Tuesday, October 25, 2016

CTE vs. General Education

Tonight the Cleveland Indians will take the field against the Chicago Cubs in game 1 of the World Series.  Two teams with the longest "drought" in World Series titles.  I am rooting for the Indians, having been born in Ohio and most recently worked in Ohio.  As a Detroit Tiger fan I would like to see the pennant in the American League Central Division.  With all that said, I will be equally excited to celebrate a Cubs' World Series title.  Sounds strange right???  

So why begin with baseball? My baseball loyalties are somewhat illustrative of the dual mission of the comprehensive community college.  The mission at Dona Ana Community College reads, DACC "...provides educational opportunities to a diverse community of learners in support of workforce and economic development."  Often the phrase, "in support of workforce and economic development" feels exclusive of the general education base and transfer programs DACC provides.  However, it is far from exclusive.  Let me explain. 

Career and Technical Programs (CTE) are designed to lead directly to a job within the economy. Transfer programs are designed to represent the first two years of a four-year baccalaureate degree.  Generally, at the end of that baccalaureate degree is a job or graduate school. DACC offers transfer programs in Pre-Business, General Engineering, Education, Public Health and more.  DACC also offers programs that do both.  These degrees can end in a job and continue on to a baccalaureate degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), for example, will afford someone the opportunity to take the NCLEX-RN test and upon passing, qualify for a job. Often someone holding an ADN will proceed on with their education and enter a Bachelor's degree program in Nursing - often called a BSN Completion Program.  This process can also be true for students pursuing an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice. Upon graduation students may enter the workforce, perhaps working at the local detention center or they may go on and pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice and pursue opportunities as a probation officer.  

Perhaps this sounds a bit like my baseball loyalties this post season.  I love and root for the Indians (and the Tigers first and foremost), but will be happy if the Cubs win.  I love our career and technical programs and I love our transfer programs.  At that end of the day it is not CTE vs. Transfer - it is alignment with the workforce needs of our state that helps us fulfill our mission and add value to our students' lives.  Some of those needs can be addressed by graduates with CTE certificates and degrees while other economic development needs will be met by graduates who hold a baccalaureate or even a professional degree (Masters of Social Work or Doctorate of Law for example).  

The comprehensive nature of DACC is one of our strengths.  

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