Faculty Voice Newsletter: February 2017: Update on Enhanced Non-Credit Courses

by Claudia Close

On the 11th of January, Dr. Sofía Ramirez Gelpi from Allan Hancock College visited Cabrillo to give a well-attended, stimulating and informative pre-flex seminar on developing our fledgling noncredit program.   Noncredit courses offer Cabrillo the opportunity to serve a population in our county that can be profoundly benefited both in terms of beginning their path to acquiring a college education but also in terms of gaining sustainable employment. Further, because we receive apportionment for these students, it is an important step in supporting Cabrillo’s financial health and ability to continue serving all our students. The best uses for noncredit courses are:

  • to serve as entry gateways to credit degrees,
  • to support credit courses as remedial modules and,
  • to prepare professionals for career development.

Initially the administration is only interested in developing enhanced funded courses and those courses included in the Adult Education Block Grant (AEBG). These include:

  • English as a Second Language
  • Elementary and Secondary Basic Skills (incl. supervised tutoring)
  • Short-Term Vocational (incl. apprenticeship) provide instruction on specific career-technical instruction or college preparation. (These courses require coordination with Gerlinde Brady)
  • Workforce Preparation – Think of these as soft skills: these courses provide instruction for speaking, listening, reading, writing, mathematics, decision-making and problem solving skills that are necessary to participate in job-specific technical training.
  • Programs for adults with disabilities. (AEBG)
  • Programs offering pre-apprenticeship training activities conducted in coordination with one or more apprenticeship programs approved by the Division of Apprenticeship Standards for the occupation and geographic area. (AEBG)

There are many challenges ahead for the program including the following:

  • Campus-wide coordination and development is complicated and technically challenging. Dr. Ramirez Gelpi urged that the administration of noncredit programs be kept with that of credit programs and that they continue to be a faculty driven process.
  • She recommended that full time faculty also be encouraged to teach noncredit courses. Currently full time faculty must take noncredit courses as overloads. This suggests a possible need to renegotiate noncredit courses as part of the full time load.
  • The outreach and marketing of noncredit courses are of necessity different because we’re targeting different student populations.  At Allan Hancock and other colleges that are running successful and vibrant noncredit programs, outreach goes to the fields, to churches, to food banks and it is very much a “boots on the ground” effort. Further, these students very often need assistance with registration which is usually performed by counsellors and volunteers. As we continue to move forward with this process it is very likely going to require additional resources for Counselling and for the A&R and Financial Aid staff.

A complete copy of Dr. Ramirez Gelpi’s PowerPoint is posted on the Resources page of the Cabrillo College Curriculum webpage.