S.C. Higher Education Tour: USC duplicates Technical college services?

The purpose of the Higher Education Tour is to look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of higher education facilities in South Carolina, to promote discussion of how we can streamline the overall system and offer a broader range of overall education opportunities to all South Carolinians, which can help improve the incomes and quality of lives of individuals as well as help attract better economic development prospects in our communities.

As an aside to the tour, Wednesday's edition of The State discusses how the USC system is working to streamline the transfer process from those who start college in the technical college system. This begs the question of why USC needs to hold onto its two-year feeder campuses, duplicating courses and degrees which are offered by our state's excellent technical college system?

USC aims to boost transfers from Greenville Technical College from last fall’s 31 students to hundreds with a Bridge program university officials say will ensure a Greenville Tech student a seamless admission to the Columbia campus after one year of successful academic work.

USC president Andrew Sorensen said Tuesday he envisions a parallel academic experience between students who sign up for the Bridge program and those who begin their college lives on the Columbia campus.

If the USC people have an answer to why South Carolina needs to continue to have two duplicating junior college systems, as always, the Blogland is ready, willing, and eager to hear from them.

8 Response to "S.C. Higher Education Tour: USC duplicates Technical college services?"

  1. moye 24/5/07 22:50
    Maybe if we throw enough money out there they will come.
  2. The Prodigal Student 24/5/07 22:53
    Apparently the CofC and Trident have a similar understanding. And, as the State article points out, the quality of students coming out of GTech is as good, or better, than a portion of the incoming, in-state freshmen. I agree with your point that the existence of satellite campuses for USC diverts scarce dollars away from the TECs of our state, who have, it seems to me, a leaner operation that works. Plenty of studies exist that tell us that a 4 year college is not, and should not be regarded as the only ultimate academic achievement. But access to a four year program should be available to every graduate of a 2 year school that has demonstrated the commitment to earning that degree.
  3. Earl Capps 24/5/07 23:48
    Prod, if CofC and Trident have such an agreement, it's the first I've heard of it. I left one and went to the other in the fall of 2002. All they do is send over admissions advisors, which is a shame because they could partner with CofC's north campus, which is minutes away.

    Trident and The Citadel have partnered for the "2+2" program for their Civil Engineering program, and it's a pretty smooth process. It's an excellent example of how smart planning can help both schools offer their students more and avoid duplication.

    I agree with you that the Tech colleges are run much leaner. They embraced online classes years ago, saving millions of dollars by reducing the demand for new classroom space, and their multi-media classrooms and a/v facilities are as good and sometimes better than those found at four year collegs.

    Thirty years back, when Tech colleges were focused solely on technical education programs and the USC two-year campuses were the only opportunity for rural students to get their feet in the door towards a four-year degree, having the two systems made sense. Now, they have evolved and grown, and as such, it's time to reconsider how we're doing things.

    If you took the rural 2-year USC campuses and converted them into Tech campuses, one could then choose whatever they wanted - from college transfer programs to practical courses and programs that would develop their skills. This would be far better than a USC campus which was limited to just the college transfer courses.

    But this is not a state known for having rational and coordinated higher education policy making.
  4. west_rhino 25/5/07 12:42
    Earl, with the hydra that sits atop the post secondary system, the higher education policy making "system" is prone to stop and sputter. Some of the old USC two year regional campuses have blossomed, as Coastal Carolina in Conway into four year facilities; but the maintaining of fiefdoms in an environment so nurturing of change leaves us with this mess.

    One piece of this puzzle I happened on during my undergrad daze(sic) was that regional campuses provided some departments an opportunity to farm out PhDs and other instructors while keeping them in they system, replete with the throttle back a bit on pubish or perish syndrome for those disciplines requiring the research facilities on "the mother ship". Just how symbiotically could we benefit SC State, the Cid, Clemson, USC, Winthrop, C of C et al were we to work out a system that provided the richness and breadth of their respective faculties to the regional TECs, while providing our engineering schools the chance to harness the existing technology to maximize the return? Personally I think that some of the local school districts (Charleston County in particular) would cower with the prospect that the implementation could gut the system of hedgrows, moats and walls that protect warlords fiefdoms...

    My ideas would probably have to be force fed to the unwilling that would do what they could to subvert them and maintain the status quo that keeps them comfortable and so ill serves our students.
  5. Pabst Blue Ribbon 25/5/07 13:37
    How come we have people like THEM making the decisions about higher education, instead of people like we see HERE on this blog?

    It looks like nobody seems to like the present state of affairs in higher education, except those who make a living in it.
  6. Anonymous 27/5/07 20:32
    Great! Your answer is to cut out education. The history of this state is not a pretty one for education and the reason is that we've never given it much importance and we're now paying through social problems. Did you know that 19, yes nineteen states have parallel systems of university two year colleges and technical/community college systems and the research shows that this is the best mode? Maybe in your next post you can seeth over the fact that only 48 percent of college costs are spent for instruction and act like Mark Twain's famous statement. This does not take into account that in the buildings in classrooms, there are lights, heat/air and in other buildings there are computer labs, counselors,etc. This is an old dead horse that has been beat to death for 35 years to no avail. Where would we be without the educational services we have, or would it be better to symbolically say, hooray, we cut out a few million in "fat".
  7. Earl Capps 27/5/07 22:54
    I love anonymous posters - you never know what surprises they'll spring ...

    "Your answer is to cut out education." - Now where did I say that?

    "act like Mark Twain's famous statement" - What famous statement?

    Last time I looked, facilities and equipment cost money too. I'm not so stupid as to assume they don't. But I will ask if we're getting the most out of what we have - by not pushing more classes online so students can participate from off campus, by avoiding having two parallel collegeg systems that both give Associate's Degrees, by looking to see where we can explore partnerships to share the load, and so forth.

    The point of the Higher Education Tour is to prompt some discussion about if the money we allocate is being spent as best as it possibly could, not to call for cuts.

    As someone who sits on the regional Workforce Investment Board, facing a major shortage of skilled labor that is hurting our ability to bring good paying manufacturing jobs to the Charleston area, I am concerned that we are not making the best possible investments in higher and technical education.

    If you have something more substantive to add to the discussion, then I hope we'll be hearing from you.
  8. west_rhino 29/5/07 11:32
    Earl, missing from the arguments so far, is that USC is the one state university handicapped by a second board of trustees that can throw a rock from the State House grounds and hit the campus, even with a weak throwing arm.

    Couple that with the usual turf war mentality that goes with directing someone to let go and cede that turf to a county or regional authority, you have one massive element of the inertial damping of change.

    As to an anon's "famous misquote", the blogger Clements would today tell us that, "It is better not to comment anonymously and appear to be a fool rather than to check Anonymous and remove all doubt."

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