ERIC Number: ED309829
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Sep
Then and Now: The Evolution of a Non-Traditional Institution.
Heiner, Harold G.
The Whatcom Community College District (WCCD) was created by the Washington State legislature in 1967. With no money available to construct a traditional campus and no evidence that there was a sufficient number of potential students in any case, a non-traditional institution was designed, operating out of rented and borrowed classrooms throughout the district. The adminstration was composed of coordinators and program implementors and the faculty was entirely part-time. Underpinning the college's philosophy was a commitment to instructional techniques designed to reach individuals and small groups of students in ways that would best meet individual needs and learning styles. The advantages of the decentralized, noncampus college included its flexibility, the ease with which classes could be relocated, ample resources, and the lack of restrictions. However, as enrollments grew over the next 10 years, many of these advantages disappeared. Students taking more than one class often had to commute several miles between classes, and it became difficult to find enough rented classrooms to accommodate 2,500 people. Specialized facilities such as labs were also difficult to find, and rentals became less cost effective. Twenty years later, the WCCD now owns facilities, offering most classes in three or four major centers. The college employs an equal mix of full- and part-time faculty, has a traditional administrative structure, and occasionally uses the word "campus" to describe itself. The nontraditional instructional approaches of the 1970s no longer dominate, but have simply joined the menu of learning options available to students. However, in spite of these shifts, the college's educational philosophy and commitment to its students has changed very little. (JMC)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A