• Confessions of a Community College Dean

    In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.


Friday Fragments

Dateable alumni, articulation, reverse transfer and a new blogger.

October 23, 2014

My brother sent me this.  Apparently, Williams College -- my undergrad alma mater -- made the list of the top ten colleges producing the most dateable alumni.  Rutgers University -- my graduate alma mater -- made the list of top ten colleges producing the least dateable alumni.  If statistics are to be believed, my stock dropped enormously when I went to grad school.

To which I say, pshaw.  I met TW in New Brunswick.  It’s all about disaggregation, people.


I’m happy to report that HCC signed an articulation agreement with the Commonwealth Honors Program at UMass/Amherst.  Now our Honors students are guaranteed admission into the CHC, assuming certain GPA and course selection requirements have been met.  Special thanks to Provost Katherine Newman, of whom I’ve been a fan ever since reading No Shame in My Game.

Honors programs at community colleges and public universities often don’t get the attention they deserve.  The political discourse around community colleges is so strongly linked to workforce development, remediation, and underdog stories that you rarely hear about the many students here who are as strong academically as their counterparts at better-known places.  To its credit, UMass saw HCC’s strength, and made a move to capture more of our high achievers.  For a student with more talent than money, a strong honors track from a community college to a public university can be an excellent choice. 


Lumina’s new clearinghouse project for reverse transfer strikes me as promising. 

It’s planning to put together a national system to allow students who have transferred from community colleges before finishing degrees to reverse-transfer credits and get Associate’s degrees while pursuing Bachelor’s.  That way, if life intervenes and the student has to stop out, s/he leaves with something to show for it.  From the community college’s perspective, it offers the prospect of giving cc’s the credit they deserve, but currently don’t receive, for launching students on academic pathways.

Some states have done some work on systems like these, but Lumina has the resources to capture students who cross state lines.  In a geographically small state like mine, that matters.  And it’s offering to provide the data for free, which means we could actually use it.

Presumably, a clearinghouse like that would allow for the kinds of Big Data studies that would show, for example, that cc-to-four-year transfers are only a fraction of the transfer picture.  We actually get a surprising number of cc-to-cc transfers, as well as a significant number of four-year-to-two-year transfers.  I assume that the clearinghouse would address those, too. 

And that’s my real institutional hope.  So many policy decisions are made on the basis of unexamined assumptions; it would be lovely to base more of them on actual facts.  To the extent that Lumina’s project makes that easier, I’m happy to welcome it.


The Girl has started a blog.  I’m beaming with nerdy-dad pride.

Reader, consider yourself warned.  There’s another one!  Early indications suggest that hers will focus less on educational administration, and more on fluffy animals.  No word yet on whether I’ll appear as The Dad, but I’m hoping...


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