The Trends Remain the Same: Education and the Future
When asked about what he sees as the most influential developing trends in education, Dr. Ron Hutkin, an SAS faculty member since 2004 says, "Two of the important trends or issues for the future are the same as the past. The issues are retention and articulation of undergraduate programs particularly at the associate and bachelor's degree level. These issues are significant because they have not been adequately addressed by policy and decision makers."
Dr. Hutkin paints a vivid scenario of what he means, "There are about 1,600 two-year colleges in the U.S. These institutions enroll about 6.5 million students, which is 40% of the total enrollment of 17.5 million students in higher education. At least 65% or 4.2 million students in technical and community colleges are enrolled in occupational, technical, business, or health-related associate's degree programs." He goes on to say, "In addition, the need for secondary teachers of technical, occupational, health and business subjects who meet No Child Left Behind (NCLB) certification and accreditation requirements will reach almost crises proportions."
Dr. Hutkin poses a very serious question: "The secondary and post-secondary faculties are aging. Where will we find qualified candidates with a bachelor's or master's degree to replace the retirees?"
But this 30-plus year veteran in higher education administration has an answer: "The process starts with large numbers of associate's degree students. A majority of them do not transfer to bachelor's programs. That is, these students face closed doors because their technical credits will not transfer to a bachelor's degree program. These closed doors were built and hung by policy and decision-makers who made some arbitrary decisions about the educational value of career and technical courses and programs. Let's weave and craft articulation agreements that will provide a seamless transition for students and offer them life-changing experiences and unexpected opportunities. "
Articulation agreements are a particularly poignant issue for Hutkin since he himself had once earned an associate's degree in Machine Tool Technology and was amazed he was able to transfer those credits into a bachelor's program in Industrial Education. Articulation helped put him on the successful career path he continues to enjoy today.
Dr. Hutkin concludes with an inspiring challenge, "University of Phoenix could be a leader in providing community college/technical institute graduates with a technical associate degree transition to a bachelor's degree and help to make the dreams of thousands of students and future instructors come true. This kind of articulation also has the potential to create new jobs and to help rebuild America."