UDC Community College — Tabula Rasa

UDC CC -- Tabula Rasa

The University of the District of Columbia is starting a two-year community college. So far, all DC citizens have is a press release and the name of the CC-UDC CEO, Dr. Eurmon Hervey.

NotionsCapital asked Dean Dad, the veteran community college administrator who blogs at InsideHigherEd.com, what he would do if he could start a new two-year institution from scratch. His predictable reaction: “Ooooh, fun!” Then:  

“I’d hold the line on mission creep and set a cap of maybe ten programs for the entire college. (That’s a ballpark figure – could be eight, could be twelve.) “

What programs?  General education (for those who wish to tranfer to four-year degree programs), nursing, criminal justice, business admin, early childhood education, and “a very short list of others chosen for likelihood of payoff … specifics would depend on local employment needs, and … what the college could conceivably do well.”

What I manifestly would NOT do is try to be ‘comprehensive’ in the current fashion, which involves a single college running a hundred or more degree programs. When programs (or ‘options’) grow like kudzu, the resources get spread too thin, and the resource requirements for administrative overhead mushroom far beyond any real payoff to the students. (Every program needs its own outcomes assessments, its own annual reports, its own program reviews, its own coordinator…)

So don’t “Blue Sky,” Dr. Hervey, you’ll water down quality and burden the CC with excessive admin costs. Dean Dad says to invest in other things:

Childcare Center. It should be open during day and evening classes, and CC-UDC should “condition free childcare around class time on good academic standing.” Evening childcare can be a dealbreaker for working adults. Combine good day and evening childcare with Metro passes paid for by student fees (and therefore by Pell grants), and you’re getting somewhere.”

Institutional Research.“Most colleges have just enough IR staff to deal with external reporting requirements” for federal funding programs and grantwriting needs. With sufficient IR staff the college can determine how well each program is doing and make timely improvements.

Dean Dad discusses governance, faculty structure and compensation, labor issues, and other matters here, and invites your own ideas and responses.

Thanks, Dean Dad.

Now all the new UDC community college needs is students, faculty, staff, a campus, and a budget — and a “No Dumping” sign to keep the 4-year school from burdening the new college with UDC’s many accumulated problems.


Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.


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