To start our conversation on the strategic theme of Learner Pathways, Brenda Walton has written the following post. Thank you Brenda!
Click "Read more" to see the entire post, then please add to the discussion with your own comment. New to blogging? See the Dec. 22 post: "How to post a comment".
Take it away, Brenda. --Scott
Learner Pathways - from Brenda Walton, Associate Registrar
To what extent should Douglas College strengthen its relationships with universities to enhance our University Transfer program? How can we make internal and external transfer pathways as open and clear as possible?
There are three challenges that come to mind immediately. We need to improve the transfer process for some of our programs. We need to consider other institutional partners. And we need to review our programs to capitalize on credential laddering.
Many of our programs have seamless transfer to third year for degree programs, however, some of our programs do not and therefore result in students having to take additional course work or bridging courses. They now see that they have to spend more money and time which may result in them not completing a credential as per a specific timeline.
Unfortunately, when there are difficulties, all of our programs tend to get tarred by the same brush. Some of our program articulation agreements need to be reviewed and programs may need some redevelopment to specifically improve the transfer process.
I believe we need to start looking for other partners such as Royal Roads – e.g., their BA in Professional Communication comes to mind. Thompson Rivers University, especially their Open Learning Division, is another option we should be targeting.
With more of our students opting to take courses part-time, it's clear that many of them are working and going to school. Online course work may be enticing to a segment of our student population now, in addition to allowing them a broader range of degree options.
Douglas has little to offer our students with respect to UBC articulation agreements yet we offer a good variety of sciences, health sciences, computer sciences and sport sciences. Perhaps something in one of these disciplines would be appropriate now.
Finally, we have many students coming to us from BCIT and many of our students going to BCIT. In addition to looking at BCIT for partnerships, since we both are heavy into Business and Health Sciences, I suggest our institutions look at a reciprocity agreement allowing DC employees to take a limited number of BCIT courses for free and vice versa. Since both institutions offer quite different credentials, and since this as a benefit in both Support Staff Collective Agreements, this type of reciprocity may be beneficial to both institutions provided appropriate restrictions are included in an agreement.
We need to look at our programs and develop or redevelop programs that ladder from one credential to another. Allowing the student to step out of a program at a lower credential level (e.g., certificate level) with an option to step back in, giving the student the opportunity to leave with a viable credential that would assist them in the job market, but also having the knowledge that they can come back and continue their education, working on a higher level credential, without having to repeat, duplicate, or take bridging courses.
Taking this a step further, I would like to see us extend this laddering concept to the program pre-entry level. If a student does not meet admission requirements, we need to look at options that would allow us to admit a student to a “pre-entry” program that will allow the student to do some upgrading concurrently while “testing the waters” of college life and the environment to gauge whether this is what they really want. We need to guarantee, provided the student is successful at the pre-entry level, continuation to the next credential level.
Now what do you think? Please use the comment feature to share your thoughts.