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home : opinions : editorials February 6, 2016

7/9/2014 8:39:00 AM
Editorial: Officials need to pay close attention as college evolves
Special to the Tribune

We all are aware that Yavapai College has its detractors and its challenges.

Memories date back to the early 2000s, for example, when then-President Doreen Dailey and the district board came under fire over a refurbished college swimming pool not being part of the $69.5 million bond improvements. The bond issue was "sold" including the pool work.

More recent complaints show the Verde Valley side of the county feeling disenchanted with the college. The result has the college in the midst of a community survey and forming a college advisory council.

The idea, back in the early 2000s and now, is to keep the word "community" in the college's mission - figuratively, theoretically and literally.

Part of the more recent consternation centers on the college's plans for the future, which has campuses closing, programs moving and consolidating, and some classes going dark, among other shifts.

Call it evolution. However, those changes must not forget technology.

This week The Daily Courier and the Verde Independent reported that online classes are chipping away at in-class enrollment at Yavapai College. Officials disclosed that online classes started growing about seven years ago, with Prescott campus online enrollment going from 27 to 40 percent. In the Verde, online student enrollment went from 34 percent in 2010 to 47 percent in 2014.

"The age of reaching out to a broader audience with brick and mortar - it's not cost-effective," Clarkdale Campus Dean James Perey said, adding that the national upward trend for online classes shows students want education on their own time, not in strictly scheduled blocks.

Aside from learning differences and individual tastes of some people preferring in-class learning over online, and vice versa, or full-time compared to part-time enrollment, Yavapai College must continue to adjust to the needs of the communities it serves; what works in Prescott may not be what the Verde Valley needs.

The effects of technology and social changes on delivery of those classes and information will continue to be a large factor.

Additionally, how the college leadership responds to survey results and advisory councils will set the path.

Yavapai Community College must be open and approachable, and it must evolve with the changes in technology and the needs of its customers and constituents.

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