Scott Jaschik, editor of Inside Higher Ed, talks about the controversy over the new CUNY program Pathways designed to make it easier for students to transfer from 2-year to 4-year schools.
More info about the course transfer database:
Also, there is ALREADY a central CUNY database that lists (a large number of) CUNY community (2-year) college courses that each specific senior (4-year) campus has committed to automatically accept as "equivalent" to the senior college's general education and major course requirements. This database can and is used to give valid advice to students about which community college courses will be (automatically) transferable to a given senior college. (Other community college courses may be transferable subject to evaluation by the senior college.) I believe that this database is actually available to students on-line so they can consult it themselves.
CUNY *ALREADY* has an undergrad degree program (CUNY B.A.) to accommodate students who wish to combine credits from one or more other campuses to earn a degree. They can take all of their classes at the campus(es) of their choice and earn a CUNY B.A. They just can't receive (for instance) a Brooklyn College degree without meeting Brooklyn College's standards and requirements.
Unfortunately, the university administration and board apparently are not satisfied with or interested in promoting this *existing* solution for students who desire to combine coursework from multiple campuses. Instead, they want to force campus faculties, against their better judgement, to accommodate to a one-size-fits-all system of degree requirements which degrades the quality, integrity and individual character of each college's degree program.
Such a system will encourage an already rampant tendency toward a fragmented educational experience for students.
The current system (which, of course, needs some improvement, not being perfect) does allow students a choice: Those who wish to attend a quality campus and receive a quality education and degree may do so. Those who wish to take courses on multiple campuses and earn a CUNY B.A. may do so. In addition, the current system does allow students to transfer courses between campuses, but there are some inefficiencies in this patchwork approach.
It's not necessary to create a new, disruptive "solution" where one already exists. But the university administration is wedded to a top-down philosophy that seeks to make the university into a single, large system under their control that tends toward the lowest common educational denominator in order to achieve "efficiency," "cost-savings," etc.
A better answer is to improve the current systems to allow students to choose between a "lowest common denominator" CUNY degree and the quality campus degree of their choice. Let the university administration first demonstrate that they can make the CUNY B.A. a quality program to serve the needs of ALL students desiring a university-wide degree program before trying to transform the entire university into one, large CUNY B.A.
Dear "former CUNY employee"
You are definitely a former employee as release time and sabbaticals are almost impossible right now, especially at the community college level. In CUNY, the community colleges have the same research and publication requirements of a 4 year CUNY school for tenure and promotion, yet our teaching load is much higher. What Pathways is proposing is a pay cut as we will be teaching 5 or 6 classes to make our contractutal hours. Let's not even go into reduced time for a high-risk student population. No one says the transfer system works but to use it to intimidate and fire people is not a great way to go. Also, much of the resistance to community college courses comes from the 4 year schools who believe the cc's should only be teaching remedial and basics so they can teach the "real" courses.
the problem with CUNY is that the tenured professors DO NOT TEACH CLASSES. they don't care about the students...they let adjuncts do all the work and then refuse to allow reciprocal agreements in transferring credits from a community college to a senior college, or even between two colleges at the same level. CUNY pits its schools against each other, operating under a policy of competition. professors are applauded when research grants come in, which they use to "buy themselves out" of teaching classes, leaving all the real work at the colleges to be done by adjunct professors who are struggling to make ends meet. nowhere in the mix does the need of the STUDENT come into play. pathways is a great idea on paper and in theory, but the academic departments block ANY AND ALL PROGRESS in the CUNY system at all costs (or, rather, at any cost, usually to the student).
Thousands of CUNY faculty have voted against Pathways for good reason. While better transferability is a real issue that must be addresse, dumming down the curriculum is not the answer. A CUNY degree needs to be worth as much as any private university's. Removing labs, language requirements and English courses is not the way to do it,
The BOT did not come up with this themselves. The Lumina Foundation (http://www.luminafoundation.org/) is financing this initiative in CUNY. Aside from standardizing curricula, this organization is also behind such positions as abolishing the credit hour as it is no measure of "what students learn." Welcome to high school-type corporatized standardization at the college level. Good bye critical thinking. hello assessment.
Community college courses should not be any different from its senior cousins, the first two years in the same university system, in this case CUNY, especially if it's in the same major.
I had this problem, with my math courses when I tried to transfer from BMMC to Baruch. CUNY needs to reconcile its courses.
One issue brought up briefly that I find COMPLETELY UNFAIR. If you go to school part-time you don't get the same financial aid benefits. That is ridiculous because a lot of ppl who work full time and go to CUNY part time - do so because they have other bills to pay (sometimes children)... it's not because they work and afford to go to college at the same time. The state and federal governments need to consider that!
I want to insist that people realize that just because the central administration says that faculty have been involved with this process, it has been so reluctantly. We have constantly voted as a department on resolutions that denounced their insistence on taking over curricular matters and completely dismissed our views and expertise. They were vague about what it would look like and then kept changing their minds. The transfer issue is important, but there is no reason for them to not allow a 3 credit/4 contact hours for something as vital for community college students who need all the support they could get. I still have not heard any reason why they could not allow it.
Administrative response by Vice President Karen Steele at Queensborough Community College to negotiation over the implementation of curriculum changes wrought by Pathways has been simple and clear: threaten faculty employment aggressively if the changes are voted down and willfully neglect their student body. It's been jaw-dropping to witness (from the sidelines), and makes CUNY, otherwise an inspiring example of commitment to higher education for all, look really, really bad. I hope it doesn't do long-term damage. What a great loss that would be.
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