Thursday, April 7, 2011

Students are the lifeblood of a college like Coker

Our first and our ultimate mission at Coker College is to provide a quality education for our students that will prepare them for a lifetime of learning and earning.

As part of the Sabbatical that I have had the privilege of having this s, I was able to undertake a research project that has involved trying to determine the impact of the Coker College communication education on the lives of the students who have graduated during the ten years I have been serving on faculty. If I can develop an effective report, our department is hoping to be able to use this research as part of our evaluation or assessment of the effect of our programs. The graduates were gracious with their time. Out of 86 people on the list I think I was able to get the survey to 81 and had 64 individual responses. Of those responses, more than 60% said they would choose communication as their major if they were to redo the college experience. At the same time, nearly 70% of those responding said the field of work they are no in was not what they had thought they would be in while in college.
That note is a preface to the idea of college admissions, which is the idea that sparked this post. Earlier in the day Dr. Robert Wyatt, Cokers' president, noted a separate blog that was about students not getting into the colleges to which they had applied. Coker was mentioned in that blog as a college that has a rolling admissions policy and one that takes applications into May.

A bit later in the day I had the good fortune to be introduced to a high school soccer player who has begun to look at college options in the Southeast. She was with Coach Dan, our women's soccer coach as he hosted her visit. Coker is pretty much the type of college that if you do visit you will have an excellent idea if this is the fit for your four-year college experience. Our Admissions people and our student ambassadors do a good job of presenting Coker as it is, giving prospective students (and parents) an authentic view of the campus.
We are a small liberal arts college that puts our students first. All of our classes are taught by faculty members whose primary evaluation is how they do with students in the classrooms, labs, studios and other educational venues. Those faculty who choose Coker and are chosen by Coker have teaching as their first job. That is a major reason I say students are the lifeblood of our Coker Community. While research, writing and other academic pursuits are important, it is the classroom that counts.

There is an ongoing country-wide discussion of the value of a college education, the work ethic of those who provide that education and other issues that a providing justifications for such ideas as decimating the Pell Grant program, that provides students with a financial need some funding for their college.

We are seeing the demise of the Middle Class in this country and actions like eliminating funds that help middle class students and even lower middle class students attend college is just going to exacerbate the divide between the rich and the rest. Good, solid college educations for students who are not from the rich is what is going to keep this country strong. That is the kind of student who is the lifeblood of Coker and we think that is the kind of student who is the lifeblood our country.

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