Faculty take a stand on issue of course rigor
- Two professors at the Community College of Aurora in Colorado have drawn attention for controversial responses to the school's Guaranteed Transfer Pathways program, which allows students earning a C- or better in courses to transfer the credits into four-year institutions.
- Former philosophy professor Nathaniel Bork was fired for what he alleges was his challenge of the school's administering of the program, which called for reductions of course content and out-of-classroom assignments, and an increase in tutoring support and guaranteed pass rates along racial lines.
- Bork says that standards, not access, are what matters in higher education. "As it turns out, people really like the success that comes with hard work in an environment where it isn't guaranteed. As much as I have any say in the matter, I intend to keep college that way," he told Inside Higher Ed.
While colleges are on the hook for making sure students are able to complete and earn jobs, there is also the growing sentiment among employers that graduates are not prepared to handle real world work scenarios and problem solving as a result of under-training in school.
These stories show the dramatic disparity between the effort to graduate students and to make them ready for workforce entry. Leaders must understand the nuances between the two efforts, and to create partnerships which help in developing student outcomes while maintaining standards of excellence and performance in the classroom. Part of the conversation begins with reimagining general education and core requirements, and aligning them with professional and theoretical training according to major.