Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Case Against Stevens-Henager College

Late in the year last year, a guest speaker from Stevens-Henager College came in to talk to my Concurrent Enrollment students about career preparation. She used my classroom projector to show samples of resumés and cover letters, and led discussions on interview skills also. The only part of this part of her talk that was out of date was her recommendation to include a career objective, a detail that's outdated. 

However, she started her presentation talking about Stevens-Henegar College itself, which I really did not appreciate, partly because I did not want her espousing a particular college to a captive audience. And then I noticed her use use of logical fallacies.

She mentioned that the average time to complete an Associates is four years, but at her school it takes 20 months. What she didn't mention that for those whom it takes four years, it's often because they're also working, or raising a family, etc., whereas she said nothing about those who might take breaks at her college. The audience is different; few schools offer Associate degrees (mostly community colleges, which accepts a wider range of students whose life situations, because they are older, may be more complicated than for younger students ). Not only that, but students often take more classes than are actually required for graduation (I did, as an undergrad: I didn't look at my classes that transferred from the college where I earned my associates to the college where I'd later earn by bachelor's degree).

The speaker did not mention that one of the reasons that the average degree completion time is so short is that students did not take any breaks; students did not have time off between semesters. To some of my classes did the speaker mention that students do not take as many general education classes as they do at Stevens-Henegar College, but she disparaged taking classes like bowling because, as her argument went, "When will you ever use or need these classes?" This is partly true; if a student takes a particular class, she may never use that information ever again, but there are multiple reasons for taking these classes:
  • You may, in fact, wind up using something you learned from these classes, but you won't know until you take that class, nor will you necessarily know what you will need to know right away.
  • You may discover an aptitude for the subject, or you may discover that you thought you had an aptitude but not to the extent you thought. (I discovered this when I briefly minored in physical anthropology, a subject I continue to find fascinating, but which, after barely passing the introductory class, I dropped.)
  • You may actually enjoy the class.
In other words, not everything will have a directly professional or personal application, but there might be elements that are, in fact, professionally or personally relevant. You don't need to have a degree in music performance to have this be an important part of your life.

A few students had questions about transfer credits; Stevens-Henegar College never accepts transfer credits, nor do their credits tend to transfer.

I will not allow representatives from Stevens-Henegar College back into my classroom; I did not appreciate my students being held captive to learn about a college that withheld information. Fortunately, I was able to talk to all my Concurrent Enrollment classes about this, and their excitement about completing a degree in such a short amount of time all but evaporated.

1 comment:

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