In January I wrote about a terrific book called, ""Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America's Universities." Based on the authors' thorough research and impressive credentials, I suggested that Indiana policymakers might be moving in the wrong direction by increasingly pushing high school students to Ivy Tech Community College. The research suggests that if a four-year degree is the ultimate goal, students are much more likely to finish if they start at a four-year institution.
Not surprisingly, I drew some criticism from Ivy Tech supporters.
Now, lo and behold, comes a Massachussetts community college advising potential engineering students that, if they want a job, they should go somewhere else.
On the Web site for its engineering program, Greenfield Community College notes:
"While a person may sometimes be able to find a job with only an associate degree, these positions are few and far between. Most engineers need a minimum of a bachelor's degree. The pay makes up for the investment in your education."
Greenfield has ended its certification programs in engineering and now offers only an associate's degree in engineering science, which gives students without an adequate math and science background the knowledge they need if they want to continue study. The program's emphasis is now on helping students transfer.
"Do two-year, sub-baccalaureate credentials encourage people not to reach too high? Not on an individual basis, but on a systematic basis they do," Amy Slaton, a professor at Drexel University who studies the history of science and engineering, tells InsideHigherEd.com. "It's not that the sub-baccalaureate experience is, by definition, inadequate. It's just that, often, it doesn't hold the seeds of further opportunity, and it really should. The commitment to pre-transfer signals a commitment to students."