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Optimizing Enrollment

Optimizing Enrollment

Columbia College Chicago
on Oct 27, 2014

CONVERSATION CLOSED

Columbia seeks to grow the size and diversity of our undergraduate student body while increasing selectivity. Additional opportunities include providing meaningful programs for adult learners, professionals, international students, transfer students, graduate students, and distance learners. We invite you to join the conversation.

A Subcommittee of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee developed the ten questions that will be posed one at a time in this discussion forum from Oct. 30 to Dec. 8. You can see the members of this Subcommittee listed as moderators for this discussion. They will each periodically assume this role. 

The moderator’s role is to facilitate the discussion by adding relevant information (e.g. data, connections to resources, clarifications), providing some additional deep-dive questions to spur more discussion, and assuring a conversational environment that is consistent with the principles of the Civic Commons platform. 

The moderator is not responsible for summarizing anyone’s comments or making any decisions based on the comments provided. All comments will be collected, aggregated and incorporated into the final strategic plan. 

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Participants (82) See All

What do you think?

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on 2017-07-22T04:54:35+00:00
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Recent Activity

"We are working hard in this period of change to bring a unified Color Scheme to Columbia. If the..."
Columbia College Chicago
on Dec 08, 2014
"This and all the other strategic plan conversations will close tonight at 11:59pm. Conversations..."
Jan Chindlund
on Dec 08, 2014
"Prospective students, their parents, and other influencers are interested in the reputation of a..."
Erin  McCarthy
on Dec 08, 2014
"Our offerings for non-traditional students  should tract what the baby-boomers are interested..."
Erin  McCarthy
on Dec 08, 2014
"Clearly the current trend of declining enrollment puts all kinds of strains on the college, it's..."
Bill Guschwan
on Dec 08, 2014
"I agree with the importance of Passion. It should be supported and promoted. At the same time,..."
Sarah Shaaban
on Dec 08, 2014
"I believe graduate students come into a Master's programs wanting to be more challenged than what..."
Ashton  Byrum
on Dec 07, 2014
"Admission to the college (especially at a school specializing in the Arts) should be a process..."
Ashton  Byrum
on Dec 07, 2014
"I agree with Howard's comments. I am concerned that the college often equates success with..."
Kubilay Uner
on Dec 06, 2014
"I agree wholeheartedly with Peter - while we have to make sure to welcome all types of musical..."
Kubilay Uner
on Dec 06, 2014
"Posted this in the "aligning resources with goals" section, but since this is a direct answer to..."
Laurie Lee Moses
on Dec 05, 2014
"Here are a few thoughts from listening online to the forum, and later reflection--I think that..."
Suzanne McBride
on Dec 05, 2014
"You make a good point, Eric. I'm wondering what other ways you think our leaders should be going..."
Suzanne McBride
on Dec 05, 2014
"I absolutely agree with Stephanie that we need to as an institution decide what we are, then..."
Dana Connell
on Dec 05, 2014
"I believe this has already been stated but certificate programs.  There are opportunities in..."
Katherine Lelek
on Dec 04, 2014
"I agree with Keith. The scholar-athlete-creative mix is not as illusive some think. There are..."
Katherine Lelek
on Dec 04, 2014
"Based on my experiences generally outlined below, I feel that to be competetive with other..."
Mark Klein
on Dec 04, 2014
"Does E-Gaming qualify as Sports? Robert Morris College currently getting much press about its new..."
Kara Leffler
on Dec 04, 2014
"While expanding the degrees we offer would help to increase graduate enrollment at the College,..."
Kara Leffler
on Dec 04, 2014
"If we are talking about enrollment including non-degree seeking students, then we are missing out..."
Columbia College Chicago
on Dec 03, 2014
"Which programs at Columbia would benefit from implementing online education?"
Norman Alexandroff
on Dec 03, 2014
"We should look to build stronger relationships with young creatives while they are still in high..."
Keith Kostecka
on Dec 01, 2014
"In the Department of Science and Mathematics, we are expected to remain professionally active.  I..."
Keith Kostecka
on Dec 01, 2014
"I would like to propose an idea that needs to be explored.  I am referring to having Division III..."
Alex Riepl
on Dec 01, 2014
"If we are hoping to attract more students from abraod, I think we should seriously consider..."
Sheila Brady
on Dec 01, 2014
"I think there is a case to be made for putting some recruitment resources in graduate departments..."
Natasha  EGAN
on Dec 01, 2014
"Continuing education: technical courses, non-degree courses. Film 101, photography 101,..."
Arti Sandhu
on Dec 01, 2014
"Additionally, if research is not part of the mission - then why is it part of the tenure track..."
Arti Sandhu
on Dec 01, 2014
"I agree with some of the points Elizabeth has raised in this thread. I count myself as research..."
Columbia College Chicago
on Nov 30, 2014
"What enrollment opportunities are we currently missing?"
Student Athletic Association
on Dec 08, 2014 - 9:04 pm

We are working hard in this period of change to bring a unified Color Scheme to Columbia. If the branding office moves forward with our colors, students, faculty, alumni, and most importantly enrolling students, will be able to strengthen their connection to each other and to the school. It's important for us to highlight the fact that in a school of incredibly unique individuals, what we have in common is our uniquness as a school. And we feel that Columbia would reach a wider range of students if they felt like a community existed on campus before they got there. We're out there, we're promoting change with our art, and we love what we do! Let's feel that community now, so that the rest of the young artists out there can't help but want to be included in it as well!

 
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Dec 08, 2014 - 7:55 pm

This and all the other strategic plan conversations will close tonight at 11:59pm. Conversations and the comments made within them can still be viewed after this time, but any comments made after 11:59pm will not be included in the final report. Thank you for all your great participation!

 
Jan Chindlund
on Dec 08, 2014 - 6:49 pm

Prospective students, their parents, and other influencers are interested in the reputation of a college they are considering. One way to understand the reputation of the institution is to see who teaches there and the extent of their scholarly and creative work. We have a great resource yet to be tapped fully that can make our faculty work visible to the world: Selected Works (part of Digital Commons, a product of bepress--Berkeley Press). Our College Archives admininsters it. It is open to any full time or part time faculty to post his/her CV, links to examples of work, even small clips and samples of work. We have worked with a few faculty members to demonstrate the power of this tool  http://digitalcommons.colum.edu/sw_gallery.html Please contact us in the Library / College Archives if interested.

 
Erin  McCarthy
on Dec 08, 2014 - 6:05 pm

Clearly the current trend of declining enrollment puts all kinds of strains on the college, it's faculty, staff and administration, and, I think, impacts all of the questions being considered on the commons. We, as a community, have to prioritze the many challenges before us and implement those that do not require addtional resources and agree to the distribution of existing resources to those priorities.

 
Laurie Lee Moses
on Dec 05, 2014 - 5:44 pm

Here are a few thoughts from listening online to the forum, and later reflection--I think that "Demanding Excellence" is a problematic slogan, though it may have value as an organizing and guiding thought. In my opinion, navigating the crueler, colder world we live in now (vs. decades ago) requires MORE commitment to following one's passions rather than less. The things that make our hearts sing are telling us where we can most contribute to the world, how we can and should do that, what our calling truly is—our passions direct us to where we can absolutely excel! So excellence comes THROUGH following passion, being aware of and building on our individual passions and talents, not approaching education from outside of ourselves in some sort of dull accumulation of skills that we are told we need to have in "today's economy" or whatever catchphrase is current at the time. 

 

I don't think that's what was meant at the moment, but I’m afraid this is what implementation of such a slogan often devolves into. We need to be wary of letting that fear-based, ill-considered “practicality” or a bending-to-pressure idea about "rigor" steer students away from finding out how they personally can do their best work, finding their own arena of excellence. In this era of standardized over-testing, perhaps Columbia's emphasis on other values could be seen as refreshing, and individually empowering as well.

 

Responses(1)

Bill Guschwan
on Dec 08, 2014

I agree with the importance of Passion. It should be supported and promoted. At the same time, awareness of economic necessities is not in opposition of your passion. By putting economic demands in conversation with a student's passion, a focus for "excellence" is possible. I support Jim Collins' notion of Hedgehog, which is 1/3 passion, 1/3 economic and 1/3 talent. Self awareness of your talent is important for a life well lived and balancing that with passion and economic realities is a sort of Benjamin Franklin type of balanced way. Long story short, passion is not exclusive with economic skills.

 
Expand This Thread
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Dec 03, 2014 - 6:50 pm

Which programs at Columbia would benefit from implementing online education?

 

Responses(1)

Katherine Lelek
on Dec 04, 2014

Based on my experiences generally outlined below, I feel that to be competetive with other institutions, the following general areas of study at Columbia would benefit from implementing online education:

Complete undergraduate degrees in:

Arts Management/Business and Entreprenuership, Advertising, Graphic Design, Game Design, Photography

> The means that the LAS core classes and a variety of electives that students would be required to complete these degrees fully online are included. Thus, this would make many LAS core classes and select electives available to all students at the college. This would give what we consider formally fully on-ground undergraduate and transfers students the option to complete some of their degree online. These courses could be adopted to meet the needs of online certificate programs or classes for non-degree seeking students.

Complete graduate degrees in:

Arts Management, Graphic Design, Photography

Partial offerings for:

Creative Writing 

>>>

I am a recepient of a graduate degree that had the option of online coursework. I am also the former Employment Coordinator at the Portfolio Center that worked closely with students trying to juggle school, work, internships/volunteer work, and personal lives - meaning that I have an understanding of just how valuable it would be to have the option to complete some coursework online.

I now work in the Office of Admissions, and as I said at the optimizing enrollment session, recruiting becomes much easier with all market segments - pre-college, undergraduate, transfer, certificate, non-degree seeking, and graduate - when you offer some full programs and courses online. This option speaks to distance learners, individuals at various levels of their professional careers, advanced high school students that can take classes during high school at CCC, and our traditional targets of freshman, transfer, and graduate students.

Finally, I have experience recruiting all market segments (the ones I mentioned above) to online programs related to the arts for another institution. This means i know a lot about that particular school, but I am also familiar with some of the competition in online learning and understand general pros and cons.

I know that we have some online classes already, but we can do better. I also openly admit I don't know all these programs inside and out - and realize that it may not be as easy as it seems to create a hybrid class.

This is a great place to start the conversation - and I look forward to the new direction we are heading!

 

 

 
Expand This Thread
Keith Kostecka
on Dec 01, 2014 - 4:32 pm

I would like to propose an idea that needs to be explored.  I am referring to having Division III athletics for men and women at our school in the sports of soccer, basketball and volleyball.  If we as an institution really want to compete with our neighbors, why not look into such a venture?  The sports I note would cost little and would attract some students to our school who still want to play a sport alongside getting an education in an arts or communications field.

I say this from my own experience as a former Division III soccer player.  I also was, i think, the first soccer coach of the Renegades a few years back.

I think that the argument that we are an arts school is ridiculous and we need to move into the 21st century and realize that a fair number of our students would "jump" at such a chance to continue to play the sport they love.

 

Responses(2)

Mark Klein
on Dec 04, 2014

Does E-Gaming qualify as Sports? Robert Morris College currently getting much press about its new jaunt into competitive electronic games. 

 
Katherine Lelek
on Dec 04, 2014

I agree with Keith. The scholar-athlete-creative mix is not as illusive some think. There are many benefits to being an athlete during a college experience and it would only help recruitment efforts not hurt them.

Mark is on to something, too! E-gaming is rising in popularity and would compliment a student with interests in interactive arts and media as well as speak to the prospective students that love video games.

 
Expand This Thread
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Nov 30, 2014 - 8:57 pm

What enrollment opportunities are we currently missing?

 

Responses(4)

Natasha  EGAN
on Dec 01, 2014

Continuing education: technical courses, non-degree courses. Film 101, photography 101, Photoshop, Final Cut. Summer courses for adults.  

 
Sheila Brady
on Dec 01, 2014

I think there is a case to be made for putting some recruitment resources in graduate departments that don’t have numerous applicants. There is an intimacy and program knowledge there that is unique, and contact with interested applicants can be much more personal and time efficient. There may also be opportunities through department contacts for formal or informal outreach to prospective students. Graduate students are interested in a particular area of study. Why not put them in touch with the department early on so they get the “flavor” of the program?

 

This could be done by designating outreach as part of a staff person’s responsibilities or giving release time to a faculty member. If this isn’t feasible, perhaps using a graduate assistant or graduate work-study student from the department would work. The graduate office’s student ambassadors has been a fine strategy. Having an enthusiastic outreach person in the department would carry it a step further.

 
Norman Alexandroff
on Dec 03, 2014

We should look to build stronger relationships with young creatives while they are still in high school and middle school by restructuring and rebranding the High School Summer Institute to offer more concentrated learning in the individual creative disciplines.

 

We currently brand the High School Summer Institute as “an intensive 3-week program for creative high school students who have completed their sophomore, junior, or senior year of study and who want to immerse themselves in the visual, media, and communication arts. “

 

If you are a young creative type who dreams of producing music, films, dance, novels, etc., is a “high school summer institute” really going to fire your imagination, or does it sound like summer school? Wouldn’t you much rather go to the Columbia College Rock ‘n Roll Boot Camp, or the Columbia College Dance Boot Camp, Graphic Design Boot Camp, or Film Boot Camp, or Game Design Boot Camp?

 

While my son was still in sixth grade, he knew absolutely that he wanted to be a professional musician some day. The problem was there were plenty of rock ‘n roll camps out there, but they appeared to be run by people with almost no background in education. Since there was not to be a single college in the country offering an intensive summer program in rock music, this seemed to present a great opportunity for Columbia College.

 

The chair of the Music Department loved the idea, particularly since they already had an existing partnership with a pop academy in Germany. Moreover, we already had a working model in Fernando Jones Blues Camp at Columbia College that has since spread to ten different cities around the world. He assigned a senior faculty member to work with me on a feasibility study, and we came back with a preliminary study that showed it clearly offered a revenue stream for the college ($30,000 profit the first year). It also provided an opportunity to fill 250 beds over the summer as well, and also supported recruitment strategies.

 

However, before we had a chance to move the idea forward, the dean who oversaw the music department at the time told the chair of the music department not to pursue the idea any further because it wasn’t part of the school’s long-term strategic plan. In the seven years since the idea of a rock camp was kiboshed, schools of rock have opened all over the country. However, none appear to be directly affiliated with a college or university.

 

My daughter, on the other hand, has plenty of debate camps to choose from that carry to distinct brand of each college. She spent two weeks at the University of Indiana Debate Camp last summer, and fell in love with the Bloomington campus.

 

So the question is, can Columbia College develop camps in individual creative professions that offer distinctive brands in the marketplace as the best place for young creatives to study film, TV, drama, dance, jazz, rock, dance, game design, etc.? Will building these relationships with young creatives support recruitment efforts?

 

It is also worth noting that Columbia College faculty member Fernando Jones has built blues camps in cities around the country and in Europe. Most of these camps are held at high schools with focused arts curriculums. Efforts to make Fernando Jones a recruiting ambassador for Columbia College have failed to gain traction.

 

 
Kara Leffler
on Dec 04, 2014

If we are talking about enrollment including non-degree seeking students, then we are missing out on adult learning programs, workshops, graduate certificate programs, and graduate student at large opportunities. In the Graduate Admissions Office, we get inquiries quite frequently from prospectives who would like to take a few graduate level classes in one of our departments, and most of the time we are unable to accomodate them. If we could tailor some of our existing resources to accomodate this type of student, I think it would have a substantial impact on our enrollment, at least at the graduate level.

 
Expand This Thread
Mahalia Jackson Elementary
on Nov 28, 2014 - 10:53 pm

CCAP works with many students from challenging areas of the city that lack the resources for the arts. CCAP helps ignite the arts within these students. How is the college optimizing enrollment by staying in contact with these students and their parents to continue their studies at Columbia College?  Are there unique scholarship opportunities from Columbia College for students who participate in CCAP?

 
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Nov 23, 2014 - 7:52 pm

Should Columbia College invest more in developing a research agenda? If so, how might this impact enrollment?

 

Responses(6)

Peter Saxe
on Nov 24, 2014

Young musicians interested in playing jazz/pop at a professional level need to focus solely on skills that will allow them to succeed in an extremely competetive job market.  Many young players have expressed to me that the current degree structures offered in music make that difficult.  Required LAS courses and other music courses not germane to their goals distract and dilute their focus.  One possible solution is a alternative certificate program.  This program (for serious jazz players) would focus solely on developing high level, professional skills.  It would include private lessons twice a week; theory and ear training focused only on the jazz idiom; an extended improvisation curriculum with classes every semester throughout the program; opportunities for participation in multiple ensembles; etc.  It comes up frequently, that when students 'graduate' and hope to play with jazz legend "XXXXX" that artist will never ask about their degree.  They will only assess the individual's ability to perform at the highest level.  Training that prepares a student for that opportunity would be a unique offering.  While the letters B.A. or B.M. might not follow the students name, the skills to create music at the highest level could be life changing.

 
Elizabeth Davis-Berg
on Nov 24, 2014

This question confuses me.  All faculty are doing active professional development.  But we're not a research institution. 

As a biologist, we don't have the facilities or the infrastructure for me to have a more ambitious research agenda.  Also at least in biology, most research is fueled by students.  So unless Columbia College Chicago drastically changes its mission, I'm not sure how this would work. 

We're not a state school, we're not a research 1, or a research 2 institution.  But we do have actively researching faculty.  We are active in our fields.  If you want more research, then faculty would need to teach less. 

 
Keri Walters
on Nov 28, 2014

Hi Elizabeth,

Thank you for your comments and excellent points about additional resources that would be required. I think this question is exploring the possibility of a more research-focused mission and whether or not it would benefit the College at this time.

 
Arti Sandhu
on Dec 01, 2014

I agree with some of the points Elizabeth has raised in this thread. I count myself as research active faculty but find that while this is of value to my School and department, if I was not research active (like some colleagues) it would not be a concern. I am unsure how the college on the whole values research (and creatively) active faculty as it appears we have the same teaching and administrative loads. Also, funding for these pursuits is managed in many different ways by different administators. If there is discussion to develop Masters programs - then faculty research profiles are a critical component to this. 

 
Arti Sandhu
on Dec 01, 2014

Additionally, if research is not part of the mission - then why is it part of the tenure track process? Also, if it is removed from the tenure track and tenure requirements, then were are automatically demoting the credentials of our faculty. Many will leave if that happens. 

 
Keith Kostecka
on Dec 01, 2014

In the Department of Science and Mathematics, we are expected to remain professionally active.  I wouid enjoy having more facilities/money devoted to such an agenda.

 
Expand This Thread
Keith Kostecka
on Nov 23, 2014 - 5:04 pm

First of all, what do we consider to enrollment at our school?  Can and does this include programs that are adult-oriented or of general public interest (much like Pan Papacosta noted exists at the University of Chicago)?  Could it also include programs that are conducted out in the community such as the Fiction Writing Department ran with their Story Workshop sessions?  Could enrollment also include (and we should strive to include these people) those who want to take as few classes with us but do not want to pursue a degree (such as an amateur prospective film maker or someone who might want to take courses with specific college faculty members?

 

Responses(3)

Elizabeth Davis-Berg
on Nov 24, 2014

Other institutions have programs for specific adult learners.  This one in Chicago gets hundreds of au pairs.  Many of whom fly in for the weekend.  Au Pairs get $500 a year from their host family to help them take classes.  Honestly, I think that fun classes (not american history) that could give them their 45 hours of CEUs or part of that would be awesome.  These could easily be tailored to market to a larger audience than au pairs.  But there are more than 1000 au pairs in the greater chicagoland area and they all need to take classes on their budget.  

 
Keri Walters
on Nov 28, 2014

Hi Keith,

Thanks for your question. Yes, I think the term "enrollment" can encompass all of those areas you mentioned.

 

 
Keri Walters
on Nov 28, 2014

Elizabeth

Many thanks for sharing the National Louis Au Pair program information. That is very innovative!

 
Expand This Thread
Sarah Odishoo
on Nov 22, 2014 - 11:04 am

Why hasn't anyone suggested online classes? I am thinking of using our Cinema Arts & sciences professionals and Television productions to Utube actual classes for free public viewing and draw the viewers into our teaching environment both for experiencing the nature of our pedagogy and to publicize our educational directives. Simultaneously, we can start the process of pooling interested faculty in offering online degrees in appropriate disciplines.

This suggestion is large, I know, but I have been trying to get factions in the school together, but there seems to be few incentives to do so. 

 

 
Paul Teruel
on Nov 21, 2014 - 6:22 pm

Experietial learning opportunies, student orgs, community-based project are ways to grow the size and diverity of our undergraduate student body while also increasing selectivity. These type of programs need support from various parts of Columbia, including the Presidents/Provost office, Chairs, Faculty, Staff, and Students. Experiential opportunities exist both in the commercial and the non-profit fields, and can manifest in various settings: on campus, in the community/industry and in a virtual community. We need to find a way to make them more visible to our entire student body.

At CCAP we specialize in developing long-term partnerships with our faculty, students, non-profit organizations, and Chicagoland Public Schools. By developing reciprocal partnerships in these programs between faculty, college students, arts educators, and k-12 students we are able to create various pathways into our college. These programs result in many beneficial outcomes, one of which forms intuitive relationships/mentorships between our faculty, students, and students in the community. Through these types of student mentorships, middle to high school students are especially able to develop realistic expectations of what it takes to be a Columbia Colleges student. It also assists in demystifying the path to college.

Our annual partnership with ElevArte Community Studio and their Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) programming is a good example of these types of experiential opportunities. ElevArte has two Columbia alumni on full time staff and have had several students attend our college. Below is a link to a short video produced by Frequency TV and a link to see how some of our students are engaged in various CCA programs.

Day Of the Dead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GzSRMj6KXI&feature=youtu.be

Columbia Students with CCAP: Click Here

 

Responses(1)

Katie Collins
on Nov 21, 2014

 

Another example of the type of experiential opportunities Paul mentions is our partnership with Storycatchers Theatre's Teens Together Program. High School students from all over Chicago work alongside Storycatchers Teaching Artists and Graduate students from Columbia’s Creative Writing Department to develop and perform musical theatre scripts based on the personal stories of the student playwrights. This program meets on Columbia’s campus giving students the opportunity to see and experience the college community first hand. Aimee Stahlberg, now Program Director at Storycatcher's theater is an alumni of the Creative Writing department and worked as a teaching artist in the Teens Together program.

Their next performance is on Dec. 13th in Hokin Hall here on campus. For more information: Click Here

 
Expand This Thread
Stephanie Goldberg
on Nov 21, 2014 - 3:27 am

 

Reading the responses, I’m struck by the divergent views of the institution’s mission—some see it to be replicating the workplace; others view Columbia as an art school; still others see Columbia as inculcating the values and interests that are part of a traditional liberal arts education.  The problem, I think, is not in having diverse goals but rather in forcing a unitary concept on the school because it makes branding easier.  I remember hearing President Carter say at an assembly “we’re an arts school—arts is all we do,” and shaking my head in wonder as that description did not fit my department or that of a half dozen that I can think of. The common thread that runs through Columbia is creation and innovation. This is what we need to emphasize and communicate to the public.  We’re not an institution in flux or in crisis; we’re a school in which anything can be questioned and re-invented.  Entrepreneurial and highly motivated students do exceptionally well here for just that reason. They receive encouragement, mentoring and specialized attention and, at the same time, sufficient freedom to explore their individual interests. We need to attract more of these students and, at the same time, find ways to encourage less aggressive students to take charge of their education.  At minimum, I think all of us need to be able to explain what is different and special about Columbia and to communicate this to students.

 

 

Responses(2)

Patricia McNair
on Nov 21, 2014

Stephanie, very thoughtful response here. I do think you are right that we need to remember our roots of innovation and creation. I am in a program right now though, that is being rewarded for scaling back on the innovation, supported by an administration that has said on more than one occasion: "this is what everyone else does."

I came to Columbia decades ago after having been at four other schools. Since I started teaching here, I have taught at four more and led dozens of workshops around the country. I believe in the innovation in the work I do, work I practice with my colleagues, the ones who fostered my development as a teacher and as a writer, encouarged innovation in my work, in the work of my students. Now, though, the phrase "best practice" is used regularly by the less experienced teachers and administrators as a way to cleave to "common practice" and as a way to diminish innovation that has long been at the heart of our past success.

I want Columbia to be different and special. That is why I came here, why I chose to stay here despite offers elsewhere.

I am not certain that real innovation, difference, and specialness are part of the developing plan. If we look to our history, we can find a foundation of innovation. Do we not change? Clearly that is not the right answer. But we don't want to lose what served us well, to destroy it, in order to build something untried and simply new and different. In too many cases over the past years, we have broken what did not need fixing, and now we are -- like our society -- going to throw the broken thing out and buy new without trying to repair a perfectly reworkable thing.

 
Suzanne McBride
on Dec 05, 2014

I absolutely agree with Stephanie that we need to as an institution decide what we are, then communicate that clealy and effectively.

 
Expand This Thread
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Nov 19, 2014 - 6:10 pm

Are there any questions we haven’t asked that you wish we had asked?

 

Responses(2)

Patricia McNair
on Nov 21, 2014

Yes, what is the measure of success for a Columbia College student? What should it look like? I think a student is successful if she learns what she came to learn, whether she graduates on time or not. I don't know about the other programs around the school, but I know it takes more than just four semesters for a student to learn to write well...and yet, the push is for our majors to be fashioned so students (transfers, particularly) can complete them in just two years.

Success should be measured by advancement and accomplishment, not simply by years to graduation.

 
Elizabeth Davis-Berg
on Nov 25, 2014

If we continue expanding our online learning - will we partner with something like ProctorU to help preserve the integrity of our classes?

 
Expand This Thread
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Nov 19, 2014 - 6:10 pm

Other than traditional degrees, what new kinds of educational opportunities should Columbia offer?

 

Responses(9)

Pangratios Papacosta
on Nov 20, 2014

Yes we can offer specific professional Certification.  But we mus also think of serving the larger community who just wish to enrish their education for the sheer joy of knowledge and without the need of a certificate. The University of Chicago offers an exceptional and most successful program of this type. I attended some of these lectures and I was impressed by the interest of those who were attending (mostly retired people) but also by the number of participants. 

We have talented and experienced faculty in disciplines that will draw a crowd. Such a program can stand on its own (it is not very very expensive to run)  PLUS can enhace the friends of Columbia. Our Public Relations will improve and these who attend such programs  can help us indirectly in a number of ways.

 
Patricia McNair
on Nov 21, 2014

Pan, yes, I wholeheartedly agree. I think that the push for degrees and certificates ignores this larger, interested population, and makes the desire to satisfy their curious minds too expensive. I recently attended a conference and a talk about the MOOC (Massive Open Online Classes), and was very intrigues by the potential of such things. I wouldn't have thought so before, but done right, they can offer students an exceptional experience and will indeed bring people inside the brick and mortar learning centers for further professional, educational, artistic development.

I am hard-pressed to encourage returning adult students to pay for Columbia courses as they are and as they are priced. I think we need to make new models for people who are interested in being learners, not just "students."

 

 
Patricia McNair
on Nov 21, 2014

During our Story Week Festival of Writers, we have dozens of returning alumni (and newcomers) who come to take one-time Story Workshop classes, to reengage with or jumpstart their writing. Each one of them asks how they can take more, without the committment to fifteen weeks, being graded, paying thousands of dollars. We are missing the boat if we don't reach out to these adult learners, particularly those who are coming to a time in their lives when they give themselves permission to pursue their passions and interests, those things they may have left behind when they made a career path and/or started families.

 

 
Elizabeth Davis-Berg
on Nov 24, 2014

See my other comment on continuing education credits.

 
Jeff Steele
on Nov 25, 2014

Startup incubation would a great use of existing resources, that could educate and support students wishing to transtition into their own business opportunities.  it also provides an opportunity for the school to be a partner and profit participant in the I.P.

 
Alex Riepl
on Dec 01, 2014

If we are hoping to attract more students from abraod, I think we should seriously consider exploring a summer language program with an arts componant. This will be attractive to degree seeking international students who want to get a jump start on an english language environment, as well as be a nice place for interested students who are yet unsure what they want, but who do know they need to improve their language skills. This could of course be worth credit and can also help students decide what they want to study here. While English language should certainly be a main focus, we could also give a first hand experience of what studying at Columbia will feel like, and that in itself is a draw. Not to mention that downtown Chicago in the summer is inherently attractive.

 
Dana Connell
on Dec 05, 2014

I believe this has already been stated but certificate programs.  There are opportunities in fashion for specific skils in math and analysis as well as pattern making and garment construction that would be appealing to a non-traditional student or a student who isn't able to afford a 4 year degree and needs to work.  Provso West is a HS where their BoE invested in sewing machines to teach sewing skills in fashion - last year we visited 1 class, today we are visiting 3!  Their program is growing.  I'm sure there are other examples of this across campus. 

 
Kubilay Uner
on Dec 06, 2014

Posted this in the "aligning resources with goals" section, but since this is a direct answer to your question, here a repeat: A la carte classes for working professionals, and/or simple certificate programs. I don't think these should be separate from the full-time degree offerings, but rather an opportunity for professionals to take those classes we already offer alongside the full-time students (provided of course they fulfill clearly stated entry requirements.) Aside from generating revenue, this would also integrate working professionals into our day-to-day operations in a very meaningful manner.

 
Erin  McCarthy
on Dec 08, 2014

Our offerings for non-traditional students  should tract what the baby-boomers are interested in--grow with them and we will have a large potential pool for years to come!

 
Expand This Thread
Eric May
on Nov 19, 2014 - 2:03 pm

I’ll respond to a couple of points Patty cited.

 

Collaboration

During my 31 years of teaching at Columbia College, I’ve heard numerous calls from various upper administrations of the need for more collaboration between programs; however, none of those calls ever came with any plans or ideas for structures to support such worthy goals. Without the support from the College (funding, release time for faculty to plan, etc.), program collaboration at Columbia will remain what it is now: a sometimes here, sometimes there sort of thing; instead of something that is a formal part of our academic structure and something we can assure prospective students they will get if they enroll here. 

 

How Decisions Are Made

At President Kim’s inaugural address last December, a board member, speaking before the president’s remarks, warned of the dangers of, “top down leadership that doesn’t work,” and how a strong leader, “draws from the people he [she] leads.”

As we move forward, we should keep such comments at the forefront of our thinking as we figure out how we determine what new structures are developed and how they are put in place. The decision-making culture at Columbia can’t be administrative people coming to decisions on their own, then presenting academic revisions to faculty as marching orders. 

I’m not saying this sort of thing happens everywhere in the College, but it does happen. Faculty has a crucial role in academic decision-making and that role shouldn’t be simply to salute and say, “Aye-aye.”

There’s a lot of wisdom in our faculty, and that wisdom should be respected. And respect means more that just listening politely and then ignoring what faculty say when final decisions are made. The comments people are making through this Civic Commons process is one way for College leadership to draw from the people they lead—but it’s not the only way.

 

Responses(1)

Suzanne McBride
on Dec 05, 2014

You make a good point, Eric. I'm wondering what other ways you think our leaders should be going about this?

 
Expand This Thread
Kathleen Loftus
on Nov 18, 2014 - 7:09 pm

I originally posted this under Diversity, but it applies here as well:

One other category of diversity are the non-traditional learners - those students who never excelled at academics, but are gifted artists, dancers, poets, actors and musicians.  I used to refer those students to Columbia, where many let me know they had finally fond their home, had finally found their voice, were finally understood and finally felt successful.  I believe we must continue to welcome these "right-brained" students with open arms.

Numerous students who are merely more artistically than linguistically or mathematically incluined are labeled as having learning problems, when they are merely learning differences that few colleges are able to embrace like Columbia can. 

At the Int'l LDA Conference at the Hilton on 2/18-22 there will be hundreds of parents in attendance seeking direction for their kids leaving high school whom they know have very special but unregocnized gifts.  There was much parental interest in Columbia when I brought recruiting materials to their Anaheim, CA conference last year.

For many students in Illinois and beyond, knowing that once they get to Columbia they can finally express their true selves has always meant a great deal.

 

Responses(1)

Patricia McNair
on Nov 19, 2014

Yes, Kathleen, that is how Columbia has been--open to students who are nontraditional in so many ways, not the least of which is how they learn. I wonder if we will still have these sorts of students when admissions opportunities are tightened, citing the need to ensure we have 'successful' students. I think we used to consider success differently. Not just graduation rates in five years, retention, high grade point averages. Students who come to learn and do learn--whether they graduate or get high grades, these are the ones I count as successful.

 

 
Expand This Thread
Tristan Brennan
on Nov 17, 2014 - 4:22 am

Optimizing enrollment is a crucially important aspect of achieving the full potential of CCC to manifest success through expression. Our community is one that harbors some of the most talented and intelligent individuals the global community has to offer. I believe the appropriate combatant to the dilemma of decline in enrollment while increasing selectivity is by lowering the cost of tuition. This would encourage more individuals to apply and would give Columbia a larger pool of applicants pick from, giving them more freedom to screen and carefully select applicants based on talent and potential. A more carefully selected group of individuals as freshman would render a higher percentage of degree completion and success after graduation, elevating Columbia’s status as an academic institution and encouraging more people to apply.

 
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Nov 16, 2014 - 8:03 pm

Does Columbia’s relationship with international institutions enhance or diminish the education we deliver? Please explain.

 

Responses(8)

Howard Sandroff
on Nov 17, 2014

Well I won't go as far as saying that facts about Columbia's relationships with international institutions is not widely known, but, I can say that I've never heard it explained or detailed in any venue that I regularly particpate.  Is that the experence with others?  If so, then I am at a loss to respond and this question needs some background and explanation.

 

 
Alex Riepl
on Nov 18, 2014

I would like to echo Howard and say that there is a distinct lack of information around the college about what Columbia is doing internationally. Our international efforts are so disperate and atomized, spread across a host of departments. I work in one of these departments, the office of International Programs, and it is a massive effort to merely maintain knowledge of what is happening on international issues across this campus.

As to the question itself, yes I think Columbia's relationship with international institutions enhances the education we deliver. Though I must strongly emphasize that we need to do a LOT more to get what we should be getting out of these relationships and interactions. Once there, we can and should strengthen our ties and expand the reach of these relationships across the campus.

A start would be to consolidate our international efforts into one office and department. 

We also, as a school, need to think about what the purpose of international education (in all its forms) should be at Columbia. Once we have a purpose, we can create a strategy.

This new office can then work to implement the strategy.

 
Pangratios Papacosta
on Nov 18, 2014

If these programs are properly designed they will be of tremendous value to our students. We must not only encourage trasfer of credit we must also ask our students to reflect (in writing) on their internatioinal experiences. I am sorry that most of our current International programs are in countries of Western culture and traditions. We must establish relationships with English speaking institutions in Africa and India where our students will also experience a different economic and cultural landscape.  That outside the classroom experience in those countries will be of immense value to our students. To some extend while in these countries our students will not only be enriched by a new culture but they will also re-discover and appreciate anew the USA. (by a comparison of cultures and economics.) 

We must also seek partnerships in international institutions with the purpose of faculty and student exchange programs. Such programs will bring the International element to our campus.  In Europe the Bologna agreement (a massive Higher Education program) strives to promote mobility of students across all the European Institutions. We must explore the idea of becoming a participant institution of the Bologna program that deals with students and the Erasmus program that deals with faculty.  

 
Anne-Marie St. Germaine
on Nov 18, 2014

Thanks for the thoughtful input to this question--the idea of sharing specifics College-wide about goals and expectations for our international involvement.   Forgive me, but what is the Erasmus program?

 
Michael Kilinski
on Nov 19, 2014

I appreciate what I've read so far about this question, and I think that there is a lot of potential in having partnerships with international institutions. I agree with Alex that there are quite a number of departments that are involved in this process (including my own), which can make a unified process working for the students' benefit to be difficult.

From the standpoint of what I do, exchange programs are currently problematic. My job is to attempt to find courses that will meet a student's needs. In theory, we should be able to get courses for these students that will be integrated into their major, and be ready for them when they arrive at the foreign college. In practice, this does not always happen, leading to problems with the students meeting requirements and graduating on time, In turn, this leads to angry students and parents who assumed (rightly, in my view) that these programs done through Columbia would lead to useful credit beyond the experience of going overseas.

In the future, this needs to be kept in mind as we formulate more programs. Students ending up with completely different schedules or taking courses taught in a language they may not be familiar with (two situations that have occurred recently) should never happen within a program done through Columbia. Also, I find myself actually trying to choose the courses for the student, and my personal comfort level with this is not high, especially considering that the student may not even get those courses, anyway (leading to more angry students for all of us to deal with). What Alex says about a unified effort with a smaller group of people working together could resolve some of these issues. Also, knowing what's at stake for students needs to be kept in mind when a program here decides that a particular school could be a good fit.

There's a lot more I could say about this, but to sum up, I believe that the relationships we currently have need to be re-evaluated and re-structured, and a framework needs to be in place for any furture agreements, all to be done in the best interest of the student.

 
Fereshteh Toosi
on Nov 19, 2014

Most of the responses so far tend to reference study abroad for students from the States. But since this is the "optimizing enrollment" forum, it's also fair to conclude that this question might also have to do with our recruitment of international students who would start and complete their degrees at Columbia. Our previous president made a point of saying that we needed to recruit international students, particularly in China, because "that's where the money is". These aspirations, though laudably frank, represent the worst kind of corporatization of the academy. I don't know the current administration's take on it, but if there is a sense that recruitment of international students is inevitable, then Columbia better make sure that there is a shared understanding of our intentions beforehand, and that the institution is prepared to support the students once they get here (ie ESL/EFL tutoring, teacher training, orientation workshops, and other customized student support around insurance, visas, cultural programs, etc). 

 
Michael Kilinski
on Nov 19, 2014

I think Fereshteh makes a valid point regarding incoming students. I discussed the exchange programs from a standpoint of current students, although I could make the argument that having international programs is a robust recruiting tool. But I don't work with the students who come here on exchanges, so I'd be interested in hearing more. As far as China goes, my primary experience is in the classroom itself, and the results are mixed. If we are to make a committment to bringing in more international students, then we need to have the infrastructure in place to support them, to make their experiences here fruitful and worthwhile. Support in language and culture is essential, and I'm not sure where we are at with that - but based on my experiences this semester in the classroom, we could probably use some work. Also, wearing my other hat here, I would need to make sure that I can support international transfer students with credit evaluations as well.

 
Alex Riepl
on Nov 19, 2014

I agree with Pangratios that our students who participate in international expereinces need to both reflect on their experiences and share those experiences with the rest of campus when they return. I have heard suggestions of a re-entry class that supports and facilitates this, and I think it would be something worth exploring.

Agree whole-heartedly with Mike on course-selection being a major problem. As things stand most students' home departments have little connection to the programs or schools that their students are going to while abroad. I would like to see a new International Office facilitating that engagement and assisting our departments in that effort.

I would completely support the recruitment of international students to Columbia. I think that this push should go hand-in-hand with increased efforts to expand international education for students while abroad and also here on campus. Chicago is an international city in an increasingly globalized world, we cannot hope to prepare our students for life after college if we preemtively limit them to a world encompased only by the borders of this country.

The Erasmus program is a network of schools which foster exchange and partnerships, it is supported by the European Union. I beleive that it is limited to European students and institutions, but I may be wrong on that. Regardless I know that there are other similiar organizations we could partner with.

 
Expand This Thread
Lynn Levy
on Nov 13, 2014 - 6:09 pm

To optimize enrollment Columbia College Chicago needs to publicize (free advertising!) its majors, programs, and events in our best recruiting markets. For example, I receive calls from dozens of new film and television students that are leaving beautiful, balmy Southern California to study media here at Columbia. As a native Californian myself, there must something very special here at Columbia to give that up! And there is a great deal that is amazing about Columbia. But we can be better and bigger.

While recruiting students at all income levels and in keeping with Columbia's Mission Statement, can we also double our recuitment in affluent markets that love media, communications, and art? Specifically, recruit in these California areas: Palo Alto, Thousand Oaks, Beverly Hills, Silicone Valley, Brentwood, and Napa. Not only will Columbia be a good fit, these students can afford it.

For lower-middle-to-low income students we must build Columbia's endowment to provide these students with numberous scholarships. I could not have afforded college and graduate school if not for merit scholarships and grants.

 

 

 
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Nov 12, 2014 - 7:48 pm

Should our admissions criteria be more rigorous overall and/or by academic major program? If so, in what ways?

 

Responses(3)

Jenn Jones
on Nov 13, 2014

I'm not sure this is a direct answer to the question, but I wanted to share the experience we had at Open House this year.  We (Photography) saw about 125 potential students total and about 30 of them returned in the afternoon for informal portfolio reviews with our faculty.  Many of those 30 students were very anxious about the idea of submitting a portfolio as part of the admission process.  

I know that one train of thought is that we need to ask for portfolios for admissions because our competing institutions do so and students may think we aren't rigorous enough if we do not ask for them.  However, based on this experience at Open House, I am concerned about the applicants who will shy away from applying if they don't have previous experience.  

Perhaps we need to review the language used around these admissions portfolios. Something as simple as changing it from "submitting" to "sharing your portfolio" may help the students without experience feel more comfortable with the process.  

 

 

 

 
Peter Saxe
on Nov 24, 2014

Performance degrees in music pose a unique challenge.  Acquisition of the skills necessary to succeed at a professional level depend to a significant degree on training received prior to enrollment as a college freshman.  An entering freshman with genuine talent who is technically deficient in his instrumental skills is at a significant disadvantage to say the least.  For this individual, an additional pre-freshman year of remedial training, focused solely on technical deficiencies would be a boon to the student...although even that might not be sufficient.  An entering freshman who dreams of a life in music but lacks basic talent or ability should simply not be admitted to a degree track in which he has little real chance of success.  To admit this student and encourage them falsely is unethical.  The newly implemented B.M. program is a step in the right direction but is probably not broad enough to address this issue across the entire prospective student body. The music department at Columbia College must raise its standards for admission across the board.

One way to address the issue of the underprepared music student would be the creation of a pre-college program. Given our onwership/affiliation with Sherwood Music School, it would seem that the opportunity for a "Columbia College Preperatory Program"  at Sherwood is just begging for development.  We could create our own 'feeder academy' for Chicago area residents. Given our mission to provide college level opportunities for underserved populations; why not give them a real chance by preparing them adequately for a meaninful college experience.

 
Kubilay Uner
on Dec 06, 2014

I agree wholeheartedly with Peter - while we have to make sure to welcome all types of musical talent and learning styles, we also have a responsibility to make sure our students have a chance to compete after graduation in a professional environment that is more competitive on a global scale than ever before. In order to achieve this, I believe the individual departments and indeed faculty need to (continue to?) have great latitude re. whom they admit. As far as making sure underprivileged populations aren't left out, again I agree with Peter - that has to happen before the students reach college age, and we should invest in that.

 
Expand This Thread
Lissette Hall
on Nov 11, 2014 - 1:52 pm

Today's conversation about civic engagement makes it seem to me that CCC is still discovering its niche as a university, so its great that this conversation is happening.  The bottom line for improving community engagement is that first we need to improve accessibility to campus engagement.  As a student here, I spend so much time trying to stay ahead of all the weird bits about CCC that make no sense and are clearly from a different time that I don't feel like I have time to do things I really want to do on campus.  

For example, SFS puts holds on students accounts practically monthly if there is any delay with a Student Tuition bill being paid.  I have had to engage with SFS in my time here and fight with the office about scholarship payments that have been received already.  It seems that the SFS rules of payment are in place to prevent students from graduating without paying bills or taking on more bills they can handle without paying the previous ones.  From a student perspective, that system just makes navigating SFS to get to register for classes and work to do well in those classes more difficult.  

The SFS may seem beyond the scope, but it will come into focus.  SFS is one blaring example of a poorly staffed office on campus that is not run efficiently and with which we all have to interact.  Imagine what some of the other student services are like if a basic service like paying a bill cannot run smoothly.

The standards are problematic.  Perhaps provide incentives to Honors Students to work as tutors or peer educators.  The academic supports have not been useful to me despite their best efforts.  After a couple disappointing experiences, it is difficult to make time to try to move through all the services to find the one that works or the one person who is qualified to assist.  

By no means am I saying that there is nothing positive about the CCC experience but it is clear from my time here that if something like paperwork for a simple financial transaction can become stressful and confusing that it makes sense that the other student services are suffering from inefficient processes and are attempting to be maintained on poor foundations.

I don't believe that the college will know what community and city wide partnerships are most useful until it truly defines itself as a college in the city of Chicago.  We are not SAIC, DePaul, U of C, or Loyola.  Instead of trying to be any of those universities who are already fully established and have been for a long time, CCC is willing to build up, but my question is how willing is the CCC community to completely destruct the faulty infrastructure, burn the whole thing down, and, through the Strategic Planning initiative, rise like the proverbial phoenix, as an efficiently and functionally sound academic institution.

I didn't love the phoenix reference, but I figured I should say something "artistic" since that seems to be the current focus.  I don't know that CCC believes it can be arts based and academic.  And it doesn't have to flippant about it like I was here but marrying the arts focus and an environment of true academia would do well for the campus, community, and city.

 

Responses(1)

Karl Regensburg
on Nov 12, 2014

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One thing is for certain. There are changes that MUST be made to the SFS department. Hindered by obfuscated web design, bill payment is already challengin enough for tech savvy members of the 21st century. But what about those in our student body who are not tech savvy? And what about the parents of students? With paperless billing, it is nearly impossible for some parents to adequetly understand the billing at CCC. And when you are putting down as much at $40,000 a year, you absolutely want to understand it. This may be more acceptable if the SFS office ran efficiently; however, this is often not the case. I have found myself down at the SFS office frequently looking to cancel an unsubsidized loan when I had explicitly expressed no desire to accept it. I have had to submit the loan adjustment form multiple times thanks to errors within the office, and even now I am unsure if the matter has truly been resolved. Billing and payment should not be a constant hurdle for students and parents to stumble over each semester and it is in the best interest of CCC to streamline this process for the convenience and happiness of everyone involved.

 
Expand This Thread
Lissette Hall
on Nov 11, 2014 - 12:17 pm

Q2.  In response to the opportunity for students to create their own courses- this is a great idea!  It should also be available as an option in the Honors college because work that is of Honors caliber is not limited to engagement with other Honors students and can be done indepdently.

 

Responses(1)

Bethany Brownholtz
on Nov 12, 2014

Lissette, thanks for all of your feedback.

Your comment about student designed courses inspired me to bring up a couple of points that I think could improve retention and student success. Our department has an annual forum during which we ask MA students what they think the department should change and/or continue doing. This simple gathering has led to changes in the curriculum, and I think shows a student-centered attitude. One result of a forum was in fact a course that students helped develop, which will come to fruition this January. 

Providing the students with opportunities to give feedback outside of course evaluations could give departments insight into how to better satisfy their students. It could also lead to collaborative opportunities, such as special topics course design. 

 
Expand This Thread
Arti Sandhu
on Nov 11, 2014 - 11:43 am

I have been a strong supporter of proposing a graduate degree in our area (Fashion Studies) for a number of years - however as it has taken us many years just to revise our undergraduate programming (still a work in progess) - it has been hard to imagine how we could propose a graduate degree. Especially as the undergraduate degree did/does not prepare students towards appyling for a graduate degree. We hope that the new revisions will improve this situation - but we still do not have adequate research methods courses developed to date. Also, as Bob lists below - Grad programs can be expensive - in terms of faculty resources as well as in some cases speciality teaching resources or facilities (studio spaces etc.). However - they are also an important part of an insitiution's profile - which comes back to attracting undergraduate students as well. Grad programs (in my experience) also ensure faculty who teach and mentor grad students remain more engaged in their scholarly and creative practice. 

 
Patricia McNair
on Nov 10, 2014 - 2:48 pm

I have been a member of the graduate faculty in fiction writing for a number of years, and up until this last year, have seen our applications increase with great regularity. I think our past success had quite a lot to do with our innovative programming, our attention to the various ways in which graduate students were able to enroll in a significant number of classes in a wide variety of classes, including classes in genre and popular fiction writing, something most other schools consider "non-literary" and therefore not relevant to the MFA degree. Now our students are limited to just four choices for elective classes this coming spring, two of them not in the fiction genre. We were told by our interim dean and interim chair and graduate director (nontenured and with the fewest years of teaching experience of all of our faculty) that the Provost insisted that graduate students will only be allowed to take graduate-only classes from here on out. The Provost, at a recent forum, told us something different: graduate students should have the opportunity to take graduate only classes, but there is room for mixed classes as well.

Because our undergraduate programs (particularly in our new department with the largest enrollment in fiction writing of all of the programs) really allow us to support smaller programs as well, we need to look at how to better bring these programs together (graduate and undergraduate) as a way to increase enrollment and opportunity. This will take more than just cross-listing, but a real attention to the tiering of classes, to staffing those classes with experienced teachers who know how to teach to a diverse population, and professionals in their fields who are also experienced with teaching and working with students of different skills and education levels.

The new curriculum in our department was made and delivered top down, without consultation with and consideration by the full faculty; probably against the college's governance and procedural rules. When it was delivered to the graduate faculty by the interim dean, interim chair, and nontenured director, it was said to be a "done deal." When the ideas were presented, they were presented as something "everyone else does."

Why would we want to build a program like everyone else? Particularly when we don't have the funding opportunities of "everyone else"? And to my mind, with this narrow curriculum, we now have a rather unexciting and not very innovative program. I no longer feel inclined to encourage students to apply here, as I always have in the past.

A number of the senior faculty have received letters from potential students and existing students voicing their concerns about what is no longer available to them. This is not a good thing. Last year's applications dropped to well under 100, far fewer than I have seen in many years. We offer less to our students now, for more money, and I am interested to see how that will affect our application numbers this coming year.

I write not to just complain (although, obviously, I do have my complaints) but to suggest strategies across the board to help support graduate study. Strategies that do not seem to be welcome in my own department, but ones I think are important nonetheless.

1. Graduate Directors should be tenured faculty, and they should have at least five years experience teaching graduate students.

2. Graduate Directors should not be allowed to change curriculum, policy, and procedure without full consultation and collaboration with the full graduate faculty of the program. Faculty must feel invested in the program, and not simply charged with carrying out orders.

3. Chairs and Deans should collaborate with full graduate faculty about curricular changes, potential areas of improvement. Having taught here for many years, I can think of many things that need to be changed in our program. However, I was not consulted about this, nor were the colleagues I have spoken with.

4. Departments should have resources for in-service to work with all faculty, in order to best train them to work with diverse classrooms, including graduate/undergraduate classes. Guidelines and learning outcomes should be discussed and set.

5. Students should have a wide variety of learning opportunities in their own field, but also guidance toward engaging in collaborative arts opportunities in different departments. This guidance needs to be done not just by the director, particularly if the director is rather inexperienced and not all that familiar with Columbia and its programs.

6. Advising for graduate students should be done by all graduate faculty, not just the director. This way, students will have a wide variety of input, without specific agenda.

7. Graduate programs should be in conversation about sharing resources and opportunities, perhaps with an advisory board or ad hoc committee selected through the GPC.

8. GPC minutes should be published for transparency and accuracy of information.

9. Graduate funding must be increased.

10. Graduate success needs to be celebrated.

11. The work of the graduate programs must be done in full collaboration with the graduate faculty as well as with the GPC and departmental curriculum committee, and the outcomes of such work must be shared openly and without omission or false statements.

12. All graduate students and faculty must know their input matters, and there should be a way for all members of these constituencies to work together, not in secret, selected audience, closed door, last minute meetings, or other ways that appear uncollegial and/or deceitful.

 

 

 

Responses(1)

shawn shiflett
on Nov 17, 2014

I agree with Patty McNair. I would add that three long-time members of the Fiction Writing Program graduate faculty were recently (just after a department merger) removed from their graduate school positions. The given rational: the lack of a published book and/or the lack of an M.F.A. degree.  However, each removed faculty member has decades of graduate level teaching experience — more than triple the experience of several other current graduate faculty members combined. In addition, one of the long-standing but recently removed faculty members from the Graduate Fiction Writing Program has just published a novel that has received rave national reviews from the likes of Publishers’ Weekly, Kirkus Review, Booklist, O Magazine, and others. 

 

The top-down decision to remove faculty from the graduate Fiction Writing Program—all of them from the former Fiction Writing Department—has, at best, the appearance of inflexible administrative judgment and, at worst, the kind of heavy-handed opportunism that is all to common in higher education.

 
Expand This Thread
Kenneth Daley
on Nov 10, 2014 - 2:05 pm

As we think of good smart ways the college might increase enrollment - continuing education, online professional degree programs, etc. - we should focus more seriously on ways to increase the enrollment of students who are academically prepared to succeed here, and to graduate. I know we have taken some steps in that direction, and have tightened somewhat our admissions standards, and have raised the academic profile of our freshman classes. But it is not enough. Given the increasing cost of attending college, the difficulties in securing student loans, the advent of the federal government college scorecard, I believe our generous admissions policy is no longer viable. At present, we graduate approx. 40% of our students - while that is an improvement from prior years, it's still not very good, and is significantly worse than most other institutions in Chicago, as well as most of our peer institutions across the country.

 

I agree with Howard Sandroff that the college would benefit a great deal from determining the optimal number of students to enroll each year. There is a right size for the college – an approximate number of students that we can serve credibly and responsibly, and that provide the necessary tuition dollars to support our mission. If we purposefully enrolled a consistent number of students each year, we could be far more planful in our budgeting, allocation of resources, class scheduling, and so on.

 

An enrollment cap may also help us become more selective in our admissions process. Our challenge is somehow to grow the applicant pool so that we can yield a consistent number of students with the interest, aptitude, and preparation to succeed in the programs we offer. We must continue to increase our scholarship monies, but we must invest in students who have an excellent chance of reaching graduation.

 

I like very much the suggestion that we enter into an agreement with one or more two-year colleges where applicants not yet ready to succeed at Columbia College can gain the necessary academic preparation before enrolling with us to complete their degree.

 

 
Bob  Thall
on Nov 10, 2014 - 12:23 pm

Before we talk about how to increase Graduate enrollment at Columbia, I think we need to ask whether we are talking about adding new programs or increasing enrollment in existing programs. In the case of exisiting programs, the question that needs to be asked is should increase Graduate enrollment?

In terms of our Photography MFA program, my answer would be no. Approximately 15 years ago, the Photography Department decided to cut the number of incoming students in our graduate program from approximately 20-22 to the current goal of approximately 10-12. I think that was the best choice, and a key factor in the subsequent success of our program and its high national rating. 

Graduate programs are very expensive. They need much more space and more resources per student than undergrad programs. The biggest cost/resource difference is the much greater need for full-time faculty involvement. That may be the most critical issue and the crucial limiting factor on program size. It seems to me that Grad programs are similiar to the special high-end cars some manufacturers produce, even though those companies lose money on each car sold. They do it for the prestige, for credibility, for the excitement of their workers, and for the effect on the rest of the company. They certainly don't want to sell a lot more of these cars. 

I think that the Photography grad program should be as small as is practical, and then we can concentrate on quality, reputation, and selectivity. Our grad program will then fulfill its real mission and contribute substantially to the national visibility and reputation of the Photography Department and the college.

 
Kirk  Irwin
on Nov 10, 2014 - 11:06 am

A good first step would be to reinstate the MFA program in Interior Architecture and Sustainability. The program was successful but placed on permanent hold by the former dean of SFPA to study its place within the departmental strategic plan. It turns out that there was no departmental strategic plan. The program atracted students from around the world and top ranked undergraduate programs. 

 

 
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Nov 09, 2014 - 11:10 pm

How can we better support graduate study and increase graduate enrollment at the College?

 

Responses(8)

Patricia McNair
on Nov 10, 2014

I have been a member of the graduate faculty in fiction writing for a number of years, and up until this last year, have seen our applications increase with great regularity. I think our past success had quite a lot to do with our innovative programming, our attention to the various ways in which graduate students were able to enroll in a significant number of classes in a wide variety of classes, including classes in genre and popular fiction writing, something most other schools consider "non-literary" and therefore not relevant to the MFA degree. Now our students are limited to just four choices for elective classes this coming spring, two of them not in the fiction genre. We were told by our interim dean and interim chair and graduate director (nontenured and with the fewest years of teaching experience of all of our faculty) that the Provost insisted that graduate students will only be allowed to take graduate-only classes from here on out. The Provost, at a recent forum, told us something different: graduate students should have the opportunity to take graduate only classes, but there is room for mixed classes as well.

Because our undergraduate programs (particularly in our new department with the largest enrollment in fiction writing of all of the programs) really allow us to support smaller programs as well, we need to look at how to better bring these programs together (graduate and undergraduate) as a way to increase enrollment and opportunity. This will take more than just cross-listing, but a real attention to the tiering of classes, to staffing those classes with experienced teachers who know how to teach to a diverse population, and professionals in their fields who are also experienced with teaching and working with students of different skills and education levels.

The new curriculum in our department was made and delivered top down, without consultation with and consideration by the full faculty; probably against the college's governance and procedural rules. When it was delivered to the graduate faculty by the interim dean, interim chair, and nontenured director, it was said to be a "done deal." When the ideas were presented, they were presented as something "everyone else does."

Why would we want to build a program like everyone else? Particularly when we don't have the funding opportunities of "everyone else"? And to my mind, with this narrow curriculum, we now have a rather unexciting and not very innovative program. I no longer feel inclined to encourage students to apply here, as I always have in the past.

A number of the senior faculty have received letters from potential students and existing students voicing their concerns about what is no longer available to them. This is not a good thing. Last year's applications dropped to well under 100, far fewer than I have seen in many years. We offer less to our students now, for more money, and I am interested to see how that will affect our application numbers this coming year.

I write not to just complain (although, obviously, I do have my complaints) but to suggest strategies across the board to help support graduate study. Strategies that do not seem to be welcome in my own department, but ones I think are important nonetheless.

1. Graduate Directors should be tenured faculty, and they should have at least five years experience teaching graduate students.

2. Graduate Directors should not be allowed to change curriculum, policy, and procedure without full consultation and collaboration with the full graduate faculty of the program. Faculty must feel invested in the program, and not simply charged with carrying out orders.

3. Chairs and Deans should collaborate with full graduate faculty about curricular changes, potential areas of improvement. Having taught here for many years, I can think of many things that need to be changed in our program. However, I was not consulted about this, nor were the colleagues I have spoken with.

4. Departments should have resources for in-service to work with all faculty, in order to best train them to work with diverse classrooms, including graduate/undergraduate classes. Guidelines and learning outcomes should be discussed and set.

5. Students should have a wide variety of learning opportunities in their own field, but also guidance toward engaging in collaborative arts opportunities in different departments. This guidance needs to be done not just by the director, particularly if the director is rather inexperienced and not all that familiar with Columbia and its programs.

6. Advising for graduate students should be done by all graduate faculty, not just the director. This way, students will have a wide variety of input, without specific agenda.

7. Graduate programs should be in conversation about sharing resources and opportunities, perhaps with an advisory board or ad hoc committee selected through the GPC.

8. GPC minutes should be published for transparency and accuracy of information.

9. Graduate funding must be increased.

10. Graduate success needs to be celebrated.

11. The work of the graduate programs must be done in full collaboration with the graduate faculty as well as with the GPC and departmental curriculum committee, and the outcomes of such work must be shared openly and without omission or false statements.

12. All graduate students and faculty must know their input matters, and there should be a way for all members of these constituencies to work together, not in secret, selected audience, closed door, last minute meetings, or other ways that appear uncollegial and/or deceitful.

 

 

 

 

 
Insook Choi
on Nov 10, 2014

The college may consider developing MPS programs – Master of Professional Studies degrees – as practical, career-facing complements to the MFA, which is conceived as a deep research-oriented degree.

There are two main learning goals for students to pursue graduate studies: continued learning and transfer learning. (Continued learning is not same as continuing education.) The first case, a student continues to a graduate program to deepen skills and knowledge from her initial undergraduate study in a chosen domain. The second case, a student returns or continues to pursue a graduate degree to transfer skills and knowledge from her initial field of study to another domain, likely to explore alternative job opportunities by transferring her career path.

In both cases, students expect return on investment. To enable overall ROI preferably measured, it is not just about money. It is equally about time. Time efficiency is something that cannot be promised unless the institution innovates a framework to MAKE IT WORK: ensure students achieve graduate degrees in a reasonable time and cost with clear career benefits. Two main factors for making it work are the kind of degree we offer, which has to do with where the curriculum is facing, and the delivery method, which has to do with how we can accommodate the graduate population’s life situations.  The MPS addresses the curriculum focus; it is a terminal professional degree that is becoming increasingly well recognized. In addition we must develop fully online degrees in ways that deliver Columbia’s focus on creative practices in a rich learning experience.

 

 

 
Natasha  EGAN
on Nov 10, 2014

Develop a MA in Art History that would strengthen the MFAs alrealy available at CCC. Develop a MA in Museum Studies or within the MA in Arts Admin there could be a museum track. Have graduate student studios and have graduate students from different departments working togehter. Have graduate students teach undergraduate courses. More funding for graduate students.

 

 
Peter Saxe
on Nov 10, 2014

We have an urgent need in the music department for better quality students. I believe the key is to first attract a small group of exceptional students; kids with strong childhood music training and highly developed skills.  The simple presence of students with this level of committment and skill will raise the awareness of fellow students and contribute to a healthy competition otherwise absent.  Scholarship dollars are the only way this is going to happen.  If the college values the music program and seeks to be competitive with jazz and music programs nationwide, nothing short of a small cadre of elite music students is going to change the perception that Columbia is not a first choice destination for serious music students.

 
Norma Green
on Nov 10, 2014

We can increase graduate enrollment by embracing adult learners.  We dropped the ball on "Adult Ed/Continuing Education/Lifelong Learning" more than a decade ago around the same time that certain stakeholders found the college's fourth school, the Graduate School, superfluous and it was eliminated and graduate responsibilities divvied up unevenly among the three remaining schools. Graduate students have struggled without a centralized advocate and even the application/admissions process has been subsumed under enrollment management (an undergraduate default)  rather than treated as a truly separate entity with adequate staffing.

Columbia should target career changers by contacting people like life coaches/career advisors and offer successful alum testimonials. We've had former med school students and lawyers take our master's classes.

Also, career enhancers are a key group.  People in key associations could be targeted for continuing education courses to bring technical skills up to date or just for the sheer intellectual pleasure of trying something new, be it poetry, painting, whatever.

Both career changers and career enhancers have motivation and money, unlike more than a few undergraduates who think college is the expected thing to do but they're not sure why and so they leave burdened with debt and self-doubt.

Another potential market is our South Loop neighbors who don't have to risk a lot of commute time to get to our classes, especially if we offered them on weekends or in evenings when they are around.  We should do more to encourage our neighbors to come to Open Houses and promote our programs at more than Printers Row Book Fair, for instance.

I mentioned all these things to the Admissions team we in the Graduate Journalism faculty met with on Sept. 4 as our recent enrollment numbers dwindle due to overreliance on recent undergraduates who I have found to be the most "at risk" of all new graduate students.  While recent B.A. graduates are familiar with academia, they experience culture shock when confronted with the rigors and intensity of graduate school. We need to do a better job of communicating with B.A. only J-programs if we continue to try to recruit recent undergraduates as part of our graduate mix.

After much discussion over about two years, Journalism is proposing a certificate program for professionals (those career enhancers I mentioned earlier) who want specific skills but may not want to commit to a degree.

Columbia needs a multi-faceted approach to increasing graduate enrollment. 

 

 

 
Paul Holmquist
on Nov 10, 2014

I would like to echo the statement from Norma that the lack of centralized student support at the graduate level has had a ripple effect on the customer service provided to adult learners in every step of the continuum, from prospective student and admissions through matriculation and graduation. Advocacy for and interest/promotion of graduate work has been sparse at levels above departmental efforts. We've not seen appreciation from upper administration in the affairs of graduate students for some time. Theoretically, when the college invests energy and time in engaging the graduate student at their level, they'll be more likely to enroll, matriculate, and have a positive story to tell.

 
Kara Leffler
on Dec 04, 2014

While expanding the degrees we offer would help to increase graduate enrollment at the College, we need to start first with making sure the degrees that we already offer align with current trends and needs of graduate level students. For example, offering programs that can be completed during nights and weekends, allowing students to start in the spring, or offering low residency/online programs where applicable.

In order to stay competitive and relevant, we should be offering our incoming graduate degree-seeking students benefits like tuition waivers, more research and teaching opportunities, and studio space. If we are able to begin non-traditional graduate level or adult learning programs, these programs could perhaps generate revenue to offset additional tuition waivers.

We also need to better support our current graduate students. Too often they are given incorrect information because they are such a small population. Having dedicated graduate experts in departments like Student Financial Services or The Portfolio Center would help to alleviate this problem. Also having additional graduate only spaces (besides our Graduate Lounge) on campus to promote collaboration and interaction would go a long way.

 
Sarah Shaaban
on Dec 08, 2014

I believe graduate students come into a Master's programs wanting to be more challenged than what they were in their undergrads and adding a component such as research would give them that experience. I have also heard students want experiences involving non-profit organizations, which also ties into the questions about civic engagment. Having them emerse themselves into an internship or a civic engagement opportunity in the Chicago community would expose them to things they may not be in the classroom such as grant writing or real world problem solving.  

 
Expand This Thread
David Jones
on Nov 06, 2014 - 1:44 pm

How to maximize enrollment and retention.

 As a graduate from the Kansas City Art Institute, I have often asked myself this question: was the time and expense worth it?  I imagine that our current students and recent graduates are asking themselves the same thing.  I have had conversations with students and the questions invariably arise in some context or another: was your education worth it? Did you get what you expected? The answers vary but I have received more no’s than yesses. These are tough questions, especially when a graduate is perhaps $30,000.00 or more in debt. Our graduates are our best marketing tool; they will tell their friends and families either that this was the most profound experience of their lives, or, not to bother.   In regards to my own educational experience I was inspired by certain faculty - usually those who were passionate about their work and lives - and completely disappointed by other faculty members who were just cruising or burnt out, (but because they were tenured, they continued to collect paychecks despite complaints from students).  As a result I have mixed feelings about my educational experience. 

I went to college after much knocking about, and a few years of exploration through alternative types of educational experiences. Those are the ones that eventually influenced my direction and ultimately my career path. As a result of those experiences I was able to found a non-profit organization over 24 years ago. I am convinced that without the internships, the workshops, the one-on-one experience, I would not have been able to do what I did. It was the ancillary experiences that equipped me with the understanding, discipline and drive to Live What I Love.

Students who have found their way to Anchor Graphics have had the following things in common: they are hungry to learn something they can take with them, and they want to know how to make their way in the world. 

Today, at the forum Achieving our Greatness, Mark Kelly said something that stuck with me. He said,  “Do what you love as a college statement doesn’t work.” I agree to a point.  Columbia College should be a place where students should be able to have the freedom to explore and discover what it is that they love to do.  I believe that this happens for some in fits and starts. Others, who perhaps have a clearer understanding of who they are and of their direction, will have an easier go of it.  I think those students might be the exception. How does one discover what one loves if there isn’t any guidance?

How do we create an energized learning environment that utilizes the resources we have at hand?  Initially the idea of Hubs was suggested  - environments or spaces where collaborations, problem solving, and creative imaginative risk taking are encouraged and demanded-- rigorous arenas where problems are hatched and solved. 

Some of these Hubs are already in place.  They are called CENTERS, they are the flagships of the college and in my estimation the most underutilized resources that we have here.

How to change this? Marketing, PR, and fundraising to support internships, residencies, exhibitions, community programming, opportunities for graduate students to teach adult classes, and actively participating in developing and implementing outreach to the community.

Anchor Graphics created a program years ago (pre-Columbia College) called Press On Wheels. It was the only outreach activity in the metropolitan area of its kind. We (staff and interns) took our portable etching press to schools, charged a nominal fee (plus received grants) to support our efforts, and taught students to work collaboratively as they learned how to make prints. This program gave our interns ideas  about directions they could take, and several went on to start their own enterprises.  The Center for Book and Paper has JAB (Journal for Artist Books) where two Print Production Fellowships are awarded per semester. These student fellows receive rigorous training, and I am convinced that through these experiences our students will be changed forever. Our centers should provide our students with additional internship and outreach opportunities. They are environments where experience mingles with education, which indeed changes lives.

Professional Internships, workshops, networking and other opportunities need to be realized in order for our students to step off the stage with their diplomas in hand; eager to get to work realizing the vision they have created for themselves, boldly embracing the future.

I have heard Faculty say making isn’t important.  I disagree. In a world of rapidly changing and evolving technology, having a solid grasp of hand skills and the discipline to master those skills will be absolutely essential in the future. Case in point: I have students who, because they are not challenged to develop basic skills like drawing or tool use, have no way to articulate what it is their imaginations show them – they can only cut, paste and appropriate what already exists.

Research, reading, writing, thinking, conceptualizing information and ideas are essential to one’s development – but if there is no passion for what it is they do, who will they become? Having students engaged and participating in the development of their  education will  result in a fuller and more robust educational experience, which will translate into retention of our students and growth in enrollment. 

 

Responses(4)

Brenda Berman
on Nov 07, 2014

One thread of David's comment has great potential for enhancing the development of adult & continuing non-credit education at Columbia: "opportunities for graduate students to teach adult classes, and actively participating in developing and implementing outreach to the community." Enlisting graduate students to teach non-credit classes would help to build instructional capacity while enriching their educational experience. Holding these classes at workplaces across the city & metro area could have many advantages, including increased familiarity with Columbia and enrollment growth among new market segments. Some of these classes could be candidates for online education, as well. 

 
Keri Walters
on Nov 08, 2014

Thanks for taking the time to share these thoughts, David. From my perspective, many of the things you mention (internships, hands-on practical experience opportunities) are already happening in many parts of our campus, but could be more comprehensive in scope. You may also wish to head over to the discussion on 21st century curriculum to share some of your curricular thoughts there. 

 
Keri Walters
on Nov 08, 2014

Thanks for your comment, Brenda!

 
Norma Green
on Nov 26, 2014

I know Dr. Kim has repeatedly said he is opposed to bi-level courses and I understand that philosophically but I would suggest a more pragmatic approach depending on pedagogy and subject matter might be considered to optimize enrollment in courses, particularly electives that might be appealing to both grad students and undergrads.  Rather than have a course cancelled due to low enrollment from one cohort or the other, I have observed that bi-level classes can be effective, especially if the syllabus reinforces the different expectations and evaluation methods for each cohort.  In diversity-oriented elective courses I have taught such as "Covering Religion," I have found that the grad students rallied to their positions as discussion leaders and didn't mind the additional and more rigorous assignments added to their semester's workload.  They did not complain about paying a higher rate of tuition than undergrads in the same course as they perceived the "value added" differential was worth it. And they often became role models for the aspiring undergrads.

As a doctoral student, I was required to take a year of  statistics (sorry Dr. Wearden--it was not my forte) and was grateful for my bi-level courses where my master's peers helped tutor me through the rough patches.  It was a technical skill set that didn't seem to be based on age/experience/maturity but rather a mindset/aptitude.  I think the same rationale could apply to some of the technical skills we offer, or propose to offer, to students today.  The learning outcomes of hands-on courses (usually a product) versus discussion seminars, for instance, aimed at developing critical thinking and problem solving skills (usually a process) should perhaps be a determining factor for whether a course can be designated bilevel or not.  It certainly could boost enrollment (and tuition revenue) in courses that might otherwise be cancelled.     

 
Expand This Thread
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Nov 06, 2014 - 9:43 am

How should the College approach the task of enhancing relationships with feeder institutions?

 

Responses(8)

Natasha  EGAN
on Nov 06, 2014

It would be good to strategize MoCP community development efforts with CCC recruitment goals.  For the last thirteen years the MoCP has lead after school photography programs in three CPS school working with underserved students.  Some of these students have attending Columbia in the past after becoming familiar with CCC through the MoCP, but many are unable to financially commit to CCC. That said, the MoCP could increase its partner schools to included schools where we know the students may be a good fit for CCC. For example, ChiArts.

 
David Jones
on Nov 06, 2014

Developing outreach programs makes so much sense-  workshops could be held on campus during the summer or when the campus is being underutilized (Fridays weekends and evenings)

Getting young people excited about learning and making translates into students who want to continue their educational journey with us.

 
Keri Walters
on Nov 06, 2014

Thanks for your great responses, Natasha and David! What do others think? How can we improve relationships with feeder/partner institutions, both high school and community colleges? Are there other types of feeders out there as well?

 
Michael Kilinski
on Nov 07, 2014

A couple of things:

1. Consider the idea of accepting students into Columbia who will be going to a community college first. Some colleges already do this - have advisors who will go to the local community colleges from time to time, advising students on what to take there to prepare them for the experience of coming to Columbia while making sure they have the right courses. Also, do what we can to make the students a part of the Columbia community before they get here - make sure they have the opportunity to participate in campus events and happenings. Essentially, make them feel like a part of the community before they start taking courses here.

2. Be willing to listen to what the community colleges have to say. What are some of the best practices that four year schools use with them? Also, what are some of their biggest frustrations? (And what have been their frustrations with us?) Then, have a group sit down and go through the feedback, and construct a framework for working with them that will meet their needs while allowing us to maximize recruitment.

 
Jim  Gingras
on Nov 07, 2014

Columbia's getting better and better and showing off the success of our alumni, maybe we could also use this approach with our community college partners.

When our marketing team gets a success story about an alum, we could check their academic record and see if they transferred from a community college. We could then develop a method for making our partner institutions aware of the success stories of students that transferred to Columbia from their institution.

 

 
Keri Walters
on Nov 08, 2014

A thank you, Mike and Jim!

 

 
Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin
on Nov 10, 2014

We were talking about this at our faculty meeting this morning. We will improve recruitment if prospective students can see that courses they've taken in their major will be accepted for credit toward their major here -- e.g. an Intro to Journalism at College of DuPage would count as completion of that course here -- but in many instances, the courses are not equivalent. To use that same example, we added substantial reporting to our Intro to Journalism course, whereas those taught at community colleges are theoretical. On a case-by-case basis, we've looked at student transcripts and given credit for Intro to Journalism to students who had completed both that class and a reporting course at their community college. It would be great if we were able to work with our main "partner" colleges (I understand "feeder" is not a well-liked term) to ensure that their courses are more equivalent to our own. Then students who check in advance to see what kind of transfer credit they will get toward their major at each of the colleges they are considering will see that Columbia is as transfer-friendly as their other options. 

 
Elizabeth Davis-Berg
on Nov 24, 2014

Also I do think that we should make sure that the classes at a Community College are really equivelent.  Especially if they will be a prerequisite for other classes. 

 
Expand This Thread
Keri Walters
From the Moderator: Keri Walters
on Nov 05, 2014 - 10:32 pm

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Optimizing Enrollment roundtable this morning, either in person or through the livestream! Let's keep the conversation going online.

 

Responses(2)

Alex Riepl
on Nov 06, 2014

Thanks Keri, Is it possible to post each of the questions from yesterday here so that we can continue to discuss them?

 
Keri Walters
on Nov 06, 2014

Hi Alex,

All of the questions from yesterday's roundtable discussion will eventually be posted right here in this forum. We release one new question twice per week, through December 8, to keep the conversation flowing. So, stay tuned! Check in a few times per week or more to look for new questions and to comment on other posts.

Thanks!!

 
Expand This Thread
Del Harvey
on Nov 05, 2014 - 8:18 pm

I was on the Strategic Planning Steering Committee and one of the items we discussed was online education. While there was some push back as to the cost of initial set up, as the largest film school in the world, not to mention the growing reputation of other departments, I should think that upgrading our servers to accommodate more students would only be a positive for enrollment. Another important factor would be to expand involvement by senior adjunct faculty  through expansion of class hours per semester and offering even limited benefits. Break the mold and invest in your greatest asset. The word of mouth and press resulting from such an action would provide a huge boost to the school in every department. 

 
MaryLou  Carroll
on Nov 05, 2014 - 7:11 pm

If the college wants to optimize student enrollment, it will optimize the talents of the majority of its faculty, namely, part-time faculty, rather than systematically erase them from the teaching roster.  There is a direct relationship between student enrollment and faculty who support students’ growth and artistic development.  Unlike the college million-dollar billboard campaign, there are countless distinguished and outstanding faculty among the part-time faculty, but their faces, names, and contributions to student success have been “whited out” by the college’s latest branding stunt.  What would happen if Columbia College used the money it spent purchasing city-wide billboards and kiosk advertising to eliminate the student debt of its currently-enrolled students?  Meaningfully support part-time faculty and students, and enrollments will grow. 

 

MaryLou Carroll, History Instructor, HHSS Department, November 5, 2014. 

 

 

 

 
Lissette Hall
on Nov 05, 2014 - 12:32 pm

Q10.  Very good point was just made by a fellow student in the audience at Roundtable #1 about the lack of business education for arts students.  We have a great opportunity to fully prepare students to be working artists, and I think online components to courses or full online courses would increase the need for self sufficiency that would help arts students engage in the businss aspect of our careers and/or take responsibility for this and not asssume that we will be able hire someone to do this work for us.  Thankfully, I was lucky enough to be educated on these matters prior to my matriculation at CCC, but there is no question that this community would benefit from online components in more ways than simply pushing a business component to curricula.

 
Lissette Hall
on Nov 05, 2014 - 12:27 pm

Q8.  I would have liked to have research opportunities that support my interests as a student that are not simply based on faculty research interests.  I think a thesis option and capstone course for Undergraduate seniors would stabilize enrollment in programs as well as help increase the rigors of the current programs.  

Increased research opportunities based on student interests would help improve longevity of relationships.  Until very recently, outside of the programs run by faculty with whom I have worked, I had absolutely no interest in Graduate Programs at this institution.  Despite my confidence in the faculty with whom I am familiar, I still worry about remaining tied to a university that functions in the way that CCC has functioned in my time here.

 
Dana Connell
on Nov 05, 2014 - 12:05 pm

Q6 in the forum.  International relationships are not optional.  While earning my MBA I did so with students from many parts of the globe.  It was an incredible experience to be a white woman minority.  I learned so much about cultural difference from my classmates that helped me to consider broader global issues in the field.  It's tough to teach that as theory to a class of midwestern students.  Learn by doing / experiencing.        

 
Lissette Hall
on Nov 05, 2014 - 11:57 am

I agree with the student representative that spoke on the matter of the rigors of the Columbia College Chicago academic experience.  In my experience here, I have found the greatest academic challenges or classmates willing to engage in discussion of the material assigned to study in my Honors College classes, as well as my major and minor classes.  Outside of these courses, I was disappointed with my classroom experience.  This does not reflect the instructors' intention for the course, but I have seen a resignation to what the majority of the students are bringing to the table that keeps the bar low. My experience in the Honors college as well as with the Comedy Writing and Performance and Arts in Healthcare programs are what I expect as a minimum throughout the university course offerings.  

 

Responses(2)

Michael Lawrence
on Nov 05, 2014
I was glad to hear the student voice that at the roundtable. We've got to offer a challenging curriculum that pushes students to be their best.     A lot of this happens in the classroom and with faculty expectations; a lot of this has to do with a campus culture. As a faculty member, I know things I can do in the classroom to raise the bar, but I don't know what I can do to help that broader campus culture. Do students respect each other for doing well in class, for spending time on their assignments, for reading -- or is that seen as lame? Do students feel like they can continue a class discussion outside of class? Do they know how to find intellectual community here? How are faculty and staff complicit in fostering a campus environment that is at times palpably anti-intellectual? How do we change that?

 

 
Lissette Hall
on Nov 07, 2014

Great questions, Michael!  I agree that the challenge is raising the expectations of the campus culture to include academic inquiry outside of the classroom and among peers.  Willingness to engage in ongoing dialectic outside of the classroom doesn't seem feasible because of other obligations.  Whether it be work to pay tuition or rehearsals that align with students' passions, learning for the sake of learning is not a high priority here.  That is not a criticism of the academic culture here but an observation.  The focused arts based programs are what make CCC worth attending.  If my major, however, were of the traditional LAS variety, I would have no interest in this institution because of the lack of intellectual community.

 
Expand This Thread
Arti Sandhu
on Nov 05, 2014 - 10:31 am

Another point to make here - enrolment also linked to alumni success AND faculty profiles. I have not really seen any strategic plans or threads that talk about investment in faculty - in creative and scholarly pursuits. We claim to be student centered, but forget that this is closely linked to the profile and wellness of our faculty. If the faculty are actively engaged in their scholarly, professional and creative fields - they will have much more to contribute to their students. Their profiles will encourage students to want to come to Columbia.

 

Responses(4)

Jennie Fauls
on Nov 05, 2014

True, Arti. I would say the same of our staff. We (staff) are tied to students' experiences in and out of the classroom. Opportunities for and energy invested in staff will result in improved student engagement and success. We do a great job but there are few incentives to invest our extra time to take it to the next level (growing ties with colleagues at other institutions, participating in development in our fields, establishing partnerships within and outside of the college). 

 
Del Harvey
on Nov 05, 2014

Tracking alumni success seems to be a sporadic effort and is department-by-department. There is not enough communication regarding alumni achievement. My college, The Academy of Art University, has been extremely successful at interdepartmental communication as well as broadcasting their alumni achievements through all types of media outlets. The college's new hire should develop a communications plan which incorporates this.

 
Arti Sandhu
on Nov 07, 2014

I agree Jeanie - I meant to include Staff to in my comment - they are equally important to the student experience, and in some cases much more active in their professional/creative fields than some faculty. (as much as some faculty will dislike my saying so).

 
Arti Sandhu
on Nov 07, 2014

Sadly the there is no mention of Staff anymore on the college website....

 
Expand This Thread
Arti Sandhu
on Nov 05, 2014 - 10:24 am

Perhaps this has been mentioned already in this thread or perhaps its a seperate thread - I feel enrollment is linked to retention. When students know that a college is known for students staying - they are more inclined to want to join and be part of this community. I know retention has been a focal point in past strategic plans and remains on our current agenda - but this can continue to be examined more deeply at departmental levels. 

 

Responses(1)

Del Harvey
on Nov 05, 2014

Absolutely agree with this, Arti! By retaining instructors the school creates ambassadors who spread the word about the school. Loyalty is a very important commodity. 

 
Expand This Thread
Larry  Dachslager
on Nov 05, 2014 - 9:30 am

As one of very few non-traditional (age 53) students I've encountered here at Columbia, I cannot state enough how positive, heartening, challenging, and inspiring my experience has been. Though admittedly, my being the oldest person in the class - often including the teacher - was a tad awkward initially, I soon fell into a comfortable pattern in which my fellow students and I were able to relax and learn from each other.  I highly recommend that Columbia College Chicago make a stronger push toward welcoming older students who, like myself, wish to follow a longheld dream that, for whatever reason (to paraphrase Langston Hughes), was deferred.  Others should enjoy the rare opportunity given me by this awesome and most educationally responsive and responsible institution. 

 
Alex Riepl
on Nov 04, 2014 - 11:37 am

Columbia is already a very welcoming place for students from around the world. So many international students that I come into contact with (many of whom are here for a short term basis) have told me just how impressed they are with the school. Many have expressed interest in increasing their time here or in transfering or in applying to grad school here after they finish back at their home institution. 

We are all doing a lot already for these students (both in terms of attraction and helping them once on campus) but we could really do with greater coordination among all the parts. A centralized and highly visable International Office would be a great foundation towards this end.

This is a body of students which adds great diversity to our school and really reflects Chicago's reputation as an international hub. Not to mention that this diverse educational environment will allow every student to broaden their horizons and come into contact with people and ideas they might not have before.

 
Keri Walters
From the Moderator: Keri Walters
on Nov 04, 2014 - 11:00 am

Hello, all,

You are cordially invited to join us at our first Roundtable tomorrow morning!

Optimizing Enrollment Roundtable: Wednesday, November 5, 10:00 - 11:30 am, 600 S. Michigan Ferguson Theatre, 1st floor. I hope to see you there!

 
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Nov 02, 2014 - 11:07 pm

How can we best evaluate applicants for potential success in their chosen major program?

 

Responses(9)

Fereshteh Toosi
on Nov 03, 2014

Students could be admitted without declaring a major. Then they would submit a portfolio before the start of their their second year to their preferred departments in order to be evaluated for their potential success in their chosen major.

 
Laurie Lee Moses
on Nov 03, 2014

I really like this idea--it gives students permission to "shop around" and get out of their comfort zones to try new things. I'm not sure about the need to have a portfolio ready at the end of the year--or at least it should not imply anything finished or decided yet. In fact, the more the "portfolio" reflects the varied interests and passions of the student, the more information advisors, faculty, and counselors have to help the student settle on a major. Fereshteh implies that the portfolio could be submitted to several departments--that's an interesting idea! Could there be committees to engage with students to help them understand where they best fit? Composed of staff, faculty, even upperclass or grad students in the majors under consideration.

 
Mary Rachel Fanning
on Nov 03, 2014

I like that this thread begins with students being admitted without choosing a major. As a college advisor I meet with a handful of first-year students who seem to have their path figured out from day 1. The majority of first-years I enounter approach their major as an "area of interest." They are often unsure of their major, major/minor combo, interdisciplinary major, "can I study and create the career I want here?," etc. Some students tell me they feel guilty for questioning their major since the college communicates starting your major from the moment you step on campus. I believe an exploratory year (whether or official or unofficial) is very beneficial to a student's development. Do our curricular pathways create room for an exploratory year? What are the "ingredients" for being a successful student at Columbia College vs. in a specific major?

Anecdotally transfer students are very focused on their major before they arrive. Transfer Orientation is a good start to connecting them to the department earlier on. I can see how it would be beneficial for transfer students to have an honest assessment of their graduation timeframe in a major before or soon after admission....based on a mixture of remaining LAS core requirements and placement in the major via portfolio, auditions, text-based works, etc. 

 
Keri Walters
on Nov 03, 2014

Thanks for your comments, all!

Even if we had an "exploratory year," do we still need specific ways to measure the potential for undergraduate applicants' success in the majors we offer at the College? Traditionally, we have only admitted undergraduates to the College, but not to specific major programs. Does this practice lead to lower retention/graduation rates?

 
Mary Rachel Fanning
on Nov 04, 2014

My first thought is how many of our students actually stay in the major they start with? Is there a connection between "major changers" and retention?  I would love to see that data.

In my experience (anecdotal of course) the students who I advise that stay and graduate are the ones who find something of value that fits. Sometimes it is a minor instead of a major that keeps them here or gives them the enthusiasm to finish. We also can't ignore the community component of retention but that is being discussed on another thread.

BFA BMus, BScience majors are a big investment for a student, with less room to explore the college and other areas.  If a department's curriculum requires a student start and be locked in to such a program from Day 1, I do believe in specific admission criteria for the major (portfolio, auditions, etc. whether assessed virtually or in-person).

I'm curious which academic departments feel they would benefit from admission criteria specific to a major? As an advisor I only experience where a student is excelling in a major or truly lost in one. 

 

 

 

 

 
Keri Walters
on Nov 04, 2014

Thanks, Mary Rachel. I hope some academic departments will write in and address your question about who believes their students and programs would benefit from major-specific admissions criteria!

 

 
Julie Redmond
on Nov 05, 2014

I think the idea of incoming students having the ability to explore, for some students, is essential. Some know exactly what they want to do and we should empower them to continue on that path and go as deep as they possibly can in studying that here at Columbia. Creative pathways are varied and often it takes a bit more time to discern what field of study or major is the right one for a student.

 
Alex Grandmaison
on Nov 12, 2014

Try taking a look at any previous body of work. Any previous experience in the intended field? Obviously students in high school won't have much, if any, professional experience but check into their personal pursuits of their own artistic passion. Another way to better evaluate potential students would be to have them write about why they want to attend Columbia as opposed to a different institution. Some students may not necessarily have a desire to specifically attend Columbia, and filtering out those who are not passionate about their choice could help to bring more motivated students into the fold. 

 
Ashton  Byrum
on Dec 07, 2014

Admission to the college (especially at a school specializing in the Arts) should be a process shared by those in admissions and each department. It is my impression that the Enrollment management office doesn't evaluate potential success - other than general college writing and test scores. They also do not have a specific blueprint for defining potential success for each department. If there is one for my department, I have never seen it. There are many very talented students at Columbia College who are very suited to their chosen majors. There are also many students that would do better in another major (or perhaps at another institution). Sadly - they're all admitted in the same way. The Performing Arts programs, by their very nature, require that students possess certain talents so that they can pass their classes and have the potential for professional careers. No one is checking for that prior to day 1 of classes. I know we are moving slowly towards as selectivity process - and I am thankful for that, but it unethical to accept a student without some evaluation of the necessary talent for their major. Along with Academic and financial checks - we also owe our potential students that kind of evaluation. It will help our most talented students feel challenged, improve our reputation, and save the students unsuited to their major - lots of time and money.

 
Expand This Thread
Mindy Faber
on Nov 02, 2014 - 8:15 am

We are in the early stages of a new era in education, one where learners curate their own individualized learning pathways admist a flexible networked knowledge exchange. Learning institutions that can thrive in this new era see the value of offering learners a rich array of options such as community-based learning experiences, mobility, personal learning advisors and new methods for assessing and credentialing knowledge and skill acquisition.

Columbia can be a trailblazer in this new ecoystem. We could begin by piloting and testing short courses, blended experiences and grad certification programs designed to meet the needs of today's changing work force (the adult learner, entrepreneur and working professional). Already, we are in competition with smaller pop up learning hubs and innovation centers that offer accelerated, hands-on and credentialized low cost apprenticeships. 

As we incubate innovation, we must resist the technocratic impulse seen in other factory model certification programs. Columbia's enduring values and best assets can still guide the course forward by offering hands on, interdisciplinary project based learning, personalized interactions with faculty and peers, as well as our capacity to harness the power of the city and its rich communities as a learning laboratory.

I feel vey optimistic about Columbia's future during this unique moment in time. If we can develop programs that are flexible, adaptive and nimble, in ways that other higher ed institutions can't, we can be exceedingly competitive. To do this, we must create spaces for innovation and experimentation, bread down silos, invest in research and market studies and cultivate a professional learning community among our amazing staff and faculty.

Rather than looking at low enrollment in some programs as a signal for their elimination, it is an opportunity for bold re-design and piloting of new ideas. What are the areas where working professionals need the most up-skilling? One of them is in-service teacher education. There is a tremendous void in programs in Chicago that help teachers adapt to the demands of a changing school culture that supports technology rich, digital media integrated and STEM/STEAM learning. Columbia is uniquely positioned to fill that gap through programs such as CCAP, Convergence Academies, Scientists of Tomorrow, the IDA MA programs, a teaching artist minor and the MAT program and more. Coupled with the vast expertise that resides within the faculty of ALL three schools, wow - unstoppable.

This is a great forum for unearthing other ideas from faculty and staff who are on the frontlines and can see the need for new models every day. i look forward to reading more!

Attached is a fascinating infographic developed by KnowledgeWorks that uses foresight research to describe potential future learning ecologies. 

 

Responses(5)

Stan Wearden
on Nov 03, 2014

This is great. As I told a group recently, our students' learning styles and patterns of information consumption have been changed by changes in culture and technology. We must be prepared to meet students where they are rather than where we were when we were students. Your comments capture that perfectly.

 
Lisa DiFranza
on Nov 03, 2014

This idea of "curated individualized learning pathways" is the awesome wave of the future. How can it be supported by common* experiences that cultivate community, and offer for students an artistic home? Belonging is foundational for developing a sense of agency - a belief that your voice matters in the world, that you can "author the culture." 

*this definition: pertaining or belonging equally to an entire community, nation, or culture; public:

 
Jane Jerardi
on Nov 04, 2014

One thought: curated individualized learning pathways - require advising and personalization to be truly successful. This isn't something you can just 'size up' easily and I think sometimes the sheer size of our programs make this type of individualized pathways more challening.  It's something to consider.

 
Julie Redmond
on Nov 05, 2014

Globalization is an important part of this conversation as students, faculty and staff members as well. Incorporating world views and cross-cultural collaborations and conversations into classes, majors, internships is a goal worth growing. Most of the incoming students know no bounds to their ability to communicate outside of their "neighborhoods". Our challenge will be to keep up with them and hopefully lead and create innovative experiences to further their growth.

 
Carol Lloyd Rozansky
on Nov 05, 2014

Mindy - We need to talk! (Or, more accurately, I would love to talk with you about this. You are addressing several of my department's challenges as well as some ideas we have for moving forward.

- Carol

 
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T Denin  Williams
on Nov 01, 2014 - 5:01 pm

Initiate Continuing Education Programs & End Age Discrimination to Increase Enrollment & Retain Students

I'm glad to contribute to this conversation. As an adult student with years of experience in my field, Columbia lacks a method, programming and platforms for students with industry experience. I simply went back to college for a degree as I have worked in my field for over 14 years without one. However, to earn an undergraduate degree, I am required to take intro classes that (for me) are redundant and useless. Advisors do not readily ask about your career experiences, they don't match you to classes that will actually benefit you your knowledge base nor do they offer the process of earning Experiential Learning hours. Any undergrad who can prove they have already mastered the understanding and skill that an undergraduate class will deliver should be allowed to replace that class with a Master’s level course or Experiential Learning credit. There is a gap between what I need to succeed in my craft vs. what Columbia spoon feeds me to earn a degree. This method or lack thereof, earns me a worthless piece of paper instead of a respected degree. There is no equity in an undergraduate degree from Columbia if you have industry experience.

 

Secondly, instead of being inspired many of us adult students have to deal with the effects of a strong ageist environment. The campus is focused towards young people not college students. If you are an adult student who shows up to participate in campus activities for your professional and personal growth, we are often asked probing questions, given a once over and/or ultimately left to feel unwelcomed. The only reason I have not left Columbia (as suggested by some Columbia staff, my family and colleagues) is because all the credits earned up to this point will not transfer to another institution without having to extend my time as an undergrad.

 

 

Responses(3)

Keri Walters
on Nov 02, 2014

Hello, all,

T Denin, thanks so much for contributing to the conversation about optimizing enrollment.

In what ways might Columbia change to attract and serve adult learners?

 
Stan Wearden
on Nov 03, 2014

Interesting thoughts. Anyone have ideas about ways we can meaningfully consider career experience in advising and making our curriculum more flexibe? Also, how do we best teach to reach students across the entire age spectrum?

 
Michael Lawrence
on Nov 03, 2014

I just want to pull out this great line from the post above: "The campus is focused towards young people not college students." Excellent disctinction & keen observation. 

 
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Norman Alexandroff
on Nov 01, 2014 - 11:07 am

One way to look at improving retention and graduates rates is to examine the costs of earning Columbia College degree relative to the value it offers in return.

 

What a Columbia College degree historically told the world was that you were job ready. You were taught by working professionals, on state-of-the-art equipment, and that you were hungry and you ready to hit the ground running. A Columbia College degree also offers enormous value in terms of interdisciplinary opportunities; being in a critical mass of like-minded creative people; diversity; learning that goes on outside the classroom; emphasis on civic engagement; connections; collaboration; the city as our campus; and more.

 

But is the perceived value of a degree from Columbia College worth the investment? Based on our declining enrollment, the answer for many current and prospective students appears to increasingly be “no, it’s not worth it.”

 

So if this analysis is accurate, the challenge we face is how do we make it more affordable for our students to earn a degree, or how do we create even greater value in a Columbia College degree.

 

President Kim referenced this point in “Redefining Our Greatness.” It’s the idea that in the future a Columbia College degree needs to tell the world that you have developed expertise in marketing, management, and technology, in addition to being job ready in the creative disciplines.

 

Perhaps there are other hallmarks or characteristics of a Columbia College education that can be brought forward to add even greater value to a Columbia College degree. For example:

 

  • Can/should a Columbia degree in the future reflect a requirement that students develop some fluency in more than one artistic language?
  • Can a Columbia College degree better reflect a commitment by students to use their creative skills to contribute to the commonweal?
  • Can a Columbia College degree reflect a certain kind of outside-the-box thinking, or creative problem solving, that is fundamental to the creative or knowledge economies of the future?

 

 

Responses(2)

Keri Walters
on Nov 02, 2014

Norman, thanks for contributing to the conversation on optimizing enrollment. Learning outcomes certainly influence enrollment, but I wanted to let you know that we also have a conversation going on around the topic of "21st century curriculum." You may wish to also join that conversation and share these thoughts in that forum.

 
Norman Alexandroff
on Nov 04, 2014

Sorry Keri, this response got pushed to the wrong discussion group.

 
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Howard Sandroff
on Oct 31, 2014 - 1:52 pm

It seems to me that the initial question is, "How did we arrive at this situation in the first place".  However you view the present, troubled or overflowing with success it is the result of decisions that were made in the past.  One obviously problematic decision was that the continued growth of the college throughout the 90's was without end, as if it would go on forever.  Based upon that questionable notion decisions were made to expand physical facilities, human resources and welcome all who came to the door.  Obviously, that was unsustainable and much of the financial crises we face is that there is 13K students worth of expense and only 10k students to bear the cost.

I claim no expertise, but it seems to me that before we discuss increasing enrollment we should consider whether there is an "optimum enrollment" and if so, build this discussion around budgeting for that optimun.  This approach could then drive all of the secondary decisions about what and how many programs, what and how much advertising and marketing, how much space and how should it be allocated, how many faculty and staff and some reasonable method to manage those numbers and most importantly a rational and realistic ideaa of the kind of growth (or reduction) we need to pursue to achieve the most optimum population of students and to serve those students the right number of buildings, a sustainable budget, just the right amount of support staff and services and most importantly a happy, productive and dedicated faculty who look forward to secure years of service and advancement.

 

Responses(4)

Arti Sandhu
on Nov 02, 2014

This is a very important point to highlight. I also feel some of the optimum size information (gathered last year?) does not really reflect optimum size if we are trying to achieve student success. We need to really look closely at building sustainable degree programs that are not just centered on growth, but also high quality outcomes. 

 
Stan Wearden
on Nov 03, 2014

I agree that deciding on optimum enrollment is critical. We need to think in terms of optimum enrollment in the context of our traditional face-to-face education approach but also optimum enrollment in the online context.

 
Howard Sandroff
on Nov 08, 2014

If this topic is as relevant as I and others believe it is, then perhaps it should be at the top of the "questions lists" because it drives virtually everything else.  All the scuttlebutt I hear throughout the buildings is about revenue streams, increasing enrollment via on-lin, adult evening and enrichment, saturday and evening degrees etc etc etc.

I'm not suggesting that those are bad ideas but I am suggesting that as long as we pursue these topics "catch as catch can", treating all comers equally and spinning out our time discussing everything, when instead we should be discussing something specific.

Yes we do some things well, undergraduate education in the arts and communications is our forte.  Other things we don't do so well and one of those things is to dilute our efforts by trying to accomplish every initiative and discuss every solution.  What I have observed over the past five years is that we keep talking, without actually changing anything.  Or at least, completing what we've begun.

I'd like to think that Stan is the person to narrow the focus and direct our energies to solving specific problems and then moving on to solve more.  I think that approach is long overdue and that these far afield, open-ended discussions are fun and thought provoking, they aren't very productive in creating outcomes, actual change.

That's my $.02, and I frankly thing it is worth a whole lot more.

 
Ashton  Byrum
on Dec 07, 2014

I agree with Howard's comments. I am concerned that the college often equates success with increased enrollment. Many of our issues come directly from unmanaged enrollment. Not only did some programs grow too large - too quickly, but it could be argued that the quality of some programs did not improve with that growth. The Admissions department works very hard, but it is my impression that they don't really work with the departments to find out the BEST size for an incoming class. Without a "best" number in mind - how can they know what they're shooting for - regarding enrollment? 400 majors in a department might be great - that doesn't mean that 800 is even better - in fact it could be detrimental. Why are these issues discussed?

 

 
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Michael Kilinski
on Oct 31, 2014 - 1:39 pm

I do like some of the ideas I've run into here, especially with grad programs and continuing education. When I talk to people who were around many years ago (especially former students), one thing I hear was the ease of completing degrees for night students. Many of our programs are simply not available at night, which severly restricts the number of people who can take advantage of our programs.

 

I think we need to give some thought to a specialized night program, or at least research the opportunity, for those students who are looking to complete a BA. I was able to complete my BA at night, with a program that, while not specifically accelerated, was simplified to the point where it was fairly simple from semester to semester to meet requirements. A number of local schools run this type of program with success, and I think we can open ourselves to an entirely new market if we were to develop one at Columbia.

 

Responses(2)

Stan Wearden
on Nov 03, 2014

Interesting thought. Some institutions have been able to create thriving night programs for the kinds of students you mention.

 
Laurie Lee Moses
on Nov 03, 2014

As a side bonus, more staff could upgrade their skills, or broaden their knowledge, by taking classes at night. Currently, I can't take advantage of the tuition waiver for CCC classes, as most meet during my work hours. I'm paying about $100 for 4-week tech classes now through meetup groups. I'm sure others would be interested in attending classes at Columbia instead, especially if the price point is appealing.

 
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Jennifer Halperin
on Oct 30, 2014 - 12:41 pm

Columbia has many great success stories of students with diverse backgrounds landing great jobs and internships. Sharing these stories on a larger scale, whether on a mass-market level or targeted to the college-searching public, could be a great way to raise our school's reputation and pique the interest of prospective students and their families.

 

Responses(2)

Keri Walters
on Oct 30, 2014

Hi Jennifer, Thanks for jumping into the conversation and getting things rolling! What are some ways we could get the word out about our success stories that we are not currently utilizing?

 
Jennifer Halperin
on Nov 03, 2014

Thanks, Keri. I found the school's marketing campaign featuring faculty very attractive, so a similar billboard campaign featuring students and recent grads could be very appealing to prospective students. Some of our recent grads are in extremely impressive positions. While these are anecdotal examples, they are eye-catching. My own 18-year-old son, when searching for schools last year, was very affected by Univ. of Ill's billboard on I-294 that says something like "We can count our Nobel Prize winners on five hands.'' While that, too, is anecdotal, it had a big impact. He ended up going to U of I -- obviously not because of the billboard, but that was something that really made the school stand out to him. Would prospedtive students feel the same about Columbia if they saw billboard featuring our students who now are interning at NASA, ABC, NBC, etc.?

Aside from traditional marketing campaigns, social media campaigns can feature running success stories. My own department is experimenting with this - we are looking to start Twitter and Instagram feeds posting success after success that people can follow. The potential downside is that non-Columbia-students can get ideas for internships and jobs from these, so the trade-offs of "lure potential students'' and "share internship/job info widely'' would have to be weighed carefully.

 
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Keri Walters
From the Moderator: Keri Walters
on Oct 30, 2014 - 12:31 pm

Hi, everyone! I am one of the moderators for the Optimizing Enrollment topic of the Strategic Planning process. This is a very open and transparent process, and we want to hear from you. Today's question is intentionally very open-ended to gather all of your thoughts and ideas. Please jump in and join our conversation! If you have any questions about this process as we go along, please feel free to let me know.

 
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Oct 29, 2014 - 8:35 pm

 

What strategies could Columbia implement to increase enrollment?

 

Responses(23)

Jenn Jones
on Oct 30, 2014

 

Thinking very broadly, two "big ideas" come to mind -- expanding our graduate education offerings and creating the infrastructure to support continuing/community education for our students-at-large.  I’m only familiar with my own department, but I think both of these areas could be relevant to many other disciplines.  In Photo, we have seen an increase in the number of adult learners wanting to take courses “for fun”, but we do not currently have the structure in place to advise, enroll, and track them – and we do not always have the appropriate courses for them.  However, if we had a fully functional community education program, I think we could attract students to it.  Just last month, our Associate Chair and I visited College of DuPage and met with 6-8 adult learners looking to take more Photography courses, but not looking to pursue a degree.

 
Paul Holmquist
on Oct 30, 2014

Hey Jenn and all - our department attempted to do adult education workshops this year and in general we were able to market them, provide the instructor and facilities and had some sucess, but we did it all on our own with two full time staff. The further development of enrollment strategies for adults looking to take continuing education is truly an untapped market with interested potential students from all walks of life in every creative field. We've also discovered with our graduate Students At Large is that there isn't any sort of welcome or orientation coming from the admissions office or graduate student services, so a graduate S.A.L. applies and enrolls and is administrated by department resources alone. With our grad S.A.L.'s in particular, they are often "taking a taste" of the major, the department and the college. Having centralized and focused customer service through admissions would increase the rapport these potential graduate major's customer experience, which is key for the adult learner who is shopping around.

 
Katie Paciga
on Oct 30, 2014

I think part of what draws a student to an institution is the "faces." Ensuring we are able to hire and retain well-recognized and productive faculty is an issue. Coupled with that is a need for an administrative body with procedures in place to ensure that its faculty's and students' concerns are heard and followed up on with action, when necessary.

 
Susan Marcus
on Oct 30, 2014

Best use of scholarship money to attract and retain a diverse student body

A well-marketed, interdisciplinary curriculum that meets the expectations and needs of our students

 
Tim  Cozzens
on Oct 30, 2014

Open House might benefit from following the focus of the new website, where interests / programs are forefronted, as opposed to Departments. It would be helpful to have feedback from Open House participants - it may currently be collected, but wide dissemination would have impact in future planning. 

 
Dayle Matchett
on Oct 30, 2014

I definitely agree with the points around more support around graduate student recruitment. We have an opportunity to really celebrate our graduate community and to help make it more central. We have a few very dedicated staff focusing in this area but they need to be better supported. Also - at the level of curriculum, many of our graduate students have commented in open forums that they have mixed feelings sharing classrooms with undergraduate graduate students.

 
Keri Walters
on Oct 30, 2014

Jenn and Paul are both talking about growing enrollment for students at large and creating a centralized process and infrastructure to support this growth. Do others agree? What would Columbia need to put in place to support the growth of students at large, working professionals, and other types of non-degree-seekers?

 
Keri Walters
on Oct 31, 2014

Tim and others, thanks for your comments! What kind of data and/or feedback from Open House participants would be useful for the academic prgrams to receive and review?

 
Stan Wearden
on Oct 31, 2014

This will come up in other conversations, but what do you think of online professional graduate programs as a way of growing our enrollment? And what resources do we need to make that a success if we do it?

 
Laurie Lee Moses
on Oct 31, 2014

I'll answer a question with a question: how does the SAIC engage with prospective students? what makes them (and/or their parents) decide that SAIC is NOT the school for them? I think that this is the crevice we can insert OUR strategies into to break open the possibility for more interest from creative high-school age kids in going to CCC.

 
Laurie Lee Moses
on Oct 31, 2014

I think expanding offerings and reaching out to Students at Large is a great idea. Many people might want to take courses for personal enrichment, and some may need or want to "re-tool." Columbia seems an ideal place to do either. The optimum tuition price point for adult learners, including young adults, might be the tricky thing to find.

 
Laurie Lee Moses
on Oct 31, 2014

Take a look at the hybrid approach of GSLIS at UIUC--I am an alum, and I found it very well-designed. I think that a holistic design is key to both attracting the best students, and in providing the best educational experience. I don't think that just getting some plain vanilla online courses up is adequate. The MOOCs do a fine job with straightforward online learning--some instructors go above and beyond there too--AND they're free! So the program we would be offering needs to have something more.

 
Jenn Jones
on Oct 31, 2014

Keri -- I'm not Tim (obviously), but since I do help plan our Open House -- I would like to 2nd the request for feedback from particpants.  I would be wanting to know what questions do they have about the possible majors/programs/interests and do they feel as if those questions were addressed in our presentations? Are they wanting more individual attention or are these larger group presentations working for them? 

 

Dr. Wearden - Business & Ent, Creative Writing/English, Education, and perhaps other disciplines are already being taught in online environments at so many other institutions.  In order to be competitive with them, I think we need to start exploring these online and other options (such as 1-year certificates and weekend degree programs.) We would need to create and staff a structure for these programs - either centralized in one office (a center for professional studies?) or support the efforts within each academic department. We would need to hire an expert or two on recruiting the students into online/weekend/professional programs.  

 
Kim Livingstone
on Oct 31, 2014

I agree with Jen and Paul.  Growing enrollment for students at large and creating a centralized process and infrastructure to support this growth is crucial.  It not only benefits the student at large but also the younger undergraduate students as well.  I am a student at large and had the opportunity to take two courses so far at the college during my employment, one online and one in class.  I found it a remarkable.  The diverse knowledge and experiences of my classmates, who varied in age, race and class, enriched the overall learning.   I think there is a mentoring opportunity where faculty can connect students at large who possess real world experience with younger undergraduate students who may be more knowledgeable with regard to technology or social media.

 
Ingrid Sagor
on Oct 31, 2014

Having recently graduated from Columbia's MFA in Creative Writing (Nonfiction) and working now as a FT Staff member in Fashion Studies, I second the assertion that developing, and growing the graduate programs at Columbia is a great way to both increase enrollment, and to foster a community of greater intellectualism at the college.

 

Graduate degree programs not only infuse academic departments with a more sophistocated student base, but also provide faculty with the ability to work with developing academics in their field, which helps support research, and engagement.

 

Investing in the Graduate Office, and perhaps creating a subcommitte to determine which departments could likely house graduate degrees would be the first step towards growing the graduate offerings at Columbia.

 

As an anecdotal note regarding why I chose Columbia over SAIC, and Northwestern--being given the Follett Merit Award, (a near fully-funded, merit based scholarship) and the opportunity to teach as a Gradaute Student Instructor in the English department, were points of difference that at the time outweighed the reputations of the other schools.

 
Louis Silverstein
on Oct 31, 2014

1. Every faculty, staff and administrator needs to recognize that it is their role to engage in recrjuitment at whatever opportunity exists to do so. For example, the college should equip faculty with an attractive (word and image) fact sheet extolling the college to be shared with attendees at professional conferences, community meetins (e.g. PTA) for public audience (e.g., Intersections).

2. The recent campaign billboards with a photo of faculty)   to share the existence of Columbia and its virtues with the general public needs to expanded beyond Chicago to neighboring suburbs.

3. Faculty are to be encouraged to seek out opportunities to speak to high school audiences. . Rarely, do the weekly college news updates on what faculty, staff or adminstators have done as professionals include an acitivy of that nature. in part, I beleive the reasons for this being is that such an acitivity is neither given the recognition it deserve for evaluation purposes and that is not esteemed by ones peers.  

 
Susan Strow
on Oct 31, 2014

Understanding the varied needs of our diverse student population and ensuring that we have the resources available on campus to retain these students can play a huge role in increasing enrollment. A key factor in international student recruitment is "word-of -mouth" if a student has a great experience they can be very influential in building awareness of CCC globally and encouraging their friends, classmaters, etc. to apply to Columbia. Building a supportive environment on campus can include: 

1) having counselors and advisors with experience in specific international populations 2) workshops for faculty and staff that focus on cross-cultural communications and working with an ESL population, 3) developing our ESL/IEP/EAL programs 

The recruitment of international students is an area that has high potential for growth at Columbia. Building this population will increase our global diversity and will allow our domestic student to gain awareness and understanind of the larger world outside of Chicago and the USA (super helpful since they will be moving into a global workforce). A few strategies that should be fairly easy to implement inlcude; 1) alumni programs - building a database of internaitonal alumni and CCC students currently living or working outside of hte USA. Using these students to assist with recruitment efforts overseas 2) additional collaboration amongst the international profarms (Exchange, International Admissions/Recruitment, Study Abroad, ISO, etc. ) so we can draw on the colleagues experiences and share resources 3) mimicking the succesful transfer initiatives on a global scale - building pathway programs between 2-year polytechnic schools in Malaysia, Singapore, etc. 4) creativing a sustainable International Student Welcome Progarm (ISWP). This program should be the foundation for all international students entering the college. Each semester we strugge to fit this progam in amongst the changeing pieces of orientation/registration/housing. This program should be a priority for the college. 

Additionally, it would be great to have a portal or venue for communication specific for international initiatives. For example, a list of faculty who are teaching or conducting research overseas, a calendar of international recruitment trips, a space to share information on international contacts, etc.

 
Peter  Cook
on Nov 01, 2014

 

Historically, Columbia College is a private art-media commuter college with limited room and board. I would love to know if on-campus residential life would attract more students and retain them during their academic tenures. Researches show that it does play a significant role as retention tools at commuter schools. http://diverseeducation.com/article/14680/ If we want to expand on this, then what kind of residential community? Would it be run as living and learning communities as shown at Hampshire College? https://www.hampshire.edu/housing/living-and-learning-communities or residence consisting of faculty to lead students during their transition period as independent persons? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/26/AR2010092603023.html 

 
Christopher Gorcik
on Nov 01, 2014

I am in agreement that community and continuing education are valuable tools in generating future enrollment in Columbia's collegiate programs. However, we need to be clear on what, exactly, constitutes community vs. continuing education. These are two completely different audiences that we need to communicate with and they each require a different approach in order for us to generate successful enrollment.

Community education at Columbia does indeed already have an existing infrastructure through Sherwood. Although our department is mostly known for community music instruction, we also have developed successful community theatre and dance classes over the last few years...our intention is to eventually offer community programming in all of Columbia's disciplines. And we intend to create these community programs through close cooperation with the academic departments - not off on our own in a silo without any input from the rest of the college.

We, as a college, need to work towards a culture of shared expertise as opposed to the segmented and isolationist culture currently prevalent at Columbia. Playing to each other's strengths, and developing systems and processes that allow each department the freedom to fully exercise their expertise, will be essential in the long term growth of enrollment at the college, both in collegiate and non-degree granting programs.

 
Beth  Ryan
on Nov 03, 2014

As a faculty member, I would LOVE to help with recruiting presentations in highs schools and junior colleges, yet don't always have the relationship at these institutions.  If any opportunities present themselves, count me in.  

 
Erica  Cosentino
on Nov 04, 2014

We currently offer High School Summer Institute but what if we expanded that to year round opportunities for High School Students. We could even develop an Early College Program centered around the arts and media or simply partner with nearby high schools to offer college credit classes for their students.

 
Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin
on Nov 06, 2014

We should be reaching out to high school programs (including extracurricular programs) relevant to our majors. For example, we ought to be sending our student publications to students involved in their high school newspapers, magazines, yearbooks, spoken word clubs and broadcast programs. I just got this note from a prospective student today: 

 

Hi Ms. Bloyd-Peshkin. I've just applied to Columbia. I received the Echo magazine today and I can honestly say I love it! I'm not a student, but I do really, really hope I can get accepted. Your magazine gave off a really great impression on me. It must be amazing to be able to create a magazine for students. It's very informative and it's very interesting. It talks about topics students are interested in and isn't boring at all. I can't stop saying that I pray to get accepted into Columbia because this magazine has opened me up to the school. Once again, I love the magazine. Its amazing and I wish you and your team the best of luck. Keep it up!!

 

 
Janet woods
on Nov 07, 2014

I'm coming from a parent perspective as i have a freshman at Columbia this semester. I think Columbia has to be more selective and make a good effort to keep tuition affordable.  If Columbia wants to retain students, they need to challenge those students from day 1. If a student comes into Columbia and knows their passion and profession, then challenge them with a more rigourous path. The high cost of college has become a fincancial struggle for families, so we have high expectations and really consider the return on investment. If parents and student do not feel they are getting their money's worth, then they will leave. 

 
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