Defining Moments …

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This post was started back in April 2012. I’ve decided I’m getting rid of all my lingering drafts! SO therefore, I can’t finish it because I have no idea what my thought process was back then .. but bear with me. Enjoy!!

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I forget that I’m smart. I forget that I enjoy engaging in intellectual dialogue and the exchange of free thought because it is not a part of my daily life. You would think that it would be, being that I am *hopefully* in the last year of my Masters degree and that I work at a college. But the fact is, not everyone enjoys a good back and forth exchange as much as the next. Also, when in class, those old feeling of “self doubt” and “don’t belong” here creep back up. But the other day I was a part of a twitter discussion that really reminded me that I do have a  passion for what I do and maybe, MAYBE, i might want to go exceed my current aspirations and proceed to a doctoral degree.

In my personal higher education experience I have attended a large publicly funded state school. I think Rutgers would be classified as a Research I institution. I also worked there for several years after graduation. I then began to work at a for-profit college and had to shed some of my biases I had regarding them in order to do my job. But not really understanding what being a for-profit college meant. Then I began to attend an “elite” private not-for-profit University. NYU is a university that lets you know you are one of the many elite able to attend. The classes are filled with an elitism that oozes when the students (most of whom work for NYU) talk about for-profit colleges.

Never having an interest in for-profit colleges prior to working at one, it was natural that I spent time researching and formulating new opinions. Have I read every piece of literature that exists? Of course not silly people. But I have read enough to know that, just as all not-for-profit colleges are equal, neither are for-profits. Some for-profit colleges aren’t worth the names on the awnings outside their buildings or web pages, but some do serve a population. And regardless of my feelings about the practices, working there I have to do my best to help students. Right? Because if people continue to have thoughts that these colleges are second rate, and the students are slackers, lazy, people who couldn’t get into a traditional 2 or 4 year college, then the students don’t get the teachers they deserve or the services they deserve. Professionals won’t want to work there. Right? Some call it career suicide to work at a for-profit. They say once you go for-profit, you won’t g back to work for a traditional college. Is this life? Are we so stratified that we are saying even the people who work there aren’t good enough to go elsewhere? The reality is that the University of Phoenix is the school that awards the most degrees to African Americans. Not an HBCU. Not an Ivy League. University of Phoenix, this mega giant for-profit school.

Let’s not forget that stats lie. I ran some numbers while working on a paper last semester. And this is what I found. Its easy to say enrollment grew 400% when the numbers started small. But make no mistake. I am NOT lobbying for the validity of for-profit colleges. I’m saying that they are doing something other schools are not to entice students to enroll, and graduate. In 2010 Berkeley College (for-profit) graduated a larger percentage of their students than Kean University. I found this out when I discovered collegecompletion.chronicle.com while in class today. Kean graduated 17 % of its students. Kean is on the probation for failing to meet its accreditation standards. Is Berkeley College better than Kean. NO, that is not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is there are some things going on here that need to be understood.. and THIS is what interests me.

Ok, sorry I lost my train of thought. Anywho. I have discovered through my work and own personal bias that my interest to focus was access and transition to higher education for minority students. But now, I think its more than just access that matters. Access is at an all time high (allegedly) and more minority students are enrolling in colleges and universities across these here United States. But what they aren’t doing is graduating. Why?

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