Google Hangout on Introduction to U.S. Community Colleges

Google Hangout on Introduction to U.S. Community Colleges

August 26, 2019 5 By Stanley Isaacs


AMIR: All right.
Good afternoon. Welcome to our
EducationUSA hangout on the Introduction
to U.S. Community Colleges. My name is Amir and I will
be your host for today. You can still post your
questions on Facebook at Facebook.com/Manila.USEmbassy
or at our Google+ page at Google.com/USEmbassyManila,
or you can also tweet your question using
the #EducationUSA. There are over 1,100
community colleges in the U.S., and many of these
schools are interested in enrolling
international students. Joining us this afternoon
are three community college professors who will discuss
what Filipino students might need to know about
this type of schooling. Our first speaker is the
Associate Professor of History at Waubonsee Community
College in Illinois. He will briefly talk about the history
of community colleges in the U.S. Let’s welcome
Dr. Timothy Dean Draper. Thank you for coming. DR. TIMOTHY DEAN DRAPER:
Thank you very much Amir. Good afternoon to all
our viewers online. I’m a – actually a
newly-made full professor – just heard the news – I have
a doctorate in American history from Northern Illinois University, and I’ve been teaching
at community colleges for almost 20 years
– 15 years full-time. And I appreciate this
opportunity to speak with you and speak
with our online audience, and have really
enjoyed the past month in the Philippines. What I’d like to do is to
tell you a little bit about the history of community
colleges in the United States. I think to understand where
the community colleges come from, one needs to
take a little bit of time to take a look at the development
of American education; particularly
public education. The slide that you see has
a picture on it that is thought to be the first book
published in the United States – “the Bay Psalm Reader.” And the intention of this
was to help early colonists to the United States,
in the 1600s, to attain Bible literacy
and the first schools in the United States
were really intended to increase literacy
among largely male population. After the American
Revolution, by the time you get to the
late 1700s, early 1800s, the shift was from religion
to more of a civic education, particularly with the
importance of documents like the Declaration
of Independence, the Constitution
of the United States – it was the idea that citizens
should be literate to be able to participate in the early Republic. Once again, this was
primarily aimed at young men. Linda Kerber, a well-known
American historian talks about Republican motherhood
where for women much of the education was done within
the family domain. By the time you get to the
post-Civil War period, the shift, particularly
because of large immigration from Europe, some from
China, some from Japan, Korea, certainly the
Philippines by the time you get to the turn
of the century, was the idea of
Americanization; that we needed to make
public schools by this time of the late 1800, early 1900s,
able to serve the needs of newly-arrived immigrants,
particularly understanding what the needs of being
an American citizen and becoming
an American citizen were. By the time we get to the
late 1800s, early 1900s, America, like much
of the Western world, is industrializing. Urban communities are
growing and there are problems with that;
sanitation, crime, juvenile delinquency, health
issues, and the progressives were a reform movement
intending to deal with many of these kinds of problems. One the issues that
they dealt with, particularly in the cities,
was how do we educate the immigrant population,
working class population? In Joliet, Illinois, there
was a joint venture between the then president of the
University of Chicago, William Rainey Harper,
and the superintendent of schools in Joliet, to create
kind of an entrée to higher education that became the
first American public community college –
Joliet Community College. Now what we want to do is to
shift from this historical perspective and to take a
look at our next slide the idea of how American public
education is structured today. And I suggested kind
of a two-tier system. The upper tier is much like
I think you have in the Philippines. We’ve learned a little bit
about the reforms that are going on in
public education, largely American public
education prior to universities or colleges
is the K-12 system. And I have suggested that
elementary – there’s an intermediate or middle
school and then a high-school system. On the higher
education level, the universities are the
premiere institutions – four-year universities,
like you have here with the University
of the Philippines, and they are very
scholarly based; that’s where people get
their baccalaureates, and there’s other
opportunities to go on for professional
or graduate degrees. There are also
vocational institutions. Our concern today are
community colleges. Community colleges are
intended – sometimes are called democracy’s classroom
because they’re open access. They can end up taking in
individuals who might have a challenge to get into
the universities. For example, we pretty much
have what is considered an open enrollment system. So at a community college,
if a student wanted to come in and had more of a
technical background, vocational background,
perhaps they didn’t take some of the hard sciences
or mathematics on the high school – what we call
a college prep curriculum, they can come into a
community college and acquire those kind
of basic skills; they can do some entry-level
courses that will end up helping them adjust to a
higher education environment. Community colleges in
the United States offer opportunities for
individuals in the hardest disciplines;
the most difficult: physics, chemistry
– the most important one, history, which I believe
– but I am biased – philosophy, religious studies, art, music
– but they also offer opportunities for
individuals who want to prepare a business
background. They provide opportunities
for those who want to go into technical careers, both
information technology and what we might think
of the trade sector. For example, automotive
maintenance is a component that attracts many
to our campus, which has a very
strong basis as well. So the community colleges
are really a multi-purpose kind of educational
facility; very versatile, very opening to different
kinds of students to come in and we find that it
– there’s a comfort level I think for students who might
feel that they’re not ready right away to enter into
a university environment, are not sure of
what their major is, but at the same time what
it does is provide an opportunity for those
who perhaps can’t afford a four-year school;
a cost-effective measure to go and pursue
higher education. AMIR: Thank you. I think we have a few
questions for you. OK, our first question
was sent via email: “Can you tell me the difference
between a community college and a university?” DR. DRAPER: Certainly. Community colleges are
really geared toward a two-year curriculum. So what sometimes we’ve
heard here in the Philippines is year one, year two,
would be freshman and sophomore years. And it is geared for those
individuals as a kind of transition from high school
to what we call senior institutions
or four-year institutions. So they’re getting that kind
of early preparatory work before they pursue
courses in their majors. Another big difference is
that universities in the United States, particularly
public universities, are large, and class sizes
can be anywhere from 30 to 300 students. Pretty much, at my
institution I think about 50 or 60 are the largest
classes – maybe as many as 70 – where the really the
teacher-student ratio tends to be fairly small;
one to 20, one to 25, so students get more
opportunity to work with their professors in that. And then the other big
difference that students should keep in mind
is that at community colleges, unlike universities,
those of us trained to teach really emphasize teaching,
not to say there aren’t great teachers
at universities, but really the emphasis there
is on research and publications, whereas at community
colleges we’re there to serve fundamentally
the needs of students. AMIR: Awesome. Our next question is: “What do you mean by
flexible curriculum? Is there someone who can
help select my courses?” DR. DRAPER: There are. We have advisors and
counselors who are available to do those kind of things
and, like universities, those of us in the faculty
are trained to advise people, particularly in majors
– what kind of classes to take, what kind of
career paths to take. Flexible curriculum I think
is that the community colleges were really one
of the first American educational institutions
to put an emphasis on distance learning. So we have, for example,
two-thirds of our history curriculum is online. We also have courses
that students can begin at any time
of the calendar year. We have courses that
range from three to four to eight to 16 weeks. We also have a lot
of opportunities for independent study. So that gives students,
particularly those who are working full-time, who have
individuals to take care of, dependent children,
elderly parents that they’re taking care of,
it gives them the flexibility of schedule
to pursue their educational objectives. AMIR: This next question
is from [INAUDIBLE] on Facebook. She asks:
“Will there be an age limit in regards to eligibility? “I presume this would
be a student visa. “Will we be allowed to work
on a part-time basis “and work as a part-time student
to augment the tuition fee? “Will we be as
non-U.S. citizens nor immigrants
be given grants?” You can answer the first
part of that question. DR. DRAPER: Yeah,
there’s quite a bit there and I really can’t speak on the
immigrant status and so forth, but a community college,
really, I think would work with students with some
of these kinds of needs. I think we just recently had
a graduate – my colleague perhaps can correct me
– I think she was in her 80s – who just graduated. I have also taught students
– I had a student online who was 13. She wanted to be a
professional tennis player and she was training
and taking online classes – it was perfect for her. So I have a whole range
of ages for students. So there’s no – nothing
in terms of limits on age. Most of our students,
frankly, are hard workers, and they are working 20
to 30 to 50 hours a week; so one of the things with
the flexible curriculum is it does serve the needs of
those who are working full or part-time jobs. So I think that certainly
that would help that student. AMIR: Awesome. Thank you. Well, thanks again for
presenting with us. DR. DRAPER:
Thank you for having me. AMIR: I definitely
appreciate it. Our second speaker
is Ms. Kathleen Westman. She is an Associate
Professor of Sociology also at Waubonsee
Community College. Once again, thank you
Dr. Draper for that very informative presentation
and historical perspective. Thank you for
joining us Kathleen. PROFESSOR KATHLEEN WESTMAN:
Thank you for having me here. It’s been wonderful being in
the Philippines for a month. We’ve traveled – we’ve
traveled as Fulbright scholars to the north
and to the south, and of course Manila,
meeting many, many different
people, all the great, fantastic food – it’s just
been a fabulous place – love the Philippines –
it’s more fun here. [LAUGHTER] My own background is
– I’ve had 17 years of social work and then
transitioned into the community college,
and you’ll find that a lot of the community college
professors will have some biography in the
work world as well. And so that’s very, very
helpful as far as being – as far as modeling what –
what a student’s own possibility could be,
I suppose you might say. But I’m a professor
of sociology. AMIR: That’s great. PROFESSOR WESTMAN:
And so thank you for having me and we will begin
with the first slide because I am talking about
the community college system in Illinois. And so Illinois
itself as a state is in the middle of
the United States, and I have the state circled
and so you can identify the location where
I’m talking about. In Illinois there’s
48 community colleges and they’re divided into the
– into districts. And so the second slide
shows the different locations of all the
community colleges. And so most people when they
go to a community college are able to drive or get
some sort of transportation daily to the
community college. And so the whole purpose of
the community college system is to make higher education,
your first two years of the four-year degree,
accessible; make it available. And that’s one of the
main primary functions of community college in
Illinois – it’s to make higher education
available to everybody, and as you can see from the
map of all the districts and all the community colleges,
just about everywhere in the States you can
find a community college where you can have access. And when you’re planning
what it is you might need in terms of your own academic
skills for a community college, entry is open. You apply and you
– as long as you have some sort of high school –
high school or, you know, K-12 or high school
level courses, you’re going to
probably get in. And if you don’t,
you will get in. And if you don’t have
all that you need, there’s all sorts of
courses you can take as a prerequisite to get
into the other courses. So it’s open and you can
get in as an international student, particularly as
long as you are prepared as far as planning
for college that you have the
high school requirements. And the whole – and going
into the community college, what your goal is to do, of
course, is to complete your first two years
of the four-year degree, but you’re going to be
transferring those courses. They’re going to be moving,
transferring into the four-year university that
Dr. Draper was talking about. And so that’s where you
wanna sit with a counselor and make sure that your
courses will transfer. And Illinois has a whole
system – whole system in alliance with the
universities that the courses will transfer. I teach Introduction
to Sociology. Every course I teach
– Introduction to Sociology – transfers automatically to
the universities when you’re ready to become a junior
– third level – and you transfer. And so most of the time
you’re gonna take 60 hours of courses total. Each course is three
hours, maybe five. And so the whole notion
is to hopefully transfer to the university level. But of course,
as Dr. Draper mentioned, there’s community college
degrees that only require two years. And so you’re certified
into different types of occupations and that translates you
into the work world. There’s all sorts of
great reasons to attend a community college
in the State of Illinois. This is – this is – going
from social work into a sociology professor,
it’s exciting for me to teach at
a community college. Relationships
with our students, academically providing
information, answering as many
questions as possible – you develop a relationship
with your professor. My office is open. I have office hours every
single day that I’m on campus, and students do attend
my office and ask all sorts of questions;
academic questions, if you have concerns, if you
don’t understand something, you come see the professor. We’ll work with you. No problem there. But the whole main point of the
community college system is that it’s accessible
and it’s affordable. It’s not super expensive. And that’s what
it’s all about. And the class sizes are
smaller than a large university for your year one
or year two, and the quality of
instruction is fabulous. [LAUGHING]
Just saying it – and, of course,
the transfer opportunities. That’s what it’s all about. It’s attending the first
two years of your four-year degree
and transferring that. Overall, as far
as in summary, the Illinois community
college system has 48 community colleges in
Illinois – just this one state – so you know of all of
the United States, there is many – AMIR: There’s tons of them. PROFESSOR WESTMAN:
Yeah, there are. It’s amazing. And so the average tuition
in my state is about $3,500 for the year. Do I have that right? I think I do. And so that’s for your
tuition and for your fees, and then of course you have
to buy your textbooks. And then course it’s ten times
that for your freshman year at a university – AMIR: Yeah, that’s right. PROFESSOR WESTMAN:
– as you well know. AMIR: Yes. [LAUGHING] And so just some
facts I’ll throw out there: More than half of the students
in the State of Illinois attend university. So 63% of all the students
in Illinois – I’m sorry – community college – 63%
of all students in Illinois attend public colleges
and they attend the community colleges. So the majority,
for instance, Introduction to Sociology,
most of the sociology majors when they transfer
to university, most of them took their
Introduction to Sociology at a community college. Right. And so, again, nationwide
about 60% of college students attend more
than one institution. So they’ll attend the
community college first for the first two years
and then transfer to university. And so it’s a good time to
be part of the community – a student at a
community college. The type of students
at the community college is richly diverse
in terms of socio-economic status, social class,
and in terms of age. There’s many people
who are parents who go to
community college. There is, as
Dr. Draper said, we have older students. I think at my college,
the average from the youngest to the oldest, the average
is 26 years of age. AMIR: Oh, wow! PROFESSOR WESTMAN: Yeah. And it’s a great way to
start your education. Yeah. Yeah. So – AMIR: Thank you so much. We’ll check to see if
we have new questions. I’m sure we do. Perfect, so our first
question for you, which came via email, is: “Do your schools have
international students “and do other students
like to hang out or study with these international students?” PROFESSOR WESTMAN: Yes. My college particularly,
and I know statewide, we do have
international students. And, in fact, I had a
lecture hall of about 60 students and there
were four students from the Philippines. AMIR: Oh, wow! Awesome. PROFESSOR WESTMAN:
Yeah. Filipino students. And they always sat in one
spot in the lecture hall and they got to know each
other very, very well. And, eventually, the lecture
hall got to know them very well, because when you’re
an international student on my campus,
you’re almost like an star. [LAUGHTER] Everybody wants
to know – it’s a global – it’s a global society,
it’s a global economy and everybody wants to know
about your location, your place and so – and at
the same time I know the students are very helpful
in terms of any particular academic needs and
questions, that kind of thing. But, yes, they do like to
hang out with international students and we do have a
location on every campus that’s the student center;
that’s where you get your coffee, your food, and
just kind of hangout, listen to your
music and study, and the students will
indeed hangout with international students. Absolutely. AMIR: Awesome. PROFESSOR WESTMAN:
Yeah, it is. And we have a brand
new student center. It’s awesome.
It’s gorgeous. So, yeah, it’s – and the
students have a good time. Yeah. And there’s
all sorts of student clubs and student activities,
and we have teams. You know, we have a soccer
– help me out here – we have many teams. Basketball particularly. We are very strong. We have a very dominating,
great coach that does very well in our state. Yeah, so the answer’s yes. AMIR: Awesome. Another question from email:
“Is the workload easier “at community college
than at other schools? How much homework do you
assign in your courses?” PROFESSOR WESTMAN: OK. Is the workload easier? The question here is,
remember we said that the courses transfer
to universities? AMIR: Right. PROFESSOR WESTMAN:
I did teach at Northern for a little bit, right,
Northern Illinois University – I am from a university – and now I’m at
the community college. How I taught at the
university is how I’m teaching at the
community college. And so you’re expected
– you’re expected to – in terms of homework in an
Introduction to Sociology course, you’re expected to read
about 30 pages a week. There’s a lot of discussion. You would have a one-page
reflective response to increase your discussion
in the classroom. I don’t know the word easy. I’m not sure how to
really answer that, but it is completely
comparable because the course at the community college
is completely comparable to the university. However, we have more
creative ways to address the learning needs of all
sorts of different students. So if you’re a little weak
here, a little strong there, I as professor, and I know
the other professors try to be as creative as we can in
our teaching strategies to make sure the
content is, you know, presented in a way that all
students will be able to get the information. AMIR: OK. So very supportive, but also
you have to put in the work – PROFESSOR WESTMAN: Yes, sir. AMIR: – in order to do well. PROFESSOR WESTMAN:
You got it. Yeah. AMIR: Awesome. We have a frequently
asked question. “How many classes to
community college students take at one time?” Is it a lot? Is it little? PROFESSOR WESTMAN:
Most students – if you’re going to be a full-time student –
if you’re gonna be a full-time student,
you’re gonna take what is called 15 hours. And, in my field,
in sociology, it’s three credit
hours per course. But remember the sciences
– if you’re taking – if you’re going into nursing
or if you’re going into the sciences, some of those
courses are five hours. And so the average
is 15 hours a semester. That’s considered
full-time, I believe, full-time student. But there is a lot of
students who are part-time. I’d say the majority of the
students are part-time, only because it involves
the whole community of people taking, but we do
have a large, large, large couple thousand
students who are full-time students and it’s five
courses usually a semester. But you work with your
counselor and get that all taken care of to make
sure that everything you’re taking will follow
the schedule of what it is your goals are. AMIR: OK. Thank you so much.
Thank you for presenting. We definitely appreciate
it here at the embassy. PROFESSOR WESTMAN:
Thank you so much. AMIR: Our last speaker will
talk about the experiences of students in community
college classrooms. He is an Assistant Professor
in Africana Studies and Anthropology
and the Chairperson of the Social Sciences Department
at Malcolm X College in Chicago. Let’s welcome Professor
Edward Davis IV. PROFESSOR EDWARD C. DAVIS IV:
Hello again. AMIR: Nice to meet you.
Welcome. PROFESSOR DAVIS:
Hi. Thank you. Thank you for
having us here. We’ve had a really great
time here in the Philippines for the past month,
and researching and learning about the ethno
linguistic diversity, and religious diversity,
human rights, and I’m just really happy
to be here to give this presentation today. So as you said, I teach at
Malcolm X College which is one of the City
Colleges of Chicago. As Professor Westman
just mentioned, there are 48 community colleges
in the State of Illinois, but the City of Chicago,
itself, has seven of those 48 colleges. Actually, if you break down
the population of the State of Illinois, about half
of the state’s population lives in Cook County,
and half of Cook County’s population is inside of
the City of Chicago. So we serve a great
deal of students. City Colleges of Chicago
is the third largest community college district
in the country after CUNY which is City University
of New York, and after Los Angeles
Community College District. We serve about 120,000
students per year. We have about 5,800 faculty
members who we serve – who serve our students,
rather, at City Colleges of Chicago. So we have a very large
population – very diverse population and we’re spread out
throughout Chicago which is one of the largest
cities in the United States – the third largest city
in the United States. I want to give a little
explanation about Malcolm X College itself. Some of this material
could be found in a book – I hope I can say this –
a book called “Malcolm X’s Worldview:
A Black Studies Exemplar” which is published by
Michigan State University Press. I wrote a chapter in that
book which describes the history of
Malcolm X College, and things of that nature,
and students might be able to read that if
they want to. But the history of Malcolm X
College goes back to about 1911, well before Malcolm X
himself was actually born. And this was the first
community college in the City of Chicago – Crane College
is what it was called. But with the Civil Rights
Movement of the 1960s, in 1968-69 many students
organized to change the name of the college to Malcolm X,
to honor Malcolm X, the civil rights leader. There were also moves to
name a college after Robert Kennedy
and Martin Luther King, Jr. We have Kennedy King College
in City Colleges of Chicago, and even in New York City
there were efforts to name a college
after Medgar Evers – a very famous civil rights
leader from Mississippi. So if you look at
the third slide, I believe – there’s a
picture of Malcolm X College which is located in
Chicago’s west side. And here I have a little
bit explaining some of the history of the college
and some of the things that I just mentioned. We serve a population
which is majority minority; meaning majority African
American, Latino, Asian, and so forth, which is
typically the case for many of the City
Colleges of Chicago, being majority minority-
serving institutions. We also have many students
from different age groups as young as teenagers
who are dual enrolled in high schools and in college
at the same time, up to students
who are 60-70, 75 years old – I’ve had students
as old as 75 years old in my classes. In one of my honors
classes that I teach, one of the greatest students
I had was actually a valedictorian
this past year. Graduation was held
in May, in Chicago, and he is from Nigeria. So we have international
students at our school who do very well; they excel
and they go on to universities – to four-year universities. As we said, the curriculum
that we establish and that we create and that
we institute in our schools, it is transferable to
four-year institutions – to four-year universities
in the State of Illinois or elsewhere. So this is, you know, very
important – a very important place to receive an
affordable education. As Professor Westman
mentioned, about 50% of students who attend college
in the State of Illinois, attend a community college
at some point in their life. My mother is a graduate of
City Colleges of Chicago; actually Olive Harvey
College in the south side before she went on to
University of Illinois to earn her degree. My grandmother, my
father’s mother, actually received her
certificate in, I think, it was in culinary arts
in one of the city colleges. My grandfather attended
one of the city colleges many years ago. So it’s a very important
place for people to receive an education. You see one slide in the
PowerPoint which shows a traditional university
lecture hall where some freshmen and sophomores
in some colleges might receive instruction. They might be one of
100 or 200 students. But the slide that follows
– this is actually a classroom at Malcolm X College where
our students number about 30 – maybe 25 to 35 –
and there’s a great deal of student-centered lecturing
and instruction. We call this andragogy
instead of pedagogy. Andragogy referring to
adults – instruction of adults. And so the education is very
much student-centered at the community college
and not professor-centered. At a university,
as my colleagues have said, at the university level
there may be a great focus on research that the
professor would do, which we do as well,
we do research and things of that nature,
but our primary goal is to teach the student,
instruct the student in small class sizes. And so the student at the
community college may get to know their professors much
better than they might at a university where there
would be another 200 students in the class with them at the
freshman, sophomore level. Once you move up into the
junior and senior level at a university – at a large
public university – you might have smaller
class sizes. It all depends
on the institution that you attend overall. So as I mentioned, the students
at Malcolm X College do come from many
different socio-economic backgrounds and do plan
on moving on to four-year institutions; some may just
be there to take a few classes. Maybe you have a job but you
wanna take Spanish classes or Mandarin, Chinese, right,
and you just wanna take those, and so you take
a few classes here or there, or you want to pick up
some sort of skill set. Within City
Colleges of Chicago, our seven campuses have
certain designated themed disciplines that
are specific to each campus. So for example, even though
I teach Africana Studies and Anthropology
at Malcolm X College, our focus is
health sciences. We’re around the Illinois
Medical District where there are many
hospitals and nursing schools, schools of medicine,
and so forth in that area, so our students
may earn associate’s degrees in the medical fields
and then you may go to Harold Washington College
which is downtown Chicago, right in the hustle
and bustle of downtown and pursue degrees
focused on business, which might be
the focus there, or education at
Harry Truman College, which is in the
north side of Chicago. So these are different
fields that people can focus on. But you can take some of
these classes at all of the campuses throughout
the City of Chicago – the seven campuses
of City Colleges of Chicago. As I said, we serve 120,000
students each year, so it’s a lot in a city
of three million people. That’s a lot of people
to teach and instruct. I don’t teach them all
[LAUGHTER] – just a few. Just – about – maybe
150 per semester. So I do teach
a lot of students, but it’s wonderful
– and about five classes. Although, as a
department chair, I teach less now because
I have to do some administrative things,
but I love teaching. It’s really wonderful;
really amazing. And I think any student who
attends a community college in the State of Illinois
or anywhere in the United States, will receive
an excellent education. Actually, in the past,
I taught at an overseas American embassy school
in Africa, and some of my students are now graduating
high school – I taught elementary at that time –
and some of my students are now graduating high school
going on to colleges in the United States
and Brazil and England; in many parts of the world. And it’s great to see
what they’re doing. And some have even gone to
community colleges in the United States – in parts of
Louisiana and elsewhere, and they’re doing really
great things coming from Africa to the United States
for community colleges and transferring on to
four-year universities. So it’s a great place
to study and work. AMIR: That’s incredible.
That’s awesome. Thank you so much. PROFESSOR DAVIS: Thank you Amir. AMIR: No problem. Let’s see if we have
a few questions for you. [INAUDIBLE] has another
question on Facebook for you. She states that,
“I am already a college graduate “and would want to pursue
a master’s degree. Am I eligible to enroll
in a community college?” PROFESSOR DAVIS:
Actually, yes. [INAUDIBLE] would be able to
attend a community college. We have some students who
have bachelor’s degree from other countries who enroll
in community college before they pursue a master’s
or some sort of graduate level work. There may be some
credits they need. Maybe two or three classes
that they need to get before they can be accepted into
a graduate program at a university
in the United States. And so we do have students
who come from overseas, who come to the
United States, enroll at community college
for a few classes and transfer those credits
on to the university. So that is
definitely possible. AMIR: Awesome.
So yes, you can. Another question would be,
“What is the social life like “at a community college? Is it true that most
students do not live on campus?” PROFESSOR DAVIS:
You know, there are some community colleges
that have dormitories, but the majority do not. The majority do not
– they may live at home with their parents or they
may live independently; if they’re of a certain age
they take care of themselves, they work full-time jobs
and they come to school after work. There’s a great
variety of students. I think at Malcolm X College
the average age of our students is about 23 to 25
somewhere around there, so we have the
non-traditional student who isn’t leaving high school
at 18 to enroll in college. We have students who
are a little bit older. But we have a very active
student government association and we have a very active
set of clubs that students join. Our Lady Hawks
– that’s our basketball team – they’ve won many championships
across the state and recognized for their
accomplishments. And then we have a soccer
team which has done great things as well. So we have a lot of clubs
and organizations that students are able to join
and feel a part of the community of the college
itself, which is the purpose of the community college
to educate the population of that particular
township or neighborhood. It’s really so that you can
be a part of the community and take classes
to enrich yourself, whether it’s inside of
the City of Chicago, in suburbs or wherever. The taxpayer dollars go to
create classes that people can take to learn what
they like to learn at an affordable rate. AMIR: We have one more
question for you. Many Filipinos tend to
ask me this question – PROFESSOR DAVIS: OK. AMIR: “Will I be able
to get a job back “in the Philippines
with an associate’s degree from a U.S.
community college?” PROFESSOR DAVIS:
You know, I would say that is probably
very likely. It depends on what the
institution where you’re seeking employment
– what they require. If they require a
bachelor’s degree, then you might need
a bachelor’s degree, not an associate’s degree. But you might be able to
earn an associate’s degree in the United States and
come back to the Philippines and work in that
particular field with an associate’s degree. Typically, what students
will do after they earn that associate’s degree
is transfer into a baccalaureate program. So that could be something
that students could do before they return home
to the Philippines. But you could definitely
get a job with an American associate’s degree back
here in the Philippines. It is a bonified and
strong credential to have. AMIR: That’s awesome.
All right. Well, thank you again. PROFESSOR DAVIS:
Thank you very much. AMIR: At this time I’m going
to be inviting all three of the professors to come
back up and if there’s any unanswered questions
that you may have, please ask them now. All right.
Thank you guys again. We have another
question via email: “I think community college
might be a good option for me, “but I want to transfer
to another school later. Will schools accept all of my
credits as a transfer student?” I think you guys touched
upon this before, but – PROFESSOR WESTMAN:
Yes, you – the answer is in Illinois, yes most of those
courses will transfer. However, you definitely
want to sit down with your counselor and check
and make sure exactly what that looks like. There are some exceptions if
you are – if you are weak in a particular subject
and you have to take a prerequisite course it’s called
– a course to prepare you for the college course
– it usually does not transfer. And so there are some
courses that may not transfer. It’s only those preparatory
courses that you may need because you’re a little
– you need some improvement before you go into the
course that you need. So double-check
with your counselor. It’s also available
on the website of the community college
that you’re interested in and – and, but the answer is
yes, almost most of them do. PROFESSOR DAVIS:
And just to add to that, we have a website
in Illinois called ITRANSFER.ORG
which is part of the Illinois Articulation
Initiative program – PROFESSOR WESTMAN: Yes. IAI — PROFESSOR DAVIS:
– which we work with
the university system so that the classes
we create and that we teach are directly transferable. So you can check from
college to college for each 48 community colleges if
your class is transferable to the university. I wanted to add one
thing too though, I have students who
graduated with their associate’s degree who come
back to take classes at the community college
while they’re pursuing a bachelor’s because
they might pay $3,000 at the university
of XYZ, right, but we charge $300,
and that class is transferable. So even though they’ve
earned their associate’s, they’ll come back
and take one or two classes because it’s a lot cheaper
to take it with us and the credit transfers. So you can check that
with your counselor. PROFESSOR WESTMAN: Yes. AMIR: Another question: “Are there scholarships
available to community colleges?” DR. DRAPER:
There are a wide variety. One of the things
I’ve been able to do while at my
community college is serve on the committee
that gives out scholarships. We have them for academics. We have them for athletics. There are scholarship
opportunities for gifted students who
perform particularly well. I do know that at my
institution one of the prime considerations
is that of students’ need, and particularly those who
face economic challenges in going to college and
pursuing higher education. That is a priority
for the school itself. There’s also outside
organizations. Three that I know of that
I’ve participated in – one of the proudest
moments I had, as union president
at our college, was establishing a
scholarship fund by faculty where we give three annual
scholarships to students. I know the Illinois State
Historical Society – its scholarship program
may go to benefit community college
students as well. So there are a variety
of opportunities. AMIR: Another question
– very popular again amongst Filipino students because
a lot of them have to wear uniforms for their schools. “Do students wear uniforms
at community colleges or at your
community colleges?” PROFESSOR WESTMAN: No. [LAUGHING] We were at PNU yesterday
– yesterday was Wednesday – and Wednesday is the day
where they don’t wear their uniforms and it looked
like my community college. And so it’s free expression
as long as it’s appropriate, of course. What’s appropriate? You know, and so appropriate
would be maybe a t-shirt and pair of jeans,
or a t-shirt and a skirt or a pair of shorts
with a pair of gym shoes or flip flops. So no – the answer is no. No uniforms. You’re free to be. DR. DRAPER: I wanna add to
that, and I may be wrong, but just from what I’ve seen
as someone who has taught and attended both community
colleges and universities, I do think there’s
greater opportunity for personal expression. I think that because many
of them aren’t residential colleges and because there’s
a lot of opportunity for people across the economic
spectrum to attend community college, perhaps there’s a
little less peer pressure to conform to some societal
expectations and I think students feel very
comfortable with one another and they’re able to express
themselves in ways that perhaps not in some of
the other institutions. PROFESSOR WESTMAN:
That’s correct. AMIR: All right. We have time for
one more question. “Do I, as a student,
need to take the SAT to apply to
community colleges?” PROFESSOR DAVIS:
Well, I’ll say with City Colleges we have a – we have a test –
a placement test that people take when they come
to enroll in classes; the COMPASS test
is what it’s called. So the day that you show up
to register for classes, you take the COMPASS test
and that will place you in your English, reading, math
and those sorts of classes. Some students can be
eligible for certain scholarships if they take
the SAT or ACT exam and receive a certain score
which is important for those things in terms of
scholarships are concerned. But, typically, with us you
don’t have to take the SAT or the ACT. PROFESSOR WESTMAN: No. DR. DRAPER: I think
we’re very much the same – the same kind of thing. PROFESSOR WESTMAN:
Yes. Yes. There is ACT out there
and SAT out there, but it’s not a requirement
to get into community colleges because, remember,
the main – one of the main emphasis of a community
college is open access. And so there’s other
variables, of course, as we mentioned earlier,
so double check with the different community
colleges. It’s on their website. But, no, the answer is no,
you most likely do not need that. AMIR: Well, I wanted to
thank you guys so much once again for
tuning in with us. I thank the viewers for all
these wonderful questions. Unfortunately, we do not
have enough time for any more of your questions. But, once again, I thank the
professors here today for sharing their
knowledge and expertise to our viewers online. PROFESSOR WESTMAN: Great. AMIR: You can watch this
hangout – this Google hangout again later on
our YouTube channel, YouTube.com/USEmbassyManila. And please do not forget
to like us on Facebook – www.Facebook.com/
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Facebook page at Facebook.com/
EducationUSA.Philippines Again, thank you for
joining us this afternoon. Maraming salamat. PANELISTS: Salamat. Salamat. [APPLAUSE] PANELISTS: Thank you.