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The perils of specialization

Wednesday, Jan 30, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Mayor Emanuel did to City Colleges what former Gov. Rauner wanted to do to public universities

Under Emanuel’s [2011] “Reinvention” plan, each City College would become a “center of excellence” in a particular field.

Enrollment is down 32 percent.

* As the article notes, there are likely several reasons for this enrollment drop, but here’s one

When programs that used to be down the block were moved across the city, professors said many students couldn’t follow them. […]

He points to enrollment in Malcolm X’s nursing program as proof. Nursing enrollment dropped 70 percent between 2010 and 2018, from 1,218 to 376 students. Overall, enrollment dropped by 29 percent at Malcolm X, despite a new $250 million campus.

At Truman College, chemistry professor Mohamed El-Maazawi remembers a thriving nursing program. But since it moved to Malcolm X his classes have gotten smaller. Instead of following the nursing program to the Near West Side, some students told him they’ve stopped going. Some have transferred to more expensive four-year schools. He said Reinvention made City Colleges forget who community colleges are supposed to serve.

       

28 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 11:14 am:

    Excellent point. They’re still supposed to be a geographic element within the community college model.


  2. - G'Kar - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 11:15 am:

    Enrollment at community colleges are down across the state. That being said, there were those of us in higher education back in 2011 who said then that the City Colleges’ plan would lead to this.

    One problem is that all too often people at the higher levels, city who and state, who make decisions about higher education have no clue what they are doing. Don’t get me started on the impact of all the new “dual credit” acts that have been passed recently.


  3. - G'Kar - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 11:16 am:

    Ooops, s/b Enrollments . . . are down . . .


  4. - thunderspirit - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 11:23 am:

    We witnessed this first-hand.

    Our college-age children opted not to follow their programs across the city and later, as enrollments dropped, my wife’s position at the district office helping veterans at every campus was one of around 300 eliminated when CCC reversed course back toward decentralization in 2016.


  5. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 11:30 am:

    The drop in nursing enrollment is just crazy. Graduates are virtually assured of good paying jobs. If the change costs 500 nursing graduates, then it needs to be reversed.


  6. - Chicagonk - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 11:33 am:

    Honestly this is more of a sign of a strong economy than anything else. Not as many people out of work means less people deciding to go back to school to switch careers.


  7. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 11:36 am:

    Rahm and lots of “leaders” have cars and drivers they need the real world experience especially on a day like this. I guess they just didn’t get the definition of community


  8. - Sonny - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 11:38 am:

    I thought they had a MacArthur genius running the show over there.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 11:39 am:

    The locality was the selling point to JuCos. You can live at home and close by get your associates and prepare, if desired, to further your education elsewhere.

    Closing or specializing these schools hampers the access to higher ed, it doesn’t make it better.

    There needs to be a reset, and not one where specialization and elimination are the fulcrums


  10. - revvedup - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 11:45 am:

    Sounds like the City Colleges forgot the demographics of who they serve (i.e. non-car owning, public-transit dependent students who can’t just run across town to their center of excellence).


  11. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 11:48 am:

    Chicago is a large area. Someone from the North side might not be able to go to Daley College for robotics.


  12. - JJJJJJJJJJJ - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 11:49 am:

    Good story, but did they mention at all whether the results for people in the new specialized programs are better than before?

    Presumably it’s possible that decreasing enrollment, but increasing results is a positive outcome. Surely enrollment isn’t the only factor.


  13. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 12:06 pm:

    ==The drop in nursing enrollment is just crazy. Graduates are virtually assured of good paying jobs. If the change costs 500 nursing graduates, then it needs to be reversed.==

    I’m scratching my head over this one too. Malcolm X College is centrally located and off the blue line. Maybe they don’t offer enough convenient times? Maybe people don’t know what it offers? I do know that community college has gotten quite expensive compared to fifteen years ago. Maybe four year college are competitive now that community colleges are so expensive.


  14. - Marrs96 - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 12:15 pm:

    The pass rate for the RN exam have historically been much, much lower at MX than at Truman so while the location of MX seems much better (closer to downtown (& nearly on top of the UIC/Rush/Cook County Medical campus) the couldn’t get past the reputation and the ill-will generated by the nursing program consolidation (which also crushed a thriving LPN program at the Wright College - Humboldt Park.)


  15. - Peters Piece - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 12:29 pm:

    OTOH. I have taken the full tour of the Malcolm X new campus / programs and it is quite impressive. I doubt we could afford to duplicate the laboratories, the practical scenario rooms (including a paramedic vehicle) and robotic simulators across multiple campuses. I recommend the programs there all the time. If you are in a position to advise those looking for a practical professional entry into health care this is it. And as another commentator points out right on the Blue line and across the expressway from many major health care employers.


  16. - CCC - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 12:32 pm:

    What it fails to mention is that students are graduating and transferring to 4-yrs in record numbers & top companies in Chicago are actually hiring CCC grads for the first time ever.


  17. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 12:35 pm:

    –What it fails to mention is that students are graduating and transferring to 4-yrs in record numbers & top companies in Chicago are actually hiring CCC grads for the first time ever.–

    It would be swell if you would post links when you claim “record numbers” and “first time ever.”


  18. - Anon Y - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 12:53 pm:

    A lot of community college students are older, parents or working. It is simply too hard to travel an hour away with a lot of responsibility.


  19. - Blue Dog Dem - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 1:13 pm:

    Said before, but here goes. Convert something to a three year degree. Alla, Purdue. Technical. But degreed.


  20. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 1:33 pm:

    Enrollment is down everywhere. But setting that aside, CCC has one big problem that many others do not - they require all their staff to be Chicago residents. I live blocks away from Chicago and was disqualified from a position I would have taken, even at a major pay loss. Couple this with the aspect that adjunct faculty are paid ridiculously low amounts thereby lowering the quality of teaching; the desire to maintain enrollment and reduce drop rates which has the impact of lowering the grading curve and effective education; reduced admissions requirements to attract students; higher fees and now this regionalization - no wonder it’s down.


  21. - Pekin Pete - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 1:33 pm:

    Here is how to have a strong, lasting educational policy:

    Listen to what Rahm Emanuel proposes and do the opposite.


  22. - Practical Politics - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 1:33 pm:

    Leadership at the City Colleges ran amok under the former Chancellor Cheryl Hyman, a political hire with no real qualifications to lead a higher ed institution.

    This story is old news to those who followed Carol Marin’s reporting on the City Colleges.


  23. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 1:45 pm:

    Pete, agrees, Rahm should have closed 100 CPS schools, not 50.


  24. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    Most of the decline is likely due to Chicago losing African Americans at an alarming rate. African Americans make up the vast majority of the students of the CCC.


  25. - Practical Politics - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    @revvedup:

    The costly City Colleges Shuttle Bus program proved to be a resounding flop too. It was meant to ease the lengthy commutes for students. Most of the shuttles were empty, so they put advertisements on the buses to cover the windows.


  26. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 1:59 pm:

    No. 27.7% black. Hispanics of all races are almost half. http://www.ccc.edu/Pages/StatisticalDigest.htm


  27. - Larry - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 4:45 pm:

    =It would be swell if you would post link=

    http://www.aoncampus.com/apprenticeships

    Not sure what was referenced in the comment above related to ‘first time ever’.

    However, the Link identifies AON’s hiring program for those who may have less than a Bachelor’s Degree, working in partnerships w the area community colleges. CAT/Deer Indicated similar programs in process.
    According to an AON executive’s 2018 presentation, AON is now hiring for positions which they realized do not require a four year degree which is change of past practice.


  28. - Flyer - Wednesday, Jan 30, 19 @ 5:26 pm:

    On the other hand, all city colleges can’t be all things for all students


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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