Given the extraordinary regulatory and political challenges facing career education, what improvements/innovations does the sector need to implement to remain a leader in higher education?
The most difficult challenge in our sector from a regulatory and political standpoint is trying to stay ahead of proposed rulemaking. It is very difficult to guess the intent of new legislation until guidance is given. Most legislation is very general and takes several months or even years, in some cases, to comply, grasp and implement. Continuing education is a must in this sector because of how fast things change. For example, in the last couple of years, sector-changing regulations concerning ability to benefit testing, gainful employment, incentive compensation and program integrity were all introduced into the sector. In my opinion, the biggest change that needs to occur in the transportation education sector is that schools all need minimum standards. Things like behind-the-wheel and classroom time should have minimum requirements. Schools should be accredited along with curriculum outlines. Requirements on completion and placement rates need to be implemented.
Please explain the innovations you’ve brought to (or observed in) career education. What led you to recognize the need for these innovations? What has been their impact on students and higher education?
Innovations in career education are very hard to come by because of all of the regulatory and political challenges listed above. Between accrediting and governmental rules, it is getting more and more difficult to be innovative.
What quality about career colleges or their students motivates you personally?
We are a small school of 400-600 students a year, and I think one of the biggest motivating factors I have is staying involved with our students. I take great pride in knowing as many students as possible, in some cases both personally and professionally. Getting to know the students’ backgrounds and what motivated them to come to this school to better their lives helps me find more qualified applicants for the sector. Talking with the students also helps things like our curricula and making courses more student friendly.