Thursday’s post, Trying to Attract Teachers in High-Demand Fields, was an attempt to find out if anyone has found a sustainable solution to what it takes to cut salaries to go to academia.
Several responded, with some snacks, the answer was to pay them more. Of course, if it was an option, we would have done that years ago. The Harvards of the world can throw money at people; Community colleges usually can’t.
Some have responded with a variety of “sponsor their labs.” Again, this may make sense in the context of a research university, but it is not really a community college model. And we don’t necessarily need people at the cutting edge of the hot field; We need people who can teach the first few years of the hot field before sending the student to a place where they are actually doing research.
The most thoughtful response I received was this:
“There are several approaches to use when the salary level is limited by the structure / culture / financial reality of a union or organization: 1. Allow faculty members in high demand areas (such as accounting, finance, nursing, data science /) Security) To spend time providing services. Local experts who are looking for more of your students will probably understand and help make this happen. 2. Summer support related to translational research that increases the likelihood of IP creation that could generate additional funding for both individual faculty members and the school. 3. Use shared gains (marginal consideration surplus) as an incentive for faculty members to help create new online programs in high demand that can lead to a unique definition of your scale. . Sharing profits is a neglected part of the real and valuable sharing regime. “
Point two doesn’t really work here, and point three needs to be translated. (“For marginal consideration surplus,” alternative “grant funds.”) But there may be something in the first point. To the extent that local employers are demanding for students with certain skills, those employers should put some skin into the game, be it in the form of employee time or institutional funds. We already do this with local hospitals: they provide clinical experience for our students because they need our graduates. A similar IT model, say, may apply.
The model will certainly need tweaking. Although they prefer BSN degrees, hospitals and other sites regularly hire ADN nurses and give them time to finish BSN while working. In areas such as cyber security, employment may be more scattered among different employers and employers may require a bachelor’s or higher degree before starting work. The closer the connection between college and job, the easier it is to seek help. When the years of undergraduate (or higher) study come first, it’s a tough sell. But the basic idea is understandable: if employers are serious about seeking a bachelor’s degree in these fields, they should be prepared to take steps to help it happen.
In many ways, it already does. Community colleges have had industrial partnerships for decades. For example, each Perkins program has an industry advisory board consisting of local people from relevant industries. They help ensure that programs remain relevant and current as technology and practice develop. In that regard, apprenticeship is the highest level of industrial partnership. They focus on long-term occupations, such as plumbing and HVAC. At least for now, cyber security is not like that.
If anyone has a great idea, please don’t think you’ve missed the deadline — I’d like to see it! Judging by the response from other community college people, the challenge is broad; Any realistic and sustainable solution is welcome.
Program Note: To understand what our new Terp will do, we’re going to a parent adaptation at UMD early next week. The blog will be back in a week.