Skip Navigation

Two-year schools should encourage more students to go for bachelor's degrees, says speaker

April 16, 2001

Two-year colleges aren't doing enough to encourage students enrolled in vocational programs to continue on to earn baccalaureate degrees, says the featured speaker at last week's meeting of the American Educational Research Association.

Community colleges have become "very much committed to occupational education," said Kevin J. Dougherty, an associate professor of higher and adult education at Teachers College of Columbia University. And while that may be important, it also results in the colleges paying too little attention to academic programs that permit transfer to baccalaureate institutions, he adds.

Community colleges often claim that graduates can make as much money coming out of vocational programs as they could by completing a baccalaureate degree. "That may be true in some instances, but on average, it is not," Dougherty said.

What should two-year colleges do? Place greater emphasis on cognitive skills, expose students early and often to the desirability of transferring to a four-year institution and ensure credits are transferable, Doughterty suggests.