Shaping the College Curriculum
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Shaping the College Curriculum
Students need to be aware of their own processes for learning.
The process may be different in different disciplines.
Students don't always know how to learn which means that this practice may need to take place in the classroom.
Students can get stuck in a pre-held misconception and may resist information that is contradictory.
Cultural impact and context has to be addressed and woven into the course to be sure students will accept and embrace new knowledge.
The New 'Invisible College' (Staley & Trinkle, 2011)
Definition: A network of scholars dating back to the 17th century who would share research and information about the sciences via letter.
With technology advancing there is a new network being created and used.
The new network "has more in common with an ecosystem than with a corporation", according to Caroline Wagner (as cited by Staley & Trinkle, 2011). This graphic represents how that alters organization.
The network is organized around problem-solving , not geographical or even by discipline affiliation. This is a more open source network that allows for people from all over the world and in various disciplines come together to solve a problem.
Access to College
The Morrill Act made college an opportunity to many more students than ever before.
New colleges opened to women in the US during the mid 19th century allowing them to train to be teachers.
The Civil War meant that men were at war and not in the classroom, which offered another opportunity for women to attend schools that were previous unavailable to them.
Creation of Historically Black Colleges and Universities by the Second Morrill Act in 1875.
More students were college ready after the turn of the century when high schools improved and became more standardized. This increased access for a large population of students.
Brown vs. The Board Education opened all educational facilities to desegregate in 1950.
The GI Bill allowed for veterans to attend making the student body older, and more diverse in previous educational and life experiences.
The Federal Government.
Land Grant Institutions
Brought forth land to be used for higher education in every state, all thanks to the Morrill Act.
The colleges established were focusing content on agricultural studies.
Created in 1972 the grant is meant to cover expenses for students who have a lower expected family contribution (EFC). As with other grants, this does not need to be repaid. We refer to is at "free money" in our orientation at Durham Tech Community College.
Established originally in 1944 to aid WWII veterans in many areas, including housing loans and educational fees. 1966 saw a readjustment in 1966 when it was broadened to include all service men and women.
More than doubled the student populations at community colleges.
There are several federal chapters of the bill that allow service men and women, and their families, to access the funds.
Oversight by the US Dept of Veterans Affairs.
Approval of Accreditation Bodies
While the Department of Education does not accredit schools, the Secretary of Education gives approval of the accrediting bodies it deems relable. This determines federal funding eligibility giving the federal government a large hand in the funding of institutions.
According to the Department of Education the accrediting agencies are private associations who are tasked with "...ensuring that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality" (DOE, n.d.)
Validity is often questioned because it is seen by many as an incestual process of back slapping among institutions of higher education that holds little to no consequences.
Spellings Commission wanted schools to be rated based on performance, not reputation. The College Scorecard would seem to be an answer due to the fact that the accreditation bodies do not offer this type assessment.
The Scorecard is easy to read, but the information it offers is lacking. I don't see this being a resource that students will use to select colleges. I think that parents will want to see graduation rates as a proxy for return on investment.
There needs to be a shift from a stagnant accreditation process to a valid student learning assessment. There are many ideas about how to accomplish this in higher education, but getting out of the rut of the current accreditation process seems to be impossible.
Currently there are 15 approved regional accrediting bodies listen on the Department of Education site. This is only institutional accrediting bodies and does not include program accreditation which may come from industry organizations.
Demographics have shifted to an older "traditional" age student who may not attend full time or live on campus.
Preparation and ability is reportedly decreased according to the HERI report cited by Lattuca and Stark (2009). Upwards of 40% of the instructors at four year schools feel the students they teach are not college ready. This has led to an onslaught of literature aiming to help instructors teach these students.
Students are attending college with the intent of learning a marketable skill, their goals have shifted away from learning for the sake of learning to learning for the sake of employment.
Students goals, needs, preparedness, willingness to work, mindset, preconceptions and other factors make the students one of the most, if not the most, influential population in higher education.
For-Profit and Public schools have different organizational models.
At public institutions there is generally a shared governance that allows faculty a great deal of autonomy in the classroom because they are seen as the content experts.
For-profit institutions such as the University of Phoenix has a tier of content specialists above the instructors who regardless of location deliver the same scripted lesson plans given them no autonomy in the classroom.
Money is a finite resource that aids in decision making at every level of curriculum. It can also drive research in the hopes of bringing in additional funds through proprietary findings and developments that can be later sold.
Physical space is also limiting, or an opportunity.
Being asked to do more with less has caused stress on college infrastructures.
Fragmentation of Specialization
With so many options for general education electives students no longer have a common core curriculum.
Faculty has to fight to keep courses in the general education curriculum due to so much competition from emerging or new fields
Each field includes it's own languages, base knowledge, methods of inquiry, and links to other fields. With this many different cultures on one campus faculty and students find themselves further apart as opposed to closer together (Lattuca & Stark, 2009). This weakens links that could be made and creates silos.