Reporter’s notebook

  • Maryland cuts 4-year degree requirements for certain state jobs
  • CUNY launches new online education initiative
  • Merged institution to be named Minnesota North College
  • Dual-enrollment figures for 2019
  • ‘Cheer’ on the road

Maryland cuts 4-year degree requirements for certain state jobs

Maryland announced this week that it will reduce the four-year degree requirement for thousands of state jobs, becoming the first state to do so.

Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday today announced the workforce development initiative, which will be led by the Maryland Department of Labor and the Maryland Department of Budget and Management. The state will work with partners to recruit and market for jobs in the IT, administrative and customer service sectors that don’t require a four-year degree.

“Through these efforts we are launching today, we are ensuring that qualified, non-degree candidates are regularly being considered for these career-changing opportunities,” Hogan said at a press conference (see video, below).

Maryland employs more than 38,000 individuals, and the state estimates that more than half of those jobs can substitute relevant experience, training and/or community college education for a four-year degree. There are more than 300 currently open state government jobs that no longer require a four-year degree.

Private employers desperate to hire also can benefit from tapping qualified workers who don’t have baccalaureates, Hogan noted.

CUNY launches new online education initiative

The City University of New York (CUNY) will use $8 million in federal stimulus funds to develop a new initiative to build online degree capacity at CUNY and produce high-quality online courses and programs.

CUNY Online will provide cost-effective services to support all 25 CUNY campuses, including community colleges, in developing new online programs and expanding existing ones, according to the college system.

“The shift to online instruction that took place during the pandemic demonstrated the great promise of technology to help us meet students quite literally where they live, but course materials need to be optimized, and best practices incorporated, to realize the full potential of these tools,” CUNY Chancellor Matos Rodríguez said in a release.

CUNY Online will provide dedicated personnel to support academic content development, including instructional designers, production staff and project managers. The team will aid faculty in academic content development, course design and delivery effectiveness. CUNY Online will also provide student support services, including around-the-clock tech support, expanded tutoring and early access to new technologies.

CUNY Online is in the initial phases of its launch, with plans to select and develop a first round of seven to 10 new online associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs by the end of 2022 that will be in place by spring 2023. The initiative is expected to have completed 13 to 20 new programs by fall 2023.

Merged institution to be named Minnesota North College

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities board on Wednesday approved the merger of the five community colleges of its Northeast Higher Education District–Hibbing Community College, Itasca Community College, Mesabi Range College, Rainy River Community College and Vermilion Community College–into a single accredited institution with six campuses.

The merged institution will operate as Minnesota North College starting May 23. All six campuses will remain open under the new structure. The Higher Learning Commission, Minnesota North College’s regional accrediting body, has also approved the merger.

Under a one-college model, students will have access to a more robust selection of courses and career programs, which will be accessible across six campuses with a single application and one transcript, according to Minnesota State. It also will simplify essential student services, such as registration and financial aid, while still providing local, on-campus support.

In addition, a single college will lead to more clear and consistent collaborative efforts with regional K-12 and industry partners as well, the state system said. It will boost operational efficiency by better focusing resources on mission-centric functions and improving long-term financial sustainability.

Dual-enrollment figures for 2019

About 28% of high school graduates in 2019 took dual-enrollment courses, according to the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) High School Transcript Study released Wednesday.

Dual-enrollment coursetaking by course subject ranged from 3% of graduates taking visual and performing arts or world language and literature courses, to 13% of graduates taking career/technical education courses.

Among all career and technical education course subjects, high school graduates in 2019 earned more credits in six course subjects than graduates in 1990, including communication and audio/video technology, engineering and technology, and information technology. For health care sciences and hospitality and tourism, graduates in 2019 earned more credits than in any previously reported year.

In five subjects, graduates earned fewer credits in 2019 than in 1990, most notably in business and marketing courses.

‘Cheer’ on the road

The cast of the popular Netflix series “Cheer,” which includes members of the cheer programs at Navarro College and Trinity Valley Community College, is taking their championship routines on the road this summer.

Cheer Live 2022 will feature an exhibition of the two rival Texas programs that will include new stunts and stage performances, sans scores and time limits. Monica Aldama, who has led Navarro College to 14 national cheer championships and co-created the live show, will also join the tour.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.