In light of an ever-changing regulatory, economic, and competitive landscape, schools like Essex County College, which served over 20,000 credit and non-credit students last year at several locations in northeast New Jersey, are continuously evaluating the relevance of their programs – revamping some, scaling back others, and sometimes starting new programs from scratch. These are important decisions with far-reaching effects. And while anecdotes and intuition have their place, the administration at Essex also understands the value of data.
Program Demand Gap Analysis
Under the direction of Dr. Meyer, Chancellor, Michigan’s Oakland Community College (OCC) has created and tested a method to measure and meet needs in their community. Using this method—outlined in a recently published article in the Community College Journal of Research and Practice—OCC has a reliable framework and formula for program planning decisions.
In a time of nationwide budget cuts and declining enrollment, no community college can afford to offer programs that don’t benefit its students and local economy. But how can colleges ensure that their programs are what students and the regional workforce actually need? How can they determine whether to build new programs or downsize old ones? How can they do all of this with limited time and resources?