Home' Campus Technology : August 2012 Contents 2) Don't Let Your Program Exist in a Vacuum
When it comes to actually teaching these specific skills, there
also has to be open communication between industry partners
and the school, especially in fields related to information tech-
nology, where industry standards evolve at breakneck pace.
"We can't sit in a vacuum relying on our own expertise, be-
cause there's just no way that our faculty and subject-matter ex-
perts can be everywhere and experience everything that's going
on externally," explains Kunsman. "Obviously, there are industry
secrets and proprietary information that different companies
own, but, where possible, we ask them to keep us abreast of
what they're seeing, whether in government or private industry.
That helps us maintain and prepare a pipeline of new workers---
and upgrade the skills of their current workforce."
When AACC's CyberCenter was established in early 2010,
AACC became the first community college to map its cyber-
security curriculum to the Committee on National Security
Systems 4011 standards and subsequent 4013 standards. "Our
curriculum has to be on the bleeding edge," explains Kunsman.
In fact, AACC has already rewritten the curriculum and require-
ments for a digital forensics certificate introduced in September
2011, based both on information from advisory board members
and information available to the general public. "For academia,
that's really unusual, but technology changes quickly," says
Kunsman. "Once you patch up a hole in a network, hackers find
a new way into a system."
Once an advisory board has identified a new tech skill needed
in the workforce, the community college must ensure that its
faculty members master the skill in order to be able to teach it to
students. In Kunsman's CyberCenter, professional development
usually happens seamlessly because the adjunct professors who
teach most of the center's classes are still working in the industry.
"Because this is a relatively new field, most of our faculty are
current industry professionals employed in a number of different
sectors," explains Kunsman. "Our students get
real-world, hands-on experience based on what
these experts see happening in their particu-
lar arena, whether it be government, defense
contracting, or other industries." If faculty
members don't bring a particular skill set
from their workplace, Kunsman sends them out for professional
development, upgrading their skills in new certifications related
to the cyber arena.
Just as community colleges can turn to government-funded con-
sortia when it comes to researching industry needs, they also can
partner with other groups to help develop student skills. SSCC,
for example, manages a number of registered apprenticeship pro-
grams in its Building Sciences and Aviation departments. Work-
ing out in the field, student apprentices get firsthand experience
with new technologies deployed by industry professionals.
Students in the cement masons and plasterers apprenticeship,
for instance, learned how to use new technologies for permeable
concrete---designed to meet energy efficiency and sustainability
requirements---at pace with industry professionals. "If there's
a demand within the marketplace, an apprenticeship program
adapts to those industry needs very quickly because of that close
association with the workforce," explains Gordon.
The aerospace apprenticeship at SSCC is linked to Washing-
ton state's Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee, a state-
run initiative comprising industry employers and the Interna-
tional Association of Machinists. To support its apprenticeship
programs, the committee maintains a mobile training unit that
travels to companies and community colleges across the state.
"No one school or company could afford all of the specialized
training software and equipment that are on that truck," says
Gordon. "It's a really powerful way to aggregate resources and
share them out."
3) Leverage National Needs for Local Gain
For-profit schools, such as ITT Technical Institute, often seem
able to react to industry changes faster than community colleges.
AACC's Rawhouser, who has experience working in the for-profit
If faculty members don't bring a particular skill
set from their workplace, AACC sends them out
for professional development, upgrading their
skills in new certifications.
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