Hans A. Andrews, EdD is the Distinguished Fellow of Community College Leadership. He is a former secondary school business teacher, counselor, and community college counselor, teacher, administrator, community college president and author of seven books. His recent book, Recognition vs. Merit Pay for Our Best Teachers is available at his Matilda Press website.
Educators have developed a wide variety of special programs to meet emerging and changing needs of students over the years. A few of these programs and the ‘human impact’ they have had on the recipients in these programs are presented here.
Clerk-Typist: A special program in the Grand Rapids area of Michigan, U.S., was developed in the mid-1960’s to assist welfare women recipients to become clerk-typists for future employment. In a 24-week program three days a week eleven women out of the 13 who started the program successfully completed it.
The impacts noted from this program included:
- There was a significant improvement in their reported feelings of self-worth.
- They reported doing their homework with their children that noted that the children were getting improved grades in their school classes.
- At the end of the program certificates were presented. Some of the recipients had not previously completed secondary school so this was considered a major accomplishment.
- The students requested that the local newspaper come to take their picture at their graduation and it was published. The students dressed much more formally for the picture.
- The program was extended from the original 16 weeks to 24 at the request of the students who wished to continue improving their clerk-typist skills.
Part-Time Adult-Student Financial Assistance: In the 1970’s there were reports in the United States that part-time adult students did not need to have community colleges and universities present them with financial assistance for their school expenses. Two myths that were prevalent at that time were (1) the part-time student is not serious enough to command the attention and resources of postsecondary education; (2) The part-time student is working and can afford to pay his own way.
The community and student services administrators saw from their experiences that this was not the situation. Numerous students who had been in for career and course counseling were found unable to enroll due to a lack of personal finances.
Possibly the first part-time adult scholarship funds were sought by and received by Carole Edmonds from the English Department. She obtained $100 U.S. through a woman’s service organization and it was divided up between three adult women who were then able to enroll at that time.
Eventually two area foundations pledged $5,000 US each for part-time adult students. One foundation committed to students wishing to enter health related college programs.
The impacts these funds made were as follows:
- The students reported they would not have been able to enroll without the funds.
- The majority of the students sent notes to the foundation directors to let them know how important the funds had been for them.
- Once again, the reporting of improved self-images emerged when the students saw they could succeed in college level courses.
- The Miller Foundation of Battle Creek, headed by Robert Miller, let the college director of the program know that his foundation had never received such positive feedback as from the recipients of this program.
- Both foundations decided to continue their support of the adult financial aid program in the subsequent years.
- Over $30,000 was collected and disbursed over a three-year period.
The Journal of Financial Aid published an article on the program as it appeared to have been the first formal program for part-time adult students in any college up to that date.
Dual-Credit Beginnings: In 1986 Illinois Valley Community College started the first dual-credit program between a secondary school and a community college. The program allowed students to enroll in their home school or at the college in college courses that would not count as college credit and as credit toward the students’ secondary school graduation.
The program quickly expanded to allow ways that students could complete one semester or one year of college credit by the time they graduated from their secondary school. In later years the expansion allowed students to obtain their two-year college Associate Degrees during the same time frame of the last two years of secondary school education.
The following impacts were reported back by students a year after the first group had attended colleges throughout the state of Illinois. It was a ‘looking back’ survey conducted by the college and Marquette High School personnel.
- Students found they had a head-start on knowing what to expect in full-time college.
- Several reported that two of the community college professors were the best they had to date.
- During the first two years of the program there was an average of 35 students enrolled.
- The average number of college credit hours completed by secondary school graduation was 18.
- Parents reported saving thousands of U.S. dollars by their son or daughter having enrolled in this program.
Teacher Evaluation: The improvements made in the teacher evaluation program at Illinois Valley Community Colleges (IVCC) in the 1980’s and 1990’s did much to improve student success outcomes.
Teachers who did not meet the standards of teaching expected and approved by the college governing board, faculty union, and college administrators were not awarded tenure (normally awarded for successful teaching after three years). Other faculty members, already on tenure and found needing to improve were given areas of remediation to improve. When this failed, which it did for a number of the faculty, they were given due process and formally dismissed by the governing board which had the authority to do so.
The following are some of the major impacts realized by this improved teacher evaluation program:
- Quality faculty were hired or continued so eventually there were high quality teachers in every college classroom.
- Large numbers of students transferring to senior four-year colleges and universities were found to be highly successful after their transfer.
- Illinois State University (ISU) which received the largest number of the IVCC transfer students reported that in 12 of 14 semesters the IVCC students obtained the highest grade point averages (GPA) of the 49 community colleges sending their graduates to ISU. Similar results were reported back to IVCC from other colleges and universities in the state.
Concluding Comments: Every new education program developed continues if it has positive human impacts upon the students and faculty members involved.
This report identifies several programs that this author was involved with over his teaching and administrative career. Such reports should be expanded to show the importance of so many of our educational programs around the world so people come to understand how important they become to the recipients of such programs.