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The World of Short-Cycle Degrees. Clifford Adelman Michigan Community Colleges 21 July, 2011. Not a new story, but one we don’t hear much about. Short chapter in The Bologna Process for U.S. Eyes (April 2009) ATLANTIS program and its Toledo (US) conference (October 2009)

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the world of short cycle degrees

The World of Short-Cycle Degrees

Clifford Adelman

Michigan Community Colleges

21 July, 2011

not a new story but one we don t hear much about
Not a new story, but one we don’t hear much about
  • Short chapter in The Bologna Process for U.S. Eyes (April 2009)
  • ATLANTIS program and its Toledo (US) conference (October 2009)
  • Special issue of The Community College Review (October 2010)
  • Occasional AACC Convention sessions.

The U.S. audience has been limited.

what are we going to do today
What are we going to do today?
  • Look at the position and status of credentials analogous to our associate’s degrees in other countries.
  • Pay particular attention to those that are seen as part of the 1st cycle (bachelor’s)
  • Provide some examples of programs built around specific competencies more than specific courses (or credits)
  • Propose what the U.S. has learned---and what it has yet to learn---from these intermediate-level credentials.
  • Tie our own emerging Degree Qualifications Profile---and the associate’s degree at its core---to a global trend of stronger intermediate-level higher education degrees
why are we taking this route
Why are we taking this route?
  • Despite the volume of awards, our associate’s degree has limited imagibility, limited currency, and limited appeal to students.
  • To demonstrate how intermediate level credentials can take a strong position in national---and international---credentialing systems.
  • Adding to our epiphanies when we look at our system through the eyes of others.
what do we need to know as background part 1
What do we need to know as background, part 1?
  • These are ISCED 5B degrees, i.e. they are included in higher education. Our pre-baccalaureate certificates are ISCED 4, and are NOT considered higher ed.
  • These are nearly all based on 2-year (sometimes 3-year) programs. In what others call “notional time,” they are 2 ½ year programs.
  • All are considered the standard intermediate level degree in their systems.
  • The Bologna Process in Europe has strongly influenced both the evolution and demise of short-cycle degrees there.
some countries with short cycle credentials old new shaky and gone
Some Countries with Short-Cycle Credentials: Old, New, Shaky, and Gone

Australia Japan Austria

Belgium Korea Finland

Canada Netherlands (both gone!)

Croatia Slovenia Portugal

Denmark Turkey (new)

England U.S. Romania

France Sweden

Ireland (shaky)

what do we need to know as background part 2
What do we need to know as background, part 2?
  • These degrees can be offered by many different kinds of institutions, but some countries bind them to one type of school, e.g. Korea, Netherlands
  • A majority---if not all---short-cycle degrees are offered by private institutions in systems such as Korea, Japan, and those of Eastern Europe
  • In most other countries, the position of short-cycle credentials is determined by national qualification frameworks (something like what is proposed in the DQP in the U.S.).
  • Some are stand-alone and terminal; others are part of the bachelor’s degree.
what do we need to know as background part 3
What do we need to know as background, part 3?
  • Where new, introduced with specific access policy goals, e.g. Portugal in 2006
  • Where established, adjusted with respect to Bologna cycles, e.g. France (DUT)
  • Some are high volume with dramatic growth, e.g. Foundation Degree in England, since 2000
  • Some still low volume, despite high profile, e.g. Netherlands, since 2006
what do we need to know as background part 4
What do we need to know as background, part 4?
  • Data are hard to come by, and often contradictory, e.g. Canada
  • Longitudinal studies, where they exist (e.g., France, England, Netherlands) (a) are too short and (b) do not pay attention to the role of the short-cycle degree.
  • For the most part, these are not open-access degree programs.
what do they all do
What do they all do?
  • Involve non-education partners
  • Diversify the range of subjects and pathways for postsecondary study
  • Draw on a wider range of age groups than traditional higher education

Sound familiar?

Yet there is nothing comparable to an A.A. or an A.G.S.

examples of those that are part of the bachelor s degree
Examples of those that are part of the bachelor’s degree
  • Swedish “Diploma,” basically a default or insurance policy in bachelor’s study (the French DEUG functions the same way).
  • English Foundation degree, subject or occupationally oriented, developed and delivered jointly by universities and Further Education Colleges
  • French occupationally-oriented DUTs, delivered by IUTs across the street or on the same campus with universities
  • In both French and British cases, add a year and you have a bachelor’s, but the rates of continuation are very different: 25% for the French; 50+% for the Brits
presentation of dut variant 1 gestion logistique et transport
Presentation of DUT, variant #1: Gestion logistique et transport
  • Profiles of what graduates do (manage physical distribution, international transport, site procurement, post-sales support)
  • Competencies for each semester of study in English (conversing with an interlocutor, reading professional documents, drafting commercial correspondence), economics, organizational behavior, commercial law, etc.
  • The competencies are not separate courses, rather learning outcomes; and faculty have a variety of options for eliciting those competencies.
presentation of dut variant 2 information communication
Presentation of DUT, variant #2: Information-Communication
  • First year course modules in economics, epistemology of information, integrated soc/anthro/psych, and an open slot.
  • Student workload time stamp for each module, adding to 130 hours.
  • Option tracks in journalism, public relations, org. communication, and publishing come in the 2nd year.
  • Short list of competencies for each module.
let s try another one economist from a private provider in slovenia
Let’s try another one: “Economist” from a private provider in Slovenia
  • Like the DUT, admission is not open-door (e.g. 3 years secondary school occupational program + 3 years work experience + exam in Slovene lang & lit + exam in either math or foreign language).
  • 1st year: business terminology in foreign language, business communication, informatics, business math with statistics, economics, accounting, management. You can’t do this without a high level of literacy and a decent math base. 2nd yr specialization, e.g.accountancy
  • Learning outcomes divided among generic, disciplinary, and soft skills, though sometimes with mushy phrasing.
and another but for different reasons multimedia designer in denmark
And another, but for different reasons: Multimedia Designer in Denmark
  • A 2-year program in which the student is allowed 4 years to finish, with formal application for stop out.
  • Compulsory core of visual design theory, digital communication, design of navigational and user interfaces, and media sociology. Then specialization.
  • All outcomes expressed as competencies (learning, cognitive, innovation, relational [ in “networks,” not “teamwork”], and communication).
  • Project-based exams every semester; digital prototype reports; student stands for an oral examination.

No one in a program such as this needs remediation.

the irish way competencies at level 6 out of 10 in the nqf
The Irish Way: Competencies at Level 6 (out of 10 in the NQF)
  • Knowledge: breadth
  • Knowledge: kind (theory)
  • Know-how & skill: range
  • Know-how & skill: selectivity
  • Competencies: contexts in which knowledge & skills are applied;
  • Competencies: roles both autonomous and within multiple and heterogeneous groups.
  • “Insight,” i.e. requiring the student to express “an internalised, personal world view.”
why pound away at the competency statements

Why pound away at the competency statements?

Because that’s the way these short-cycle degrees attain their legitimacy and connection to larger degree qualification frameworks, national and European

it doesn t happen everywhere but that s the direction toward which we have to move
It doesn’t happen everywhere, but that’s the direction toward which we have to move
  • You don’t read statements like these coming from Canada, Japan, Korea, or the US.
  • You will start reading them in former colonies that seek to align their higher education systems to the colonial powers, e.g. Morocco to France, Indonesia to the Netherlands
and we have already established a base in the degree qualifications profile
And we have already established a base in theDegree Qualifications Profile
  • The DQP is a transformational document in clarifying the meaning of our degrees and guaranteeing their authenticity.
  • It’s “transformational” because it is grounded in explicit competency statements, not credits.
  • After all, it says “no competencies, no degree,” no matter how many credits and what GPA you have accumulated.
and we are doing this better than other nations have done
And we are doing this better than other nations have done
  • We start with a nested set of competencies at the Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s levels.
  • Our verbs describing what student’s do to be certified for each competence are snappy and clean.
  • Each step up the degree ladder ratchets up the challenge level.
And because the Associate’s degree (our Short-Cycle) is the foundation for this clarification and warranty. . .
  • We’ve got to take up the DQP’s iterative process, and
  • (a) clarify, modify and shore-up its student learning outcome statements;
  • (b) demonstrate the process of matching assignments and assessments to competencies in both general studies and occupational-specific program contexts.
all this is not exactly what the euros or australians did but

All this is not exactly what the Euros or Australians did, but

We had an epiphany simply by watching them.

Mantra: nations that learn from other nations grow; those that don’t, don’t!

what do we mean by snappy and clean language
What do we mean by “snappy and clean” language?
  • No dead-end nouns such as “awareness,” “appreciation,” “ability” (should be a red flag anyway), and “critical thinking.”
  • None of these is operational, i.e. none of them leads directly to assignments or assessments of any kind.
  • Instead, try: describes, cites, assembles, categorizes, illustrates, prioritizes, evaluates

All used at the Associate’s level in the DQP.

so how does one operationalize validate document
So how does one operationalize, validate, document?
  • Faculty look around at assignments and assessments they currently use that match the learning outcome statements.
  • . . .and if they don’t exactly match, tweak them.
  • And then, obviously, create some new ones.
  • Every learning outcome statement is then illustrated with a sample of such assignments and assessments.
  • You don’t get a working DQP any other way. Assessment is embedded in teaching, not post-hoc or add-on.
what we can learn when the associate s is part of the 1 st cycle part 1
What we can learn when the associate’s is part of the 1st cycle, part 1
  • For US transfer and articulation programs, both DUT and Foundation Degrees illustrate a cooperative undertaking with clear boundaries around which majors are in and which are out, and
  • Put a time bracket on both the transfer window and post-transfer period!!!
does this mean we get two kinds of associate s degrees

Does this mean we get two kinds of associate’s degrees?

Answer: we already have two kinds, but not this way!

enter tuning usa ally of the dqp and another bologna import
Enter “Tuning USA,” ally of the DQP, and another Bologna import
  • Except the Euros have yet to include their short-cycle degree programs. For us, the associate’s is front and center.
  • Tuning does at the discipline-specific level what the DQP does at the generic degree level, though the process is different.
  • So far, we have got Graphic Arts in Minnesota, and Nursing, Social Work, and Business in Kentucky---all cases where the degree is offered at both associate’s and bachelor’s level.
  • Tuning USA is a state system undertaking, and so far we have 5 states and one interstate compact.
what we can learn part 2
What we can learn, part 2
  • In a truly cooperatively developed program, the student will be taking classes with the same faculty on both sides of the transfer line.
  • Alliance models increase the quality of advisement and counseling, hence the likelihood of degree completion.
  • Our current “alliance” models are neither systematic nor have reached critical mass. We have some work to do here.
we have a global labor market now in case you haven t noticed so
We have a global labor market now, in case you haven’t noticed, so
  • Everybody is in the act of “convergence.”
  • Does that mean copying? No. But it does mean creating degree programs that are analogous and transferable across borders.
  • And the line for doing that is through reference points of coverage (e.g. tools, software) and explicit learning outcomes statements.
we ve covered a lot of territory but need concluding advocacies
We’ve covered a lot of territory, but need concluding advocacies
  • A national community college consortium to take on the DQP in the same way the Council of Independent Colleges has done for their 4-year members.
  • Regional community college involvement in the DQP projects undertaken by WASC and the HLC of North Central.
  • Organized monitoring of Tuning USA projects by those in non-Tuning states.
  • Studies that match models and profiles of associate’s degree programs across borders.
isn t that a lot of work

Isn’t that a lot of work?

Oh yeah! But we’re at tipping points in this world where you can’t run away from the tasks!