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WCC administration must understand technical education value

Yesterday, I wrote about the economic value of skilled trades and technical education. So amid the economic uncertainty, it’s disturbing to hear the College president say to the Board of Trustees:

“We also have the situation with our skilled trades. No one’s figured out yet how to teach skilled trades. Um, you know, I asked the International Brotherhood of Ironworkers – I asked them – ‘Can we borrow – do you have any curriculum that we can teach welding – that we can borrow – maybe, you know – online?’

And – and he said, “No Rose, you know, it would be like if you were teaching somebody how to cook, you’ve got to have an oven.”

So I was hoping there might be something – but I know our faculty are really – and I’m not just saying this to blow smoke – I know our faculty are really talented and can – will figure something out, like either flip classrooms or we’ll figure something out.”

Rose Bellanca, April 17, 2020

When I hear this, it tells me that the College President does not understand the needs of technical education. And if she does not understand the needs of WCC’s technical programs, she likely does not understand their value.

It tells me that she does not understand the concept of a flipped classroom, since flipping a classroom still involves the classroom. WCC has shuttered its labs, and no amount of classroom-flipping is ever going to open a closed classroom.

Finally, it also says that she does not value the faculty. Why would she approach a trade union to “borrow” curriculum when she has fully qualified welding faculty who could (and undoubtedly did) tell her the exact same thing?

Photo Credit: Bill Thompson , via Flickr