Starting next Wednesday and continuing every Wednesday into March, I'll be visiting a campus of the Minnesota State Colleges and University System to talk to students about their outlook. The economy certainly paints a bleak picture, but young people usually tend to have hope. Is hope still alive? And what journeys have brought people to their particular campus?
I'll have multiple postings each Wednesday evening on what I find.
Here's the schedule. If you're on one of these campuses, I look forward to talking to you. You can find me at the campus cafeteria or student center.
January 14 - Century College. White Bear Lake
January 21 - Vermilion Community College. Ely
January 28 - Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Minneapolis.
February 4 - Winona State University. Winona.
February 11 - Minnesota West Community and Technical College. Duluth.
February 18 - Lake Superior College. Duluth
February 25 - Minnesota State University. Moorhead
March 4 - Hennepin Technical College. Eden Prairie.
I'll be in each location from about 10:30 a.m. to noon.
Meanwhile, posting will be a little light today. I'm on my way to Winona to talk to a school official about the Feb. 4 visit.
I think it would be good if you asked the students how well prepared they felt for college after they spent a semester or two on campus. In surveys I have seen there has been a great need for remedial courses once a student arrives. It costs the students and even the schools alot of money because many students are not prepared.
Since education is getting a lot of our funding attention in the down year, it could be an indicator about how the system can be changed so that students are better prepared for the next stage in their education.
It does not seem that the test method we are using now really determines how well prepared a person is for a profession, but how well they can take tests.
Should be an interesting project. I'm looking forward to hearing not just what their outlook is now, but whether they have changed plans in the last 6 to 18 months based on changes in the economy and/or our political leadership.
My brother works for Riverland Community College in Albert Lea. Their computer classes are booming in this economy with mostly second-career students who were either laid off or are planning ahead.
Looking forward to following this project.
Re my earlier post, overall registration at Riverland is up, not just the computer courses.
Although the economy has definitely slowed down, education can still lead to employment. Want ads still exist. The problem arises when students expect any college degree to lead to a good job. Some programs are designed to get a job, others are not. Students need to seriously evaluate their options.
These schools all focus on fairly similar demographics, thus you're not going to get the full story. Try a college like St. Thomas, St. Olaf, Carleton, or Macalaster to get a more complete image of what college students think about their prospects for the future.
No offense intended to any of those schools. They're all fine schools. However, they -- along with the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus -- get about 99.9% of the attention from the media to the extent that whenever higher education is discussed, one gets the notion that there are only five institutions of higher learning in Minnesota.
Going outside of the media comfort zone to tell the story is part of the initiative. And also, as I indicated, those schools are all VERY different and that is also the point.
The issues that affect St. Thomas, St. Olaf, Carleton, Macalester, and the U will never have a hard time getting their stories told, partly because so many media people went to school at one of those institutions.
The same cannot be said for the students at the schools I'm visiting over the next three months, which is one reason I'm visiting them.
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit campuses within the Minnesota State Colleges and University System; moreover, having dialogue with us students from across the state. This past fall semester, I’ve been to numerous campuses, from Pipestone in Southwestern Minnesota, to Virginia where Mesabi Range Community and Technical College is located, which is not far from Vermilion.
As you tour the two year campuses, you’ll hear students concerns regarding the high cost of tuition in Minnesota, transferability of credits from one college to another, the quality of our education, plus a host of other concerns impacted by the state budget short fall. I am a student at Century College in White Bear Lake. The first campus you’ll visit. I’m also a statewide student leader for The Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA).
You ask who or what MSCSA is all about? Taken from our website MSCSA.org, you’ll find the following: “The Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA) is an association of the Minnesota public two-year college students, which works to ensure accessible, quality, and affordable public higher education while providing students with representation, leadership development, and communication across the state.”
As a student driven association, we provide training and assistance to the two year campus student governments in the areas of advocacy, education, and leadership development. I look forward to meeting and conversing with you at Century, along with my fellow students.
Finally, we students at the community and technical colleges from across the Great State of Minnesota, more than 100,000 strong and growing, thank you for, “Going outside of the media comfort zone” to tell our stories.
I’ll also see you at other campuses that you’ll visit in the system within the coming months. Once again, thanks for taking the time to show how these campus meets the needs of their respected students and communities during these tough economic times.
Kary W. Bowser
Minnesota State College Student Association
Office: 651. 297.5877
Cell: 651. 587.7476
Thank you for writing, Kary. I look forward to talking with you and hearing about your own journey.