Community colleges have the arduous task of remediating the long-term, and often times inter-generational educational inequities derived from both public and parochial K-12 school systems. These educational institutions tend to not turn away students based on standardized testing (i.e. SAT, ACT, etc.), but instead accept most with the intention of ameliorating learning gaps. In contrast private universities, such as Columbia University rely on their substantially lower acceptance rates in order to reinforce images of prestige by selecting already high academic performers that will enhance institutional rankings via increased graduation rates. According to US News (2021) Top 100 -lowest acceptance rates for 2019, Columbia’s 5% acceptance rate was second in the nation next to Stanford University. These two different approaches both have their respective benefits and drawbacks. The adoption of different academic measures has also been discussed in both Fabricant and Davidson’s pieces. A push – pull dynamic between institutional management and faculty seems to be common across higher-ed campuses when addressing student related items, such as curriculum development and transfer policies.
Community colleges claim to not “measure their success in supposedly objective measures of “excellence” that typical four-year institutions rely on. I question this proposed altruistic principle that Davidson claims to guide community colleges in only being concerned with “the overall increase of a student’s greater knowledge.” Are these the same set of guiding principles that led CUNY’s own 12% community college graduation rates of the 1990’s and early 2000’s? The rates were so low that the creation of ASAP was necessary in order to address this alarming issue. Even CUNY relies on its own community colleges to serve as feeders into their more prestigious senior colleges. Abductive reasoning leads one to believe that financial factors associated with low graduation rates led to investments in academic research meant to help retain community college students.
Neo-liberal ideologies and principles have become so pervasively entrenched in fields such as healthcare, criminal justice and education that it often goes overlooked within everyday interactions. The over reliance of adjunct faculty and technology, and the commodification of knowledge are all deeply rooted within academia. Fabricant and Bier go on to further explain as to how non-student-oriented business models often clash with faculty governance concerning quality. Unfortunately, there’s no limit in sight as to how low austerity measures can go when using neo-liberal paradigms. The adoption of “bots” to replace financial aid and bursar counselors are an example of the stage of austerity. I’d like to re-imagine a community college graduation ceremony that doesn’t state the intended university that students have committed to transferring too next, but instead emphasizes all of the achieved knowledge and skills.
- How viable are ASAP’s at CUNY’s senior colleges or external Universities?
- Can institutional leaders be both student and business orientated?