

December 2, 2009 

NEW YORK -- Though many in academe have great interest in its plan to
develop an <http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/02/06/cuny>
experimental community college designed specifically to maximize student
success, the City University of New York is still more than a year away from
having its much-discussed vision become a reality.

The New <http://www.cuny.edu/academics/oaa/initiatives/ncc.html>  CUNY
Community College Initiative, as the project is formally known, is entering
the second of three stages of structural and curricular development for the
new two-year institution, the city's first in nearly 40 years. Many of the
hallmarks of the college's initially outlined design
<http://www.cuny.edu/academics/oaa/initiatives/ncc/NCC_Concept_paper.pdf>
are still in place after months of refinement, including its strict
enrollment requirements and limited curriculum. 

For instance, all students interested in the college would have to attend a
face-to-face interview with an academic counselor before admission. There,
they would be told of the institution's requirements that they attend full
time for their first academic year, take a predetermined basic education
curriculum, and choose from one of only 12 majors. In their second year, all
students would receive internships and other on-the-job training experiences
in their field of choice. Throughout, these students would receive more
direct counseling and mentoring than traditional community college students
do, concerning everything from career planning to financial aid issues.

Defending the Model

A few of the basic tenets of the planned college, particularly its limited
selection of majors and its requirement that students attend full time, have
given some critics the impression that it has the potential to turn into an
"elite" institution, distancing itself from the city's six existing two-year
colleges.

"If [CUNY] implements this new community college, then what are [they] going
to do?" Kay McClenney, director of the Community
<http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/11/16/ccsse>  College Survey of
Student Engagement, said about the CUNY project to Inside Higher Ed in
February <http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/02/06/cuny> . "Are [they]
going to serve a small portion of students who are going to succeed anyway,
or are [they] either going to embrace or change the realities of those they
bring in? [They're] sort of experimenting in a bubble that is built on
full-time students, built without some of the constraints faced by those
with part-time students. It's always easier to create a new institution
rather than to transform existing ones."

John Mogulescu, CUNY senior dean for academic affairs, said that the
college's designers have not wavered on its core components, despite some of
the outside concerns.Still, he confessed that he and other planners are
having some trouble winning over others with constructive critiques of the
new community college, which, with a planned enrollment between 3,000 and
4,000, would be the smallest in the city.

"There has to be this understanding, between the student and the [new]
institution, that there is a match," he said. "If someone knows for certain
that they want a major that is not one that this college has, they would not
come to this college. They would go elsewhere. I want to be clear, because
many people have said that this is going to be a 'creaming institution,' and
it's not. It's going to be an open-admission institution with a caveat that
students will start full time."

Tracy Meade, CUNY university director for collaborative programs, echoed
Mogulescu's promise, noting that 87
<http://owl.cuny.edu:7778/ADMS_0004_FTFR_FTPT_GEN.rpt.pdf>  percent of
freshmen who matriculate into a CUNY community college for the first time do
so as full-time students. Still, she insisted that the system's planning
committee for the new college decided on the full-time requirement long
before it saw data convincing them that this requirement would not isolate
many traditional students.

"We've started to lose track of the original reason why we thought this
would be a good idea," she said of requiring all of the college's students
to attend full time and take a structured core curriculum. "The debate was
on another level: What do we learn about these students first and foremost
to get them over the biggest hurdles that they haven't been able to get over
again, again and again? I don't want that to get lost in the shuffle. We may
learn, for instance, that a certain way of structuring the first year [at
this new community college] will work at our existing community colleges
[that include part-time students] because we've done something right here.
Our plan is based on student need, not on rigging the game based on picking
students who attend full time."

Selecting the Majors

Perhaps the most change the new community college model has undergone in the
past year is the deliberately limited curriculum it would include. A CUNY
work committee has finalized a list of 12 majors
<http://www.cuny.edu/academics/oaa/initiatives/ncc/SummariesonMajors.html>
that would be offered at the institution and divided them into four larger
concentrations: health sciences, business and information studies, education
and human services, and liberal arts and sciences.

Currently, eight of the 12 majors have "pre-articulated" agreements with
CUNY four-year institutions to provide a seamless transition for students
into a specific discipline if they choose to earn a baccalaureate degree.
Meade compared this development to one that is about to be tried elsewhere
within the system.

"Queensborough Community College and Hunter College will have joint
registrations for nursing starting next year," she said. "The breakthrough
is that they'll be registered at both institutions at the same time, sealing
the deal in terms of the credit acceptance and guaranteed transfer to a
baccalaureate focus. That's a good model for us to follow."

Though CUNY officials decided from the very beginning of their planning that
this new college would have fewer majors than a traditional community
college -- arguing that perhaps these other institutions lose students by
giving them too many options -- they chose to select some majors over others
for the limited curriculum in an almost Darwinian fashion.

"We went about taking a look at labor market information and what our
community colleges currently offer and tried to make a match between
students' interest and what'll be viable three or so years down the road
when they're done," Mogulescu said. "For that, we brought in some and
dismissed others, knowing that fields like health care and business would
have to be included and that the liberal arts would have to be included for
students who aren't sure what they want to do."

Still, there would be overlap between the programs offered by the new
community college and existing two-year institutions in the city. Only the
associate degree in environmental sciences would be unique to the new
college.

Though Mogulescu said he had not heard pushback from colleges who saw the
duplicative nature of the new institution's majors as "threatening," Meade
did admit that CUNY officials eliminated some majors from the new college's
menu because of such concerns.

"For instance, at Borough of Manhattan Community College
<http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/12/02/bmcc>  there is a media
studies major," she said, noting the uniqueness of that major to BMCC. "If
this new college is going to be in Manhattan, we want to be clear that we
weren't competing with them for students, and so we took it off our list."

Seeking Students and Finding Faculty

Unlike Accelerated <http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/03/19/asap>
Study in Associate Programs -- an experimental CUNY initiative to graduate
as many highly motivated students as quickly as possible, which shares many
curricular and enrollment restrictions with the new community college model
-- there are no plans for the new CUNY institution to offer any merit-based
scholarships. ASAP is a time-limited program set to expire when its grant
funding runs out, and the new community college would be a permanent
institution.

"Once we establish money for this new college, if we could set aside money,
say, for Metrocards or something, that'd be great," Mogulescu said of some
additional financial assistance beyond the ever-present state and federal
programs. "The downside of that is then people will say, 'Well, the reason
you're so successful is that you have all these other resources.' Still, I'd
never turn money down."

Meade, however, believes that the new institution's required and
personalized weekly student counseling time would ensure that everyone is
up-to-date on all financial aid issues and would have his or her needs met.

Though the new two-year institution lacks the "carrot" of ASAP's financial
assistance -- which voids tuition for its students, pays for their textbooks
and buys them Metrocards -- CUNY officials insist it will not be hard to
market the new college to students and differentiate it from its sister
institutions around the city.

"There's always going to be some need for seats, because our community
colleges are very popular and people want to go to them," Mogulescu said.
"But, we'll have to get the message out there that we're going to try
something different from our existing colleges and that it's worth a try. We
have to try to present it in a way that's clear to students. For example, we
can't promise them that if they come here they'll graduate, but we can tell
them that's the goal. We're not worried about getting students to come."

Mogulescu also suggested the new institution would have the same ease in
attracting faculty. Though the college would have open searches for
positions, he imagined that many instructors from within the CUNY system
might want move to the new college because of its experimental model.

"I can't say that we'll have all full-time faculty members, but that's the
goal," said Mogulescu, noting the importance of having full-time faculty
work with students who are also required to be there full time. "The idea
that this'll be an adjunct-driven school is not true."

More Planning and Goal Setting

Toni Gifford, associate director for the New Community College Initiative,
said that she and her colleagues still had a great deal of work to
accomplish before they could unveil the college, depending on how future
planning goes. Still, she noted that CUNY officials were just now putting a
structure to some of the college's early goals.

For instance, Mogulescu said CUNY has been working with a number of local
employers, from those in health care to the financial services industry, to
solidify relationships for the second-year internships guaranteed to
students at the new community college. He admitted, however, that more work
needed to be done to mold the major-specific curriculum in a student's
second and third year at the college.

Also, Meade said time was still needed to plan the "summer bridge program"
that all students at the new college would be required to take to prepare
them for college-level work. The new college would not offer traditional
remedial courses; instead, all students would begin taking credit-bearing
courses on day one. This summer program, Meade noted, must be structured in
a way that gets students on the same track before starting together in the
fall.

Though no date has officially been set, Mogulescu said he expects the first
class of students to enter CUNY's new community college either in July of
2011 or 2012. For its first six or seven years, he added, the college would
reside in leased spaced, but it would eventually move to a permanent
location near CUNY's John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

-  <mailto:[log in to unmask]> David Moltz 

Related Stories

*	 <http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/11/30/programs> New
Programs: Sustainable Building, Library Science, Architecture
November 30, 2009 
*	 <http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/11/30/nevada> Access to
What?
November 30, 2009 
*	 <http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/11/25/programs> New
Programs: Entrepreneurialism, Environmental Sustainability, ESL
November 25, 2009 
*	 <http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/11/25/nber> When to
Specialize?
November 25, 2009 
*	 <http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/11/25/pregnancy> A
Different Kind of Pregnant Student
November 25, 2009 

C Copyright 2009 Inside Higher Ed 

 

Sources:
http://www.insidehighered.com/layout/set/print/news/2009/12/02/cuny

 

 

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/12/02/cuny

 

 

 

Dan Kern

AD21, Reading

East Central College

1964 Prairie Dell Road

Union, MO  63084-4344

Phone:  (636) 583-5195

Extension:  2426

Fax:  (636) 584-0513

Email:  [log in to unmask]

 

http://www.studentveterans.org/

 

Veterans Day 2009: http://www1.va.gov/opa/vetsday/

 

www.vietnamwomensmemorial.org

 

Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is
it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But, conscience asks
the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a
position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it
because one's conscience tells one that it is right. (Martin Luther King,
Jr.) 

Instruction begins when you, the teacher, learn from the learner. Put

yourself in his place so that you may understand what he learns and

the way he understands it. (Kierkegaard)

 

To freely bloom - that is my definition of success. -Gerry Spence, lawyer
(b. 1929)    [Benjamin would be proud, I think.]

 


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