Traveling the Transfer Path:
Student Experiences at City College of San Francisco

Jennifer R. Myhre, MA
Sociology Department
University of California, Davis
Davis, CA 95616

This study was completed as part of the Cultures of Success Project: A Study of Urban High-Transfer Community Colleges, with financial support from the Ford and Spencer Foundations.  This report was developed at the request of the Office of Research, Planning and Grants at City College of San Francisco.  The interpretations and analysis in this report are solely the responsibility of the author of this report; no one involved in either the Cultures of Success project or in the Office of Research, Planning and Grants bears any responsibility for this analysis.

Additional copies of this report are available from:


While many of the participants and critics of the community college system disagree about whether community college transfer rates are a sign of a success or failure to make good on the promise of opening up access to higher education to those disadvantaged by social inequality, few ask community college students about how they experience the community college.  In this report, Jennifer Myhre describes community college life at City College of San Francisco and the process of transfer through the eyes of City College students.

Jennifer Myhre spent an entire academic year at City College of San Francisco in 1995/96 examining the college’s transfer function and interviewing approximately 30 faculty, 15 administrators and 60 students.  Her study is part of a national research project funded by the Ford Foundation to examine why certain urban community colleges successfully transfer as many students as they do to baccalaureate institutions.  The full study will be published sometime this Spring with profiles of eight urban community colleges including CCSF.

While there are no surprises in Myhre’s findings, it is a significant report for all faculty and staff to read and consider. Myhre gives us a roadmap of  where students find smooth pathways for meeting their transfer goals as well as roadways containing many “bumps” and “potholes.”  Reading this report helps to pinpoint what we do well and should expand, and what we do not do well and must remedy.  Students succeed in transferring to baccalaureate institutions because of the excellence of many of our instructors and counselors, our special programs such as Math Bridge, Puente, the African-American Achievement Program, DSPS and EOPS.  Barriers to success include certain college policies and procedures, the lack of timely and accurate information and student difficulties with the attitudes and outlooks of some instructors and counselors.

A timely response to many of the issues raised in Myhre’s report can be found in the Transfer Enhancement Plan completed last spring by the Transfer Enhancement Task Force, a temporary committee of the Master Plan Committee. Formed during the 1995/96 academic year. The Task Force reviewed the current state of the college transfer function (including extensive testimony from Jennifer Myhre) and then developed a set of recommendations which were then subject to an extensive scrutiny by faculty and staff at the college.  The net result was an agreement which has the support of all college constituencies. The Transfer Enhancement Plan (which was recently approved by the Academic Senate and will go to the Board of Trustees for adoption this Winter) will, we hope,  bring additional vitality to the college’s transfer function and attract additional resources to college transfer programs.

In addition to her delineation of the key issues related to the transfer function, Myhre also contributes to our understanding of how research could and should be conducted at CCSF.  Traditionally, we rely upon numerical data, quantifiable information, as the building blocks for purposes of accountability to the state and institutional effectiveness in terms of our own planning goals.  Ethnographic research, however, gives us additional insights into the student experience as Myhre notes:
“...interviewing allows access to the internal lives of community college students. The interviews analyzed here afforded me a chance to explore how students approach their education,  how they us the community college and how they experience it.  Interviewing is less useful for establishing causal relationships than it is for examining common processes students go through.”

Many faculty and staff are already beginning to experiment with focus group research at CCSF (see for example the up-coming report from the Planning Task Force on ESL/Transitional Studies or the work of the SCANS skills project).  This report on student transfer experience gives added credibility to the qualitative research methods. Hopefully, additional research projects utilizing in-depth interviews will be undertaken by faculty, administrators and staff in the near future.

Robert S. Gabriner
Director,  Research, Planning and Grants
January  1998

I. Methods and Sample

To inform my analysis, I draw upon fifty-nine semi-structured interviews with students who have attended City College.   The interviews were only one part of a year of field work at the college, which included interviews with faculty and administrators as well as participant observation in classrooms, meetings, and other events on the Phelan Campus.  The field work took place as part of a four year multi-site ethnographic study of urban community colleges with higher than average transfer rates to four year institutions, called the Cultures of Success Project .

The students interviewed for this paper included students attending City College from August 1995 to May 1996 (the period of the field work) as well as students who had transferred from City  College to local universities.  Student interviews included (but were not limited to) questions about students  background, educational experiences, academic aspirations, perceptions of the college, and issues around transfer to a baccalaureate college.  I identified student interviewees through a variety of strategies, including snowballing (i.e. asking interviewees for other contacts to interview), visits to classrooms, and a mass mailing to students who had transferred to a San Francisco State University from City College.

Throughout the process, I made every attempt to maintain range of variation across the student sample in ethnic background, class background, immigrant status and educational experiences.  (See appendix for description of student sample.)  While the sample of students I talked with may not have been representative in the statistical sense, my goal was to tap into as many different experiences of the college as possible.  European Americans, African Americans, Latino(a)s, Asian-Americans, and Filipinos were interviewed, in numbers roughly proportional to their representation at the college.  Over one-fifth of the students interviewed were immigrants, three were students with disabilities, and three were either gay or lesbian.

Unlike surveys which may sacrifice depth of response for larger sample sizes, interviewing allows access to the internal lives of community college students.  The interviews analyzed here afforded a chance to explore how students approach their education, how they use the community college and how they experience it.  Interviewing is less useful for establishing causal relationships than it is for examining common processes students go through.

II.  Paths to Transfer Success

Transfer is a key indicator of student success because people who attain bachelor's degrees have higher occupational prestige and income than those who receive only associate's degrees.   If transfer is a goal, we can imagine two primary paths by which students might successfully transfer from City College to a baccalaureate institution.  First, students may enter the college without intending to transfer and while at CCSF raise their aspirations and plan to transfer.  I refer to this process as "heating up."   Second, students may enter the college with the explicit purpose of transferring.  These students need to maintain those aspirations and follow a transfer plan in order to succeed.  I refer to this process as "staying hot."

Heating Students Up.  Some sociologists have argued that student aspirations strongly influence their probabilities of success.  The argument proceeds as follows: If students don't desire to transfer to a baccalaureate college, then it is unlikely that they will transfer.  They will not follow an educational plan, attain the skills, nor achieve the grades that will enable them to transfer successfully.  This is intuitively obvious.  What is not so obvious are the mechanisms through which the college helps to raise student aspirations.

In my interviews, students often told stories about teaching or counseling faculty that intervened in their academic lives.  Some of these stories are "rescue" stories.  Maria , a young Latina who came to City after high school without any clear educational plans, had been on academic probation and was about to be kicked out of school when a counselor she visited convinced her not to give up.  She explains why what he said made her feel she could change her situation: "I guess there's his background as far as family and his being a minority.  I think he can relate to a lot of stuff.  It's like everything he shot at me, it was like I could relate to it."  Maria enrolled in the transfer class, is trying to get her grades up, and hopes to transfer to San Francisco State to pursue a teaching credential.

It is not just the acts of individual teachers and counselors that help to raise student aspirations, but also special support programs.  Cristina, a biracial student and parent who identifies herself as Black Hispanic, was tracked into remedial math as a kid but is now considering pursuing science classes after going through the Math Bridge  program.  She recounts, "It was the first set of [math] classes I took and I got A's.  I was like, oh my god--I got all A's.  Then I got A happy and I had to have A's in all my classes.  So it kind of set the stage for me.  I think if everybody could get into a program to begin with like that, it was really supportive, and have really great teachers, it kind of gets you going 'Wow, I can do this, I really can do this.'"  Cristina plans to transfer to San Francisco State and hopes to go on to pursue a master's degree.

Luís, a Chicano student accepted in a handful of prestigious state universities across the country, had been involved in a gang in high school.  He says that he now wants to be an educator and eventually a lawyer thanks to his involvement in the Puente Project.  He remarks, Puente "made me realize just that I had to educate myself in order to get somewhere, to protect myself.  Not to protect myself but to know how to argue persuasively in the sort of touchy issues you come upon.  It motivated me my number one priority is just getting educated and coming back and being an educator."  Luís has a mentor through Puente, a Latino lawyer who gives him advice about how to succeed at the  university.

Cathy, a Filipina student, planned to do just one year in the international business program, when she ran across a flyer for City's study abroad program in Paris.  Cathy says that her semester in Paris helped her clarify her goals.  Now Cathy is going back to Europe for a year of study before transferring to San Francisco State.  As these stories demonstrate, acts of outreach and intervention by caring teaching and counseling faculty, as well as institutionalized mechanisms such as special programs and services, can alter the course of some students and encourage them to raise their aspirations.  While there were several examples of City College "heating up" some students among the ones I interviewed, more commonly students came to City College with the hopes of transferring to a baccalaureate institution eventually.

Keeping Students Hot.  Successfully transferring students who intend to transfer when they enter City College isn't as easy as it might seem.  City College students can face a staggering array of barriers--the necessity of working full-time while attending school, the need to care for children or sick parents, the effects of inadequate elementary and secondary schooling, considerable poverty, physical or mental disability, racism and sexism, and the sedimentation of disdain or discouragement from educators or family members.  City College has relatively little control over the circumstances of students' lives; however, the institution can provide supports that may prevent those circumstances from lowering student aspirations or derailing students' educational plans.

Once again, the intervention of teaching and counseling faculty can help students maintain their desires to get a bachelor's degree.  Joan, an African-American woman in her thirties, started at City College in 1987 but had to stop in 1990 to take care of her ill mother.  She is close to getting her associate's degree and plans to come back to City to finish her transfer units.  She described how her counselor helped her stay on track: "She gives me motivation.  'You can do it.'  Like the courses I need to take--'Go on and take them.  You can do it.  I'm pulling for you.'  She just makes you want to do it.  She makes you just want to just keep going."  Her counselor also introduced Joan to the Transfer Center, which Joan has used to make her transfer plans.

William, an immigrant from Nigeria, planned to transfer from City College all along to enter pre-medical studies at State.  However, he worked forty hours per week and really struggled to stay in school and keep his grades up.  He managed to transfer in three years, thanks to efficient scheduling and a counselor he saw at the end of each semester to figure out which classes to take next.  He commented, "She gave me the motivation.  Even though I have it, I needed someone to direct me, show me.  That's what she did."

Brandy studied accounting for two years and almost transferred to San Francisco State when she decided to change her major to sociology.  She faced a lot of disapproval from her family for this decision.  Brandy commented that it was important to her that her counselor was also an American-born Chinese, like she was: "For me the counselor, I can talk to him with my private questions because he is American born.  He has faced a similar situation as I have with the parents' pressure.  He just gave me a lot of ideas on how to deal with my parents."  Brandy has been accepted to transfer to the University of California at San Diego.  A couple of students have had counselors help them fill out the transfer applications right in the counselor's office.

City College's wide-ranging student activities program also serves to support students' transfer goals.  Jennifer, a Chinese American student accepted to transfer to UCLA and waiting to hear from Berkeley, was recruited into a student club by a faculty member; she comments on how her experiences in student activism have changed her: "In three years I have that much more confidence in myself.  I believe in myself that much more and I might be going to Berkeley, I tell my parents, somewhere never in my life did I ever think that I could ever apply to."  Miguel, an international student from the Philippines, described how his involvement with the International Students Association helped him get over a rough patch: "We support each other.  Like the time I was looking for a house.  One of the members allowed me to stay at her house for a week.  That was a big help to me.  Also, I'm involved with the Filipino club, but I think I'm closer to the ISA.  I think we're in the same boat--we're far from home, we have different families, we understand each other."  Thang, a Southeast Asian American student, really appreciated the help he got from the faculty member who sponsored the club to which he belonged: "He is always willing to give help about school stuff, personal stuff, other things.  For me, he told me what schools, I should try for Stanford, I should go for a scholarship.  He offered to write me a scholarship letter and things like that."  Vicki, a European American student accepted to transfer to a state university on the east coast, found that playing on one of City College's women's sports teams helped her stay in school because she needed to maintain 12 units per semester to keep playing; she remarked, "A couple of times I tried to go back, I dropped classes rather than sticking with it and taking the bad grade.  I couldn't do that when I was playing sports."

Beyond student activities, targeted programs can have enormous impacts on students, supporting them through difficult circumstances.  Shawna, an African-American woman with a learning disability, praised the services of the Disabled Students Program, including tutoring, early registration, and counseling: "God, those people saved me."  Jane, a European American re-entry student with a learning disability, also credited the DSPS with keeping her in school.  She describes an afternoon when she took a timed thirty minutes algebra test and had an anxiety attack: "Basically, I came into DSPS, just started crying, and bingo there's somebody there to take you outside, take you for a walk and figure out what the hell is going on.  Honestly, if I hadn't had that, I would have just quit school."  The staff at the DSPS also told Jane when it was time for her to move on and transfer.

Over a dozen of the students I interviewed commended the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services.  The book vouchers made a big financial difference for them and early registration helped them get into the classes they needed.  Students also took advantage of the peer tutoring offered by EOPS.  Many credited the fact that they had to see a counselor regularly, and that they often built up a relationship with a particular counselor, for keeping them on track in terms of taking the right classes to transfer.  Brandy, a Chinese immigrant to the U.S. who was accepted to transfer at UC San Diego, found out about the transfer center from a counselor at EOPS.

While the social-psychological aspects of transfer are significant, so is the role of academic achievement in propelling students toward successful transfer.  Carl, a returning Chinese American student, explained how one of the instructors he had early on at City spent time in class on teaching students how to take notes, a skill that has served Carl very well in his other classes.  Carl also described the struggle he faced in passing one of the math classes he needed to transfer: "I had to actually spend every day working on this math class.  It was a statistics class.  As I mentioned, the head of the department taught it and he was a great teacher and that's the only reason why I passed it."  Like Carl, Robert, a European American student, praises many of his instructors for their help outside of the classroom, "With all of them I had a feeling that I could ask them questions and that if I had problems I had someone to turn to."  Teaching faculty not only help students struggle through difficult course material but they help convey the vibrancy and intensity of learning.  As a result, some students get caught up by intellectual excitement; a European American re-entry student commented about starting school at City College, "I feel like I'm turned on.  I'm excited about living, I'm excited about learning things.  My level of curiosity is really high.  I'm motivated, I want to do well, I want to interact with people and learn."  Finally, teaching faculty also can provide students with the foundation of skills and knowledge they need to succeed in further education.  Across the board, the students with whom I spoke who had already transferred felt academically prepared by City College for their courses at the receiving institution.

City College has a variety of mechanisms for keeping students' aspirations up and helping them stick to their paths to transfer.  However, as many faculty and administrators with whom I spoke during my year of field work recognize, transfer rates are not as high as they could be.  More specifically, City College needs to improve its transfer rates for African-American and Latino(a) students.  In the next section, I highlight some of the barriers students encounter on their way to transferring.

III. Barriers to Transfer

Even for students that aspire to transfer, the transfer path is not always smooth.  Students encounter both speed bumps that slow their progress and potholes that may considerably damage them.  Often, these speed bumps and potholes occur in the student's life outside City College and cannot be influenced by the institution; parental or child illnesses, for example, may force students to abandon their studies in order to take care of sick loved ones.  However, students face some of the obstacles on the transfer path through their experiences at City College itself.  In this section, I offer what students have described as factors that have either slowed them down or damaged them as they have tried to pursue their transfer goals.

Speed Bumps on the Transfer Path.  The most commonly mentioned factors that slowed student progress had to do with City College's bureaucracy.  Students complained about their difficulty in getting into the classes they needed or in getting in to see a counselor and of long lines at registration and counseling.  Matt, a European American re-entry student, commented that he had a hard time getting into math classes he needed to transfer.  Maria was nearly kicked out because she got on academic probation but never saw a counselor about it.  She says she never made an appointment with a counselor because there was always a line at the counseling office and she kept putting off waiting in it.  Several students indicated that they had problems getting financial aid or were made to feel like beggars when they went to the financial aid office.

There was a mix-up on Marisol's City College transcript when she applied to San Francisco State.  She said that she cried when she first got the rejection letter from State: "First I wasn't going to do anything about it.  Then I said, well maybe I should just forget it or something and go back to apply for art school because I bombed out.  Then I said, no maybe I should talk to them anyway.  I have the right to know why...I felt like this was it, this is as far as I'm going to go and I felt like, you feel like somebody just put a wall in front of you."  Marisol, a European American single mother, had to re-apply to State the following semester.

Students also described "getting the run around" or misinformation from faculty.  William was advised over the course of his time at City College to take twenty-two units of coursework that turned out not to be transferable.  For each student I interviewed who had some complaint of misinformation, they had several friends who had also had negative experiences with teaching or counseling faculty.  Cathy, a Filipina student, expressed her mistrust of the counseling department: "Each counselor tells me something totally different and I don't get anywhere.  The way I did it best was on my own I'll go to the transfer center, get some information there, and then get in touch with the school you want to transfer to, rather than talking to people here."  Anita, a forty-three year old European American student, has wasted time taking classes she didn't need due to misinformation from counselors.  Shannon, a re-entry European American student on welfare, was told not to apply to a local private college by a counselor because they "wouldn't be interested in anybody like you."

Most students don't tell such horror stories, but for many just the basic bureaucratic details can be wearying.  As Diane, a European American student, put it: "Nobody was very supportive and there was a lot of bureaucratic paperwork and this and that to get straight answers about what transferred and what didn't transfer.  It seemed like I had to be very ambitious to figure out how to take the right classes that transferred."  If this was true for Diane, who relied on a husband who had already been through college to give her advice, then it is doubly true for Không, an immigrant from Vietnam, who explains her situation eloquently: "I have to every step by myself.  My parents, they doesn't understand English and I have to do it.  I don't know how to get into college and I have to go to every workshop and listen, then go step by step.  Nobody helped me, I just do it by myself."

As Không's story illustrates, because so many City College students are immigrants or have backgrounds of extreme poverty, they often don't have the kinds of skills and knowledge that middle class students do about how to negotiate bureaucratic institutions.  This is particularly true for students whose families have very little experience with higher education.  Such students may lack adequate study or time management skills, they may feel afraid to approach counselors or not know  what kinds of questions to ask them, they may not know what kinds of services the college provides or how to find out about them, and finally they may not know how to take the concrete steps to transfer even if they have transfer aspirations.  While City College is not responsible for the lack of resources that its immigrant or poor students face, there are services at the college that can help students build such skills if the necessary outreach is done.

Finally, the ease of dropping courses at City College is an institutional policy that also can affect student progress.  Heather, a European American student, dropped math several times because she was so intimidated by the material and by the instructors.  One of the ways in which students exercise control over the quality of teaching in the classes they take is to drop classes when they don't like the instructor.  While this can prevent students from suffering through bad classes, it can also delay their progress through required courses for transfer.  When students I interviewed did mention dropping a class because of the instructor it was most often because the instructor would refuse to answer student questions or was in some way derogatory or insulting to the students.

Factors that may slow students' progress through the college are significant because of the disadvantages students face in their lives.  The longer the student takes to finish up their transfer requirements, the greater the likelihood that circumstances in their personal lives may arise that prevent them from finishing school.  Even more important than these speed bumps on the transfer path are the factors that may actually damage students or cause them to lower their aspirations.

Potholes on the Transfer Path.  The most commonly mentioned experience that students experience as damaging or destructive is racism.  Bobby, back at City after a stint in the Navy, plans to major in genetics and hopes to transfer to a historically black college.  As an older African-American, Bobby often feels that instructors patronize him, try to belittle him, or treat him like he's a thief.  Bobby's anguish is palpable when he speaks of it: "People feel that you're going to do something to them.  I hate that feeling.  They think that you're going to hurt them.  I'm not here for that."  Bobby is on academic probation and he's afraid that the college is trying to kick him out rather than help him do better.  Joseph, a younger African-American student who had an A average at the private high school he attended, left City College after an altercation with an instructor who publicly insulted his intelligence in a class.  Joseph later returned to City College because he had children and wanted to become a more educated father.  His experience this second time around has been much more positive.  He found out about the Transfer Center because a counselor from the transfer center approached him in the hallway and invited him to come check things out; he found out about EOPS when a faculty member took him there.  However, the racism Joseph experienced the first time around could easily have been the end of his higher education--it was Joseph's desire to be a good father that propelled him back.

Racism isn't a phenomenon experienced only by African-American students as Katie, a Chinese American student, pointed out: "I thought the racism was quite strong on the campus, and it wasn't just towards blacks.  It was definitely towards the Asians, definitely.  Everybody was saying that they were taking jobs and filling up the classes, and that American kids couldn't go to school.  I heard it all."  Katie went to a dean about an instructor she felt was racist and felt she didn't get any response.  She has grown resigned to racism and it has not prevented her from fulfilling her plans to get a bachelors degree from San Francisco State but clearly experiences of racism in no way enhance the likelihood of student transfer.

Other students recount being mocked by faculty or hearing faculty members make derogatory comments about the academic level of community college students.  Diane, now attending San Francisco State, told me about her first English class at City College:
 Diane: My first English class, I had this teacher.  I was like at the bottom of the English class with like fifth grade students.  He basically told the class that probably only, chances are that none of us would finish City College and few of us would ever transfer.  That basically that's the way it was.  That made me just want to prove him wrong.  I don't know if that was his point.
Jen: Do you think that your response was typical of the other students?
Diane: No.  In class I was always like, you know, the way he would always put us down and make us feel really stupid 'cause we were in a stupid English class.  I would always say things and a lot of kids just sort of ignored him."

While the experiences of the students discussed in this section were not universal, neither were they extremely rare.  Most of the students I interviewed survived such incidents without too much long term damage but students who aspire to transfer may travel some pretty rough terrain to arrive at their destinations.  City College could facilitate transfer by trying to remove some of these hurdles on the transfer path.

IV. Conclusions

A popular bumper sticker asks us to "Practice Random Acts of Kindness."  In interview after interview with students at City College, I learned that what most influenced students' lives was not random acts of kindness but nonrandom acts of help, intervention, and encouragement.  Teaching or counseling faculty that knew the student or staffed the program in which the student was involved chose to intervene in a particular student's life.  These acts of help or encouragement may be small to the faculty making them, but they are very large to the students who benefit from them.  Given the severe disadvantages that many City College students face in their lives outside the college, the sum of these small acts of help and encouragement may be what keeps students hanging on.

V. Suggestions for Further Research

If we are interested in discovering the causes of transfer success, it would be important to survey a random sample of students when they first enter the college and then to follow them over time, surveying the same sample of students repeatedly in semester intervals.  Traditional variables found to influence the probability of transferring include student demographic characteristics, student high school achievement, aspirations, and integration into the campus.   Of these, City College can influence only the latter two variables.  A longitudinal survey should focus particularly on variables that the college can alter.  Further interview and focus group research with students can be used to help operationalize these variables.  This report has suggested mechanisms through which student aspirations can be both raised and maintained, as well as potential obstacles on students' paths to transfer.  The relative importance of each of these processes in predicting transfer could be assessed through the kind of longitudinal survey I've described here.

Appendix: Description of Student Sample
Total sample: 59

Female: 40
Male: 19
Ethnic/Racial make-up:
White: 23 (39%)
Asian/Pacific Islander or Asian-American: 19 (32%)
Latino or Latin-American: 7 (12%)
African or African-American: 10 (17%)
Immigrant status:
U.S. citizens: 38
Asian immigrants: 9
Latin-American immigrants: 2
Other: 2
International students: 6
Age range: 20 to 62, over two-thirds under thirty years of age

Transfer information:
 Number of transfer students: 21
 Number who had been accepted to transfer: 8
 Number who had applied to transfer but hadn't heard: 4
 Number who hoped to transfer someday: 22
 Number who had no transfer plans: 5 (two of these already had BA's)
 Ethnic breakdown of those accepted or already transferred
  White: 14
  Asian or Asian-American: 8
  Latino or Latin-American: 3
  African or African-American: 4

The slight over-representation of white students, who make up approximately 39% of our sample and only 29% of City College's credit enrollment, is probably due to the fact that  many of the transfer students were contacted through a mass mailing to a local state university with postcard reply.  The sample of students who replied to this mailing was  predominantly white.

Non-User/No Experience 
Use of instructional resources varies considerably according to computer expertise even for non-computer applications.  The only exception is the use of textbooks, which is high among all faculty regardless of computer expertise.  In general, advanced users are more likely to use, or want to use, all kinds of instructional resources.  For instance, advanced-level instructional faculty are not only more likely to use computer classrooms-- they are also more likely to use overhead projectors.  Use of overhead projectors is as follows:  60% of advanced users, 52% of intermediate users, 45% of beginners, and 21% of non-computer users.  Note, not only is use low among non-computer users—interest is as well; only 12% of non-computer users would like to use overheads.  In another example, advanced users and nonusers both are less likely to use video and/or audio presentations than intermediate or beginning-level users.  However, advanced users are more likely than non-computer users to say they want to use video.

These trends hint at some differences between advanced users and nonusers. Advanced users seem open to using all instructional aids, whether computer-based or not.  Nonusers use, and are interested in, few instructional aids beyond textbooks.  Non-computer users may not see the need for instructional aids and/or may not feel capable of using instructional aids effectively.  Note, at present we do not know how instructional aids benefit student learning in the courses taught be either category of instructional faculty.

Perceived Benefits
The kinds of benefits that faculty derive from using instructional technology have remained largely the same in the last few years.  (See Table 3.)  The percentage of faculty enjoying these benefits has increased marginally. Enjoyment of teaching, access to new resources, and creativity are all rated very high.  In 1997, 32% rate enjoyment as very high (5) and an additional 22% rate it as high (4).  These figures are even higher for advanced users indicating that the more adept faculty are at using instructional technology, the more benefits they receive from using it.

Table 3.
Rated as “major benefit”* 
Enjoyment of teaching
New resources 
Overall quality of teaching
Student response
Help students w/ problems 
Work w/ disabled students
*Rated as “5” on a scale of 1-5.
Note: These figures are for all instructional faculty who responded to the question, not just faculty who are currently using instructional technology.  This allows for the inclusion of faculty who may have used instructional technology in the past but did not find it to be beneficial.

More Questions
It may be useful to look at these results even more closely—the survey responses provide much more information than has been presented here.  What factors other than computer expertise related to the use of instructional technology?  Differences between full-time and part-time instructional faculty were not discussed in this article because full-time and part-time faculty revealed similar computer skills.  However, it might be useful to see if part-time faculty have different levels of use of (and perhaps access to) instructional technology.  Also, this article has in some ways assumed that all areas of instruction benefit equally from the application of instructional technology; however, further investigation of this data may reveal discipline-specific trends.

For further  information about the Fall 1996 technology survey, please contact Pamela Mery at or 239-3227.

  • Initial training
  • Continuous upgrading of skills
  • School- and department-specific training
  • Incentives for learning about and use of education technology:
  • Information about practices regarding education technology and technical issues:
  • Personnel, both staff development and technical support, who are knowledgeable about current education technology and its uses
  • 03. Train students in the use of computers and other education technologies 04. Improve and enhance various Student Services

    4a. Improve administrative decision-making for Student Services

    4c. Develop a more student-responsive Admissions & Records enrollment process 4d. Develop electronic counseling support systems Use for student educational plans; accessing transfer articulation agreements; college/career information (Eureka or equiv.); student demographic data; student academic data: credit/non credit and transfer credit; associate degree, CSU, and IGETC audits; access to inherent sites for more detailed academic information including college catalog, time schedule, and college calendars; student academic progress checks/ probationary status; student appointment scheduling and tracking of service provided counselor log of each assigned student. 4f. Develop systems to support distance orientation and counseling services 4g. Support the collection and processing of data for evaluation of the counseling service delivery system 4h. For Testing, reduce test anxiety for new students and create a more responsive testing process 4i. Shorten the award processing time for financial aid applicants Goal 3. Develop a system for continued planning for, evaluation of, and ongoing funding for education technology.

    We propose that an Education Technology Office (ETO) be established to be responsible for actively supporting the use of information technology for Teaching and Learning, and Student Services, beginning with the implementation and oversight of this plan. Responsibilities of this administrative office would include coordinating college-wide decision-making regarding education technology. To this end, the ETO will work with existing groups such as ITS, the Computer Policy Committee (CPC), Internet Users Group (IUG), Intech Users Group (ITUG), Master Plan committee, and Staff Development, as well as the following departments: Audio Visual, Broadcast Media Services, CIS, Learning Assistance, and the Media Center. Initially, the office would be part of ITS, but after a year of funding and implementation, the costs and benefits of becoming a separate department should be examined.

    A Teaching and Learning Technology Round Table (TLTRT) has been established with representation from faculty, administration, staff and students to advise the ETO. Some of the groups named above, specifically the IUG, ITUG, and the academic portion of CPC will be folded into the TLTRT as working groups in order to better coordinate education technology activities at CCSF.

    Located in or near the TLC, the ETO will be the ultimate place in the college to go with a question about technology for educational purposes. To function, the ETO must be staffed and receive an annual budget. Staffing the ETO may require some restructuring of the existing Information Technology Services (ITS) department. Education technology personnel should be differentiated from personnel responsible for administrative aspects of information technology at CCSF.

    Some specific implementation issues follow. The ETO would either be directly responsible for these or oversee them. Through the annual and ongoing planning process, other issues may be identified in the future.

    Establishing and maintaining funding is the most basic element of supporting education technology. Without funding we will not have the physical infrastructure to proceed. Many funding routes are open and probably all of them should be pursued. Providing direct services to students such as in a lab setting may be funded differently than wiring classrooms or providing faculty with equipment. For the former, perhaps the most controversial solution is instituting a student fee. Many colleges nationally have begun imposing such fees, usually an Internet account fee. Current state regulations would have to be changed to permit user fees. Another option is to use an ISP such as Sprint to provide Internet services to our students. In this case, some costs to the college for Internet services can be reduced or eliminated.

    For all education technology uses, leasing equipment should be considered. (Note: Leasing requires a line item in the budget.) For purchased equipment, three-year, on-site, warrantees may also cut down on costs, particularly staffing costs, over time. Requiring a 10-20% addition to the cost of any hardware item may be one way to approximate institutional costs for support services for that item. Downstreaming, a practice that redistributes existing equipment when newer equipment is purchased, can be an effective means of maintaining direct equipment costs; however, it is important to remember that older equipment is harder to maintain and requires more technical support. External funding and sponsoring should also be pursued.

    CCSF must evaluate the uses and effects of education technology, including evaluation of any changes in student outcomes resulting from the use of education technology, assessment of individual faculty and departmental needs for and uses of education technology, and assessment of student satisfaction with courses using education technology. The Decision Support System currently being developed should aid this process by providing on-line student data. Evaluation-- in addition to an ongoing equipment and facilities inventory indicating the location, usage, age and capacity of workstations at CCSF-- will be helpful for annual and ongoing planning efforts. Some other information useful for planning could be collected through surveys. College surveys should include questions on faculty and student campus-based and home computer use. Surveys could help document progress toward achieving faculty training goals and highlight outstanding training needs.

    Guidelines and standards for education technology should be developed, including usage guidelines and, when beneficial, basic standards for hardware and software purchases. (Instructional software standards apply primarily at the school- or department-level.) Standards for hardware (both Macintosh and IBM-compatible) and software purchases will allow for more efficient staff development and technical support since staff will be able to maintain extensive knowledge of a modest number of products rather than trying to maintain some minimum expertise for every product on the market. The college’s capacity to rely on internal expertise will be increased which, in turn, will increase each user’s efficiency and facilitate the sharing of information and documents.

    Hardware and software acquisition plans and renewal schedules will also help keep CCSF current and further minimize the need for technical support by reducing the proportion of old and failing equipment. Consideration should be given to purchasing laptops wherever appropriate to allow for more versatile use. These standards will allow for affordable, bulk upgrades in the short-term and help promote longer-term technology planning. Ideally, standard machines would also be available at reduced costs to students through educational discounts and bulk purchases.

    Networks must also be maintained and periodically upgraded or replaced. Policies for system management must recognize any physical limitations of the network; these may include restrictions on the range of uses and access prioritization.

    Many other policy issues will arise as education technology becomes more widely used. Equipment needs to be secured from theft. In addition, the regular operation of the equipment-- the software, any data or other files on the hard drive-- needs to be secured from both unintentional and intentional destructive activity. When the latter, commonly referred to as “hacking”, does occur, the college should have established procedures for dealing with the individual(s) responsible. See Goal 3, Objective 4 for some other policy issues.

    Each school and department should determine its education technology needs and expectations, particularly when they are different from or in addition to the overall standards described above. Most instructional software in discipline-specific; some hardware and networking needs may also differ from the standards. These needs and expectations, as well as current uses must be documented to provide a factual basis for allocation decisions. One possible, initial venue for this planning is Program Review. Facilitated and coordinated school- and department-planning should begin with the next two years. School- and department-based plans should address specific education technology applications, their uses and desired student outcomes. Staff Development for each school or department will be determined by the faculty competency level required for its specific education technology applications. (For longer term planning, departments should consider whether to include these competencies in their hiring, promotion and/or tenure criteria.) These plans should be within established CCSF guidelines and minimum standards for education technology, and they should fit within the overall college plan framework.

    CCSF must determine its long-term goals regarding distance education. To date most CCSF faculty have not expressed much interest in distance education; however, recently the Internet has altered the nature of distance education dramatically. (See Sections II.B., V., and Appendix 6) Given these new possibilities, we must ask again: Should distance education offerings be increased? Are faculty interested in teaching distance education courses? Are students interested in taking distance education courses? How many students are we “missing” because we do not have sufficient distance education offerings?

    In addition to providing a forum for individual communication (e.g., office hours), whole courses can be offered on-line through the Internet and e-mail. On-line courses can easily be modified into distance education courses. Some faculty and students will feel more comfortable participating through written means; others will prefer the verbal discussions of a traditional classroom setting. Courses offered on-line can benefit from the variety of perspectives available globally. The best means of presenting a course will depend on the material, the course objectives, and the participants.

    The need for distance education may increase as CCSF services more students for whom jobs and/or families compete for their time. Students who are seeking short-term retraining may also prefer the convenience of distance education. These students may find distance education an acceptable alternative to a traditional classroom setting.

    Objectives for Goal 3:

    01. Develop and strengthen education technology

    02. Establish and maintain funding for education technology through the following: 03. Set up a structure for school- and department-based planning for education technology 04. Support annual and ongoing planning and evaluation, both college-wide and at the school and department levels 05. Develop guidelines and inform CCSF community about: 06. Develop a hardware acquisitions plan which standardizes purchases whenever possible and plans for cyclical upgrades and replacements: 07. Develop a software acquisitions plan to standardize software purchases and subsequent upgrades of the selected software. Develop a list of software that will be “official” software for which CCSF will provide extensive technical support. (More modest support will be available for unofficial software.) Standards for most instructional software will be determined at the school- or department-level.

    08. Make standardized computer and software packages available at discount to students and disseminate purchasing information to students

    09. Examine distance education options and determine long-term goals

    IV. IMPLEMENTATION TIMELINE The timeline on the following page was developed by the Technology Strategy Development Team. For the purposes of this document, Goal and Objective numbers correspond with the preceding pages. (The original timeline is located in the 1996 CCSF Strategic Planning Process: Draft Plan Framework, pp. 12-13.) This timeline and the preceding plan were developed during 1996. Changes in technology, educational theory and practice, student expectations, and funding, as well as other unforeseen changes, may alter the direction(s) CCSF chooses to take with regard to education technology. Continuous effort will be required to keep our technology and its uses current, efficient and effective to best meet the needs of our students.


    CD-ROM disk (compact disk-read only memory): Holds more data than standard floppy diskettes and is therefore a better storage medium for complex multimedia programs and large collections of information such as encyclopedias and other reference materials.

    Client: 1) In a network, a computer that requests services or data from other computers known as servers. Also known as a workstation. 2) As software, a program that makes requests to and presents data from another program that acts as an information server.

    Computer-Based Tutorial (CBT): An application that leads a user through a series of graduated exercises. Often diagnoses user’s skill-level, prescribes exercise(s) appropriate to skill-level, then analyzes the exercise results.

    CPU (Central Processing Unit or “chip”): The most fundamental piece of computer hardware; the computer’s “brain”.

    Dynix: A popular OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) system, which the CCSF library utilizes. Education technology: Information technology used for educational purposes.

    Electronic mail (e-mail): Mail that is transferred electronically.

    GUI (Graphical User Interface): The capacity to represent information graphically, as well as in “text-only” format. Hardware: The physical equipment of a computer.

    Homepage (or Web Page): A virtual site on the Internet, usually referring specifically to a site accessible through the World Wide Web. Contains basic information about an individual, institution or product. Created using hypertext language.

    Hypertext: Enables rapid access to various pieces of information stored separately from the main document, but cross-referenced.

    Information technology: Any or all of a number of digitally-based technologies ranging from fax machines to computers.

    Instructional designer: A technical expert who develops or assists in developing “courseware” and multimedia products for educational use.

    Internet: A world-wide network of computer networks. A “router” connects the network to the Internet. Many resources and means for sharing information are available through the Internet, including e-mail, data repositories, bulletin board services and user groups for sharing information.

    ISP (Internet Service Providers): Third-party providers of Internet services.

    ITS (Information Technology Services): An administrative department at CCSF providing hardware and programming support to the college’s administrative, faculty and student users.

    ITUG (Intech usersgroup): Faculty-based group formed to support “Innovations in Information Technology for Teaching & Learning.”

    IUG (Internet usersgroup): A group of faculty and staff interested in the use of the Internet for instructional and educational purposes.

    Lan administrator: A member of the technical staff responsible for the functioning of a single or small number of local area networks.

    Laptop computer (or laptop): A portable, personal computer.

    LCD: A device which allows output to a computer monitor to be displayed on a large screen for group viewing.

    MIS (Management Information Services): A standard phrase usually referring to a data management and/or reporting system. The State Chancellor’s Office for the California Community Colleges requires all its colleges each semester to submit tapes with student, course, and student services data.

    Modem: A device which allows “dial-up” access to a single computer or computer network.

    Multimedia (also Multi media, Multi-media or Multiple media): A single collection of both audio and video in one storage medium, usually a CD-ROM disk. Can include graphics such as still photographs as well as video clips, in addition to basic text.

    Network (Computer Network): An interconnection of workstations and servers with physical links (e.g., hard-wired together or to a hub) and logical links (i.e. use the same protocols to communicate). May be referred to as a LAN (Local Area Network) or WAN (Wide Area Network).

    Network administrator: A member of the technical staff responsible for oversight of all aspects relating to the interconnection of computer systems throughout the enterprise and to the larger Internet, including, but not limited to 1) coordination the LAN administrators, 2) the planning, design, and implementation of network architecture to acheive enterprise goals, 3) the management of installation, configuration, and maintenance of network equipment, such as routers, switches and hubs.

    OMR (Optical Mark Reader): Used to process “bubble” forms such as those produced by Scantron Corporation.

    On-line: A phrase which refers to being “on” (also “logged onto”). Frequently used in reference to the Internet or the World Wide Web.

    PPP (Point-Point Protocol): Standardized internet protocol for modems. Supersedes SLIP.

    Scanner: A machine that “reads” text and/or graphics from a printed page into a computer file.

    Server: 1) A computer which services requests from client machines in a computer network 2) A program that services requests from client programs, e.g. Web server, Oracle server.

    SLIP (Serial Line Internet Protocol): Software that makes it possible to use the same Internet facilities over a phone (“dialup”) connection that are available over a direct network connection. Superseded by PPP.

    Smart classroom (or computer classroom): A classroom which contains multiple, networked computers for students use and a large screen display. This classroom may or may not be wired for Internet connectivity.

    Software: The programs, such as word processing, database, spreadsheet, that “run” on computer hardware.

    System administrator: A member of the technical staff responsible for various duties on a computer system with multiple concurrent users, including by not limited to: 1) addition and removal of user accounts, 2) addition and removal of hardware on the machine, 3) scheduling and execution of file system backups, 4) the installation of new software, patches, and software upgrades, 5) analysis of problems occurring within the system, 6) maintenance of system documentation.

    Technical support: Any of various services provided to computer users, from installing a computer to helping produce “courseware.”

    User: A computer user.

    Web administrator: A technical support person responsible for maintaining World Wide Web access and supporting the creation of homepages. (See homepage.)

    Wired classroom: A classroom which contains an Internet connection.

    Workstation: Roughly equivalent to “personal computer,” the basic building block of an integrated campus technology system. Either in a fixed location or portable; connected to a network or used as a standalone machine. Most simple form includes a central processing unit (see CPU), a hard disk (central memory repository), keyboard, monitor (“screen”), floppy drive(s). Permits entry of text and/or data by keystroke or transfer from a floppy diskette. Software can be used to manipulate and format the presentation of this text/data, displayed on the monitor, printed in “hardcopy” format, stored on the hard drive or on a floppy diskette. Software ranges from basic word processing to complex scientific simulations. Depends on the capacity of the machine (e.g., speed of the chip) and the software.

    World Wide Web (WWW or the Web): A world-wide network which provides graphics as well as the text provided by the text-only lynx. See GUI.
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    with others and utilize the recruitment, screening, orientation, counseling and/or job placement services of community-based organizations which serve particular neighborhoods or groups of students.

    The Task Force has two general recommendations to enhance the career decision-making and educational planning in existence:

    3.  Connecting Activities
    The School-to-Work Opportunities Act recognizes the employers and educational providers must be helped to work together on workforce education systems.  The Act's third program element, in addition to School-Based and Work-Based Learning Activities, is Connecting Activities.  These activities include:
      Many programs in various parts of the country have developed valuable connecting activities which have contributed greatly to their success.  Three representative examples include:
      Craftsmanship 2000 is a four-year skilled metalworking program started in 1992 by the Tulsa, Oklahoma Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Tulsa Public Schools, the Tulsa Technology Center (formerly the local “vo-tech"), Tulsa Junior College, and a number of employers.  Craftsmanship 2000's connecting activities have enabled them to provide stipends and bonuses to students paid for by employers.

    The impetus for this program came from the Hilti Corporation, a manufacturer of metal fasteners headquartered in Liechtenstein.  Hilti established its western hemisphere headquarters in Tulsa in 1980, then could not find the quality of craft employees it was used to in Europe.  In 1990, Hilti arranged for a group of Tulsa Chamber members and their spouses to visit European apprenticeship programs.  Discussions based on this experience led in 1992 to the first group of 16 high school juniors in Craftsmanship 2000.

    Selection for the program depends on a combination of achievement, aptitude and interest tests.  During their junior and senior years in high school, Craftsmanship 2000 participants spend eight hours a day at the Technology Center--four hours in academic classes and four in the machine shop.  They are taught a rigorous, outcome-based curriculum by a team of high school and Technology Center instructors.  Each student receives a stipend, furnished by employers, and works full time in the summer at a participating firm.  After graduation, many go on to Tulsa Junior College and earn an associate's degree.  The college awards the apprentices 25 credit hours for their Craftsmanship 2000 experience after they complete 12 units on the campus.

    Project Protech was started in 1991 by Boston hospitals which were worried about turnover among their lab technicians, physicians assistants and other support personnel.  New employees would complete extensive training at the hospitals' expense, work diligently and leave within the year.  In cooperation with the city's schools and Private Industry Council, Protech helps recruit and support at risk students through completion of high school and matriculation in postsecondary education.  Of 54 seniors in the Protech class of 1994, 49 had accepted enrollment at postsecondary schools by September and at least 60% were studying for health industry careers.  Protech now grooms students for business, finance and utility company careers, and has received a $1.2 million federal School-to-Work implementation grant for reaching 380 students in Boston schools in the next two years.

    Protech's most notable connecting activity is a large staff which provides extensive, personal support services for participants--helping them get to school and work on time, referring them to community agencies for needed assistance, and assisting them with college application forms.  This support is essential for the population Protech serves, which includes many people from troubled urban neighborhoods.  Also, much of Protech's  instruction happens at workplaces, providing another important connection.

    The Lehigh Valley Business-Education Partnership was started in the late 1980s by school superintendents and the recently retired Chief Executive Officer of a Fortune 500 company who has been Chairman of the American Council of Education, United States Chamber of Commerce, and the national chamber's Education Committee. As of mid-1995, the partnership, renamed the Lehigh Valley 2000:  Business-Education Partnership has completed action plans, published a variety of resource documents, provided summer internships for teachers at local companies and created a Lehigh Valley Leadership Academy.  Its Roads to Success, available in both English and Spanish, describes approximately seventy enrichment opportunities for children and youth in the Lehigh Valley.  Its annual Business Education Fall Showcase is a one-day event open to the public, and its Strategic Planning Tools handbook is used by at least six Lehigh Valley school districts.

    This partnership is a national model of the kind of cooperation possible between education, business and community leaders.  Its comprehensive range of connecting activities should encourage similar efforts in San Francisco.

    City College Connecting Activities
    City College is already working on important connecting activities of its own.  The most significant and promising may be the Bay Area Transition to Career Center, an effort to strengthen and coordinate the college's capabilities for facilitating internships and broad partnerships with industry, other education providers and community based organizations.  The Walter S. Johnson gave the college a two-year, $150,000 grant to start the Center in 1995.

    The new Center is becoming a common contact point for all City College paid and volunteer internship activities and for employer involvement with internships.  This fall it will publish an Internship Program Handbook that will support new internship development efforts, standardize program procedures and data collection, and document the range of existing and proposed internship opportunities.  The Center is also building relationships around internships and other workforce education activities with the San Francisco Unified School District.  Under the name “The Career Connection," the Center will market the colleges' programs and students to potential internship sponsors while educating City College faculty, staff and students about internships.  Next year the Center will develop and sponsor a model seminar series for interns from a variety of programs, so that they can help each other with communications skills and other work competencies, reflect on what they are learning from their assignments and be supported in integrating what they learn from their internships with their on-campus study.

    The Transition to Career Center will continue to help develop college-wide capacities for improving the school-to-work transition through internships and other work-based learning.  They will also manage some innovative programs directly, involve other community colleges and regions of the Bay Area in its programs and services, and research work-based learning and communicate its results to the college community and to the larger Bay Area.

    In creating an integrated workforce education system, City College faces an enormous challenge:  developing career clusters; delivering programs which integrate connecting activities with school-based and work-based learning activities, including career decision-making and educational planning; and tailoring these programs for various student populations, working all the while with a wide variety of employer, educational and community partners.  Accomplishing these tasks will require significant changes in the College's support systems and infrastructure.  While many different aspects of the college will be affected, this discussion focuses on seven key items:
    1.  funding
    2.  facilities
    3.  educational delivery systems
    4.  skill standards and portable credentials
    5.  performance assessment
    6.  job placement
    7. staff development
    8.  partnerships

    1. Funding
    Federal and state moneys to support Workforce Education are likely to be modest and very competitive.  To create effective School-to-Work programs, the colleges will have to free up money by restructuring and redesigning many existing programs and services, reallocate existing revenues and acquire new sources of support.  They will need funds for staff development and faculty training in new careers.  They will need staff to create and manage partnerships and programs, to redesign curricula, to develop and facilitate internships and other work-based learning, and to develop jobs for graduates.  They may need fund-raising staff to help them meet partnership requirements and grant matches.

    The Task Force recommends that the college concentrate whatever funds it has for Workforce Education in the next few years on pilot projects that come as close as possible to including every aspect of the Learning Activities and Career Decision-Making and Educational Plan models we propose.  It believes that the most effective pilot projects will be in cluster areas where high-paying career openings are available.  Once established, the programs will provide a model to be used to establish programs in other career clusters throughout the college.

    2. Facilities
    Most of City College's facilities were designed for a kind of learning that is disappearing.  It will have to retrofit buildings, adding flexibility, responsiveness and a capacity for customization to as many facilities as possible.  City College also needs to create a network of community locations for work-based and school-based learning in space which is either donated or made available to colleges for nominal fees.  Finally, the college needs to maximize its capability for all kinds of distance learning and probably create some “virtual campuses" for learners who are unable to come to college facilities.

    3. Educational Delivery Systems
    The number of students who can take on-campus, full-time day programs over several years is relatively small.  Today's students need access to modularized learning at their homes, workplaces, and local community centers.  Distance learning and other forms of technology can make learning possible for people unable to come to the college.  Various scheduling arrangements are also needed.  Some people want to be part of learning communities, others need great flexibility and independence to meet their goals.  More and more, education will be available anytime, anywhere, and delivered many different ways.

    There are numerous examples of effective teaching and learning strategies being used by community college faculty across the country that are moving in this direction.  Two examples are “Learning Communities,” where faculty coordinate courses and assignments in blocks for cohorts of students and “Open-entry/open-exit” courses that facilitate self-paced learning for students whose learning styles and preference do not match traditional structures.  Classes coordinated with community-based organizations also are often more flexible and increase accessibility.

    4. Skill standards and portable credentials
    Employers complain that high school diplomas or community college degrees do not tell them what skills graduates have.  Oregon and other states are mandating various certificates of mastery for all high school students, and the federal government has funded twenty-one different efforts to develop voluntary national skills standards in fields as diverse as printing, electronics, retail trade, and biotechnology.  California's School-to-Work Plan commits the state to similar efforts.

    City College students need workforce education programs which will give them demonstrable, measurable skills and portable credentials that employers recognize.  The faculty should document the students’ skills at various points during a program, so that students have proof of their skill and competency levels.

    5. Performance assessment
    Performance standards raise important questions about accurate methods of assessing whether a student has learned a skill or has mastered a competency.  Traditional assessment methods such as teacher-created paper and pencil objective tests provide limited information on students' real skills.  A broader kind of assessment has many purposes, including seeing if people can use what they've learned appropriately in the real world; giving students and teachers information on students' ability to solve problems and apply what they know to new contexts; and giving students feedback on what they've learned so that they can improve their skills.

    Assessment practices that give students and teachers useful information on skill mastery are often described as “performance assessment" tools and strategies.  Examples include open-ended tasks, observations of students at work, and individual and group portfolios or projects.  Writing is frequently involved, because writing clarifies and reveals thinking.  Video simulations, multimedia presentations, panel discussions, and other forms of presentations are also common.  A combination of these approaches can accommodate individual preferences for different media and/or differences in communication styles.

    One national effort to create a variety of examinations for a Certificate of Initial Mastery proposes three components:  performance examinations, assessments of student projects, and assessments of a portfolio of student work.  This New Standards Project describes these assessments as very much like the scout merit badge system.  Students will be able to accumulate “badges” over a period of years, work at their own pace, and compare their own performances against a set of published criteria.

    Figure 3 (page 41) shows how a foundation skills certificate could be the basis of a system of certification for high schools in California.  Young people could have a variety of routes for workforce education after completing a Certificate of Foundation Skills at 16, including entering a community college, completing a recognized certificate similar to today's vocational program certificates and/or an associate's degree, then transferring to a four-year college, going to work, or both.

    Figure 3

    6.  Job Placement
    Job placement builds accountability and feedback into workforce education programs, giving faculty continuous readings on the demand for the skills they are helping people learn.  It will also be a requirement for programs which receive School-to-Work funding, for which City College will compete with private proprietary schools and non-profit training agencies which document their placements carefully.

    Several units of the college now have job placement activities.  These efforts, which are generally grant-funded, usually address narrowly defined student populations and may be regarded as peripheral to the college.  Currently, representatives of the various job development and placement programs meet regularly to work at coordinating services.  This ex-officio coordinating group is developing methods for sharing job and employer information, resources, and databases.  Group meetings provide a forum for identifying placement system needs and developing collaborative strategies for addressing needs.  this voluntary effort should be recognized and supported by the college.

    The college should work towards moving job placement from the periphery to full integration into workforce preparation programs.  In doing so, the college also needs to create a more effective system for tracking placement in order to respond to increasing demands for accountability and to provide a measure of program currency and effectiveness.

    7.  Staff Development
    The provision of staff development for faculty is crucial to making the changes we propose.  In order to create new curriculum, work effectively with partners, and develop new evaluation tools, faculty will need training and assistance.  This training must be flexible in time and place.  It should also provide incentives for faculty such as stipends and release time so that faculty realize that the college values their spending time on making this system work.

    8.  Partnerships
    City College already has many different partnerships, with K-12 schools and four-year colleges, foundations and other public and private funders, individual employers and
    employer groups, industry organizations and community groups, and local, regional and state agencies  Often these partnerships are informal and depend on personal relationships between a very small number of college and partner staff.  The college needs partnerships that are more strongly institutionalized, that are organized and funded for success and longevity, and that involve many different programs, personnel, and students.  It is in the interest of City College and its students to expand and strengthen the institutional capacity to develop and sustain effective partnerships.

    Integrating All the Elements--the Program Worksheet
    The CityWorks Program Worksheet (see Appendix, pages 73-76) presents all the elements of the Task Force's Model for Excellence in Workforce Education--student populations, career clusters, program elements, and support systems--in one display.  Pilot projects which include all these components will be developed during 1995-6 and give City College a sense of the usefulness of this model.  The Strategic Plan in Chapter VI presents the Task Force's recommendations for how to move toward experimenting with the model in several clusters and adopting it across the college over time.


    This section presents five goals for strengthening workforce education throughout City College.  As used here, goals are broad statements desired by City College and its individual and organizational constituents.  They are operationally specified by a set of strategies and related actions from Chapter V.  As the implementation plan moves forward, strategies and actions will be modified, added, or deleted.
    Goal 1:  Promote a collegewide commitment to a new workforce education plan.
    Goal 2: Establish a collegewide infrastructure to support the plan
    Goal 3:  Establish working model of the CityWorks plan.
    Goal 4:  Promote the highest levels of student success, student learning and teaching excellence.
    Goal 5:  Disseminate CityWorks to other CCSF Departments and Schools

    Goal 1:  Promote a collegewide commitment to a new workforce education plan.
    City College has a long and successful history of providing educational services to students seeking to enter the workforce for the first time and to those wishing to retrain and upgrade their skills.  The CityWorks plan recognizes that the college must take some additional steps to align CCSF programs with the new dramatic developments occurring in the workplace.  The first step has been taken with the completion of the CityWorks plan.  The second step is the building of a working consensus among members of the CCSF community about the plan and a strong stated commitment from the leadership of the college endorsing the goals and objectives of the CityWorks plan.  This would include a statement of support from the Board of Trustees.

    Goal 2:   Establish a collegewide infrastructure to support the plan

    The CityWorks plan requires an institutional commitment of human and financial resources over a five year period.  Once the Board of Trustees and the Chancellor have resolved to support the plan, strategies would need to be established to build the appropriate internal support for the plan.  This would include creating:

    Special fund to support faculty
    The Office of Institutional Development will work with school deans and faculty to raise funds from federal, state and local sources to support the design, piloting and implementation of the plan.  The refinement, piloting and implementation of the City Works model will likely take three to five years.  At each phase, college faculty will need direct support for training, curriculum development, evaluation of alternative modes of instructional delivery, and extensive links with professionals outside the college.  To support this effort we suggest establishing a Workforce Education Fund created from the college general fund and alternative funding sources.  This fund would be used to seed pilot projects based upon the CityWorks model.  Faculty could utilize these funds for: CityWorks Coordinator
    The position of CityWorks Coordinator would give an individual overall responsibility for creating and implementing the CityWorks model.  This person would report directly to the Chancellor and work with an array of groups set up to help successfully launch and create projects.  (See Organizational Chart page 46.)  The college should seek an individual with experience at community colleges, who possesses excellent organizational skills and has a clear understanding of current workforce development philosophies.

    Organizational Groups
    In addition to establishing a special fund and a coordinator’s position, the college would create several organizational structures to plan, implement, manage, and oversee workforce education programs.  These groups would not require bringing on additional staff but would represent a reconfiguring of current staff:

    CityWorks Coordination Council
    This Council would help assure the implementation of the CityWorks model and plan within the college.  Individuals on this Council would solve problems, act as advocates, and be a liaison to their units.  This would promote effective coordination and efficient use of resources.  A CityWorks Coordination Council must be established with representation from the faculty, instructional and student service program involved in the implementation as well as administrators from the three administrative chains.  Students should also be represented on this council.

    Technical Assistance Workgroup
    The Technical Assistance Workgroup would facilitate the work of specific pilot projects, especially as it applies to implementation of new learning activities and career decision making and educational planning.  This group can provide assistance to faculty and staff who are responsible for implementing parts of the plan. Included in the Workgroup would be faculty and staff who have successfully implemented workforce education courses and programs, representatives from the Office of Staff Development, Information Technology Services, Admissions and Records, Financial Aid, and Matriculation, members from other colleges, and employers from the cluster area.

    Chancellor's Advisory Panel on Workforce Education
    CCSF would establish a group to ensure a high level of visibility within the employer sectors as the workforce plan is implemented.  A quarterly meeting convened by the Chancellor and her staff would be held to exchange information, report on new developments, provide progress reports and hear new ideas with private and public sector employers in and around the City and County of San Francisco.

    Council of Partnerships
    A Council of Partnerships would be established to pursue linkages with education institutions, employers, public agencies, and community based organizations.  It would coordinate discussions between external organizations and CCSF programs interested in pursuing the CityWorks model.  Working with the new Career Connection program, the Career Development and Placement Center, and other well-established college programs with partnerships, the office would act as a broker to create new projects and programs between City College and employers throughout the region for internships, other work-based activities, and connecting activities.  A database of employers interested in providing work-based learning opportunities would be available to all CCSF programs.

    Goal 3:  Establish working model of the CityWorks plan.

    The CityWorks plan we are suggesting will, of course, be modified and refined as it is disseminated throughout the campus.  After this input, a pilot program can be implemented.  A piloting strategy enables the college to focus resources on a limited number of projects and allows the faculty to test and improve the model before it is established in other clusters.

    To review, chapter V discussed the program elements that would be part of our model including:

    We also identified three levels of skills illustrated in Figure 1 on page 28 that the curricula should include: To create the base of the learning activities for students, faculty would work in consultation with industry, community-based organizations, or other appropriate partners to design a pilot program incorporating the SCANS competencies.  A foundation skills framework would ensure that students have basic communication and computational skills, good work habits and other personal management skills, problem-solving and teamwork skills, and some exposure to computers and related technology.  A core competencies framework within each cluster would identify the common background, information, and skills needed by students preparing for any of its programs.  In many cases, the core competencies will build upon existing “Introduction to Cluster X” courses.  The content of the competencies, the school--and/or work-based learning experiences, and methods of documenting accomplishments will vary among the clusters.  A program-specific skills framework will include the more advanced SCANS competencies.

    The next element of the model includes the career-decision making and educational planning activities.  To be successful in careers, many community college students need a variety of services including extensive assistance in developing personal career education goals.  A Task Force subcommittee has worked on identifying the elements of a comprehensive system of student services, describing how these services could be improved and integrated with one another and with learning experiences.  Current services, particularly recruitment, counseling and career advising would be strengthened.

    Another part of the plan calls for enhancing college job placement operations.  We can improve coordination of activities and allocate additional resources to ensure that all students receive appropriate job placement services.

    Connecting activities are an essential part of workforce education.  To have a successful program, City College must provide technical assistance and services to employers in designing work-based learning components and case management services while also training teachers, workplace mentors, and counselors.  Connecting activities might also include providing assistance to schools to integrate academic and occupational learning.

    Once these program elements are in place, the pilot program will be ready to be tested.  Students can begin taking classes that systematically integrate workforce learning into the curriculum.

    Goal 4:  Promote the highest levels of student success, student learning and teaching excellence.
    The CityWorks model and plan rests upon the college’s commitment to reaching the highest possible levels of student learning, student success, and teaching excellence.  These are the foundation blocks for creating an attractive and inspiring workforce program at the college.  Ultimately the CityWorks plan will be adopted and supported by faculty and students if it can be shown to be a better alternative than the current programs.

    Establishing this reputation rests on careful evaluation.  The CityWorks model focuses on competency based curriculum which will require faculty to develop student outcome measures.  We must evaluate and assess what students have learned, how well they utilize what they have learned, and what its relevance is to their career choices.  Student satisfaction measures will also need to be established as well as satisfaction measures of employers.

    To carry out this assessment a group of faculty from the pilot clusters and the Office of Research will work together to design appropriate measures.  Measures should include wherever possible and appropriate, the use of the portfolio assessment approach to evaluating student work.

    As student progress is monitored through the new curricula, data will be provided to our Management Information System.  This data would be organized into user-friendly reports based upon what faculty need to understand about students’ progress through the program.  Reports would be made available each term.  In addition, the Office of Research would disseminate to all cluster faculty annual reports on all measures.  Annual meetings of all cluster faculty, members of the Office of Research, the cluster partners from the employer and community based organization sector would focus on a discussion of student progress and approaches to improve student learning and success.

    Goal 5:  Disseminate CityWorks to other CCSF Departments and Schools
    After at least two years of testing and implementing the CityWorks model,  a dissemination phase could begin.  Other occupational clusters could begin to adapt the CityWorks model to their program and utilize the experience of the pilot clusters to guide their work.  Cluster faculty who do not wish to wait until the pilot clusters are completed testing their curriculum, could begin the design phase of the plan.  Some piloting could begin even before the final results are know from the pilot clusters.  The focus, however, is on a careful incremental approach to disseminating the CityWorks model to avoid making the same mistakes over again.  The goal of the CityWorks plan is to complete the dissemination phase within five years of the completion of the pilot programs.