Engineering program development
Engineering Program Development at a Community College
Problem[edit | edit source]
Develop an engineering program at a community college that increases school reputation, transfer success and placement into workstudy, internships, summer jobs.
Conceive[edit | edit source]
Four year colleges in the US are ranked by a variety of organizations. These rankings are debated, but graduate success underlies or is the independent variable. The problem is that four year colleges can only elevate their students relative to their initial starting points. Football coaches know this and thus spend half their time recruiting. They know that student quality determines future success. Historically, students are selected by test scores, current GPA, evidence of self-discipline, intellectual curiosity, and hard work.
How do open enrollment community colleges select students? By sorting students into
- student governance
Test scores merely reflect family income, GPA varies widely, and self-discipline, curiosity and hard work are very hard to measure without a personal relationship. Perhaps this is why football coaches physically visit recruits:
Visiting is expensive. Less expensive ways involve asking students to write essays:
Essays have to be read, compared, sorted and ranked. This is marginally less expensive than the physical visits. Large schools try to create efficient/fair application processes by capturing numbers: Class rank, GPA, test scores and check boxes of things like band, choir, clubs, sports, and documented success of each. But this opens the door for all sorts of bias to creep in. The alternative is to let someone else do this work ... such as a community college.
Four year schools view community colleges as a gauntlet that:
Community colleges have to have an emphasis on grades that is different than a four year institution. Four year institutions give entry level students more chances to recover from failure than transfer students. Some four year institutions don't even offer grades the first semester. Community College grades matter tremendously.
The overt goal of community college selection is to improve four year transfer. But there are fine grained, tangible, immediate goals:
Projects have these characteristics:
Design[edit | edit source]
Four year institutions split up into Public and Private. Private are generally around 10 times smaller than Public. Although they increasing look the same from a funding point of view, their outcomes are much different. Graduates of private institutions look better for the same reason that unknown small companies win over large companies in customer satisfaction surveys .. small colleges can control outliers more easily.
|Pattern after small, private engineering colleges|
Small, private four-year institutions can charge more, and give out more in scholarships. They can endow professors more, and leverage the scheduling logistical efficiencies of smaller classes. This leads to a cohort bonding over shared hard work, everyone in one auditorium and sharp in/out group boundaries. Transfer entrance points typically don't exist, so community colleges don't have much of a relationship with them.
Community Colleges are by nature small and need to pattern cohorts after private institutions. The lack of 3rd and 4th year students means that much more emphasis needs to be placed on cohort bonding at the beginning.
|Turn Resource Scarcity into an Asset|
Honors provides entrance into the cohort. Cohort group boundaries can not be strictly enforced at a Community College because of open enrollment. Plus there is much more variety and churn than a private institution. Resource scarcity justifies "limited enrollment" in 4 year institutions, but community colleges don't have the luxury of this justification.
The "resource scarcity" narrative of big public institutions on one hand has to be treated as artificial or a myth .. and on the other hand has to be held up as a justification for increased funding. This tension turns into a source of pride ... of accomplishing the same as big institutions with less money.
|Cohort Projects, not Labs, not Student Government Clubs|
There are three basic project models in four year institutions:
The Cohort Project focus fits only in small institutions with professors that are not working on grants and publications. The professors have to switch between wearing the client hat (justifying/asking for the project), the project management hat, the customer hat, and fellow engineer, project participant.
Engineers are one of the view professions that are given self policing status by both federal and state law in the US. The others are doctors and lawyers. Self policing is a form of altruistic punishment that is hard to understand. In freshmen terminology the problem is slackers. Without a mechanism to punish slackers, co-operation among the remaining group members drops off dramatically.
Altruistic punishment is an evolutionary model that explains why a purely economic or purely alturistic cooperation model fails to model reality of large group altruistic behavior. It is why self-policing societies do work. And it suggests two different engineering program design considerations:
Implement[edit | edit source]
Implement implies a top down, thought out plan that almost never happens. There is a learning curve, change requirement, and space/material/logistical double bind tension that both the institution and individuals have to suffer through.
Edit[edit | edit source]
- Entrance into the Program
- Facility Access
- Elevator Speeches
- Facility Design
Operate[edit | edit source]
Demo[edit | edit source]
Next Steps[edit | edit source]
- Fill in the implementation steps above
- Develop presentations of these issues