Sneak Peek: College of the Future?

Higher Education

Higher Education

With a 4X higher graduation rate than other similar colleges, Arizona’s Rio Salado College provides a glimpse into some of the innovations that are likely to transform US colleges in the future:

There are 600 courses that start on almost any Monday of the year, for instance — not just according to a rigid academic calendar of two semesters. There’s an automated program that can predict, by the eighth day of a course, how well a student will do, triggering extra help if necessary — and a separate alert system that intervenes when faculty raise red flags, or a student fails to log into an online course, or makes an above-average number of calls to the technology help desk.

There are advisers who reach out to students at various stages and see how they’re doing, whether they ask for this or not. And there’s a tracking system that makes transferring to another community college or a four-year university much, much easier than the frustrating experience it is in other states and districts.

… The online courses at Rio Salado are offered to students in 46 other states, at nearly triple the price. Like community colleges in North Carolina, Ohio and Texas, the district has opened a freestanding corporate college to provide training services to employers — clients include Marriott, U.S. Airways and Walgreens — generating more than $4 million a year for itself, with hopes for much more. __ Joanne Jacobs

Rio Salado College receives only 1% of its budget from the state of Arizona — making up the deficit through its corporate training services to Marriott, US Airways, and Walgreens, with more corporate subscribers to come.

Corporate colleges cater to the training needs of companies, including recent hires and workers who need to learn new skills. Programs are typically non-credit and customized based on the employer’s needs. They can be online or in person, and taught either on a college campus or taken directly to a company. Some of the most common programs are in management training, English as a second language, information technology, advanced manufacturing and welding.

The training centers can be lucrative, with companies typically footing the bill rather than students.

… Maricopa’s new corporate college is a separate, freestanding entity. It currently draws on faculty members and curriculums from Maricopa’s other campuses. The college is not accredited, because it does not offer credit-bearing courses. However, if a company is interested in college credits for its employees, Maricopa can route those students to their other colleges. __ Highered

US schools are mired in political correctness, and too often substitute ideological indoctrination in place of a useful education. Can such corrupted educational systems be saved? Only through radical transformation can such politically corrupted entities be made into institutions that are useful to students and communities.

When just the thought of going to a traditional school sends students into paroxysms of “stress-induced puking,” one must wonder whether we should designate these corrupt organisations as punitive “penal colonies” rather than educational institutions.

Young minds can be warped for life by these travesties — and that applies not only to K-12, but also to colleges and universities at the highest levels.

Whatever colleges of the future are to look like, if they do not undergo radical transformation away from current slavish indoctrination and political corruption, we are likely to see chaotic turmoil at increasing levels spilling out from campuses into communities at large.


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