Guest Commentary – Image of community colleges on the rise

Maurice Hamington
Executive Dean of Academic Affairs — Transfers

In Edition 12 of The Torch, January 30, 2015, E.J. Olson effectively argued the need to counter the perception that Lane Community College somehow offers an inferior education. He is so right. Lane is a great first choice for someone pursuing a four-year degree.

We have passionate and accomplished faculty who know how to inspire students. For example, our faculty developed Core Learning Outcomes (think critically, engage diverse values, create ideas and solutions, communicate effectively, and apply learning) to frame and assess our liberal arts education.

Last year, leaders from the University of Oregon came to our campus to learn about our use of Core Learning Outcomes. Our creative commitment to student learning is what makes Lane one of the select few Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges and League for Innovation colleges nationally.

Moreover, our faculty and staff truly care about the well-being and future of our students and have demonstrated over and over that they are willing to go the extra mile to help students achieve their dreams.

To better recognize the exceptional student learning experiences leading to certificates, degrees, and transfers provided at Lane, effective immediately seven divisions are identified under the umbrella of the School of Arts and Sciences. The divisions that make up SAS engage about two-thirds of the college’s student population and include curricula traditionally associated with the humanities, social sciences, sciences, business studies, and athletics:

• Art

•Business and Computer Information Technology

• Language, Literature, and Communication

• Math

• Health, Physical Education, and Athletics

• Science

• Social Science

SAS has strong association with Honors and International Programs and supports undergraduate research, learning communities, and a variety of high impact practices resulting in outstanding student educational experiences.

The name, School of Arts and Sciences, was adopted to enhance pride and identity for divisions devoted to transfer in an effort to match the clarity and recognition associated with Lane’s career technical education programs. The new name reinforces the idea that Lane is an excellent academic choice, not just an affordable one, for those interested in a four-year degree.

SAS will familiarize students with academic nomenclature used at four-year institutions historically and globally. We also hope that more students will complete a degree or certificate at LCC as part of their academic career Lane’s School of Arts and Sciences.

Feedback was sought from students, faculty, staff and managers. We met and discussed the idea with student government leadership. In all cases, the response was overwhelmingly positive. We also found that many other community colleges in the United States use “schools” in their organization, though Lane is the first in Oregon to do so.

The name change does not involve substantial cost as no new personnel are being hired because of it and no new offices are needed. This is a small change that has the potential to pay a huge dividend.

E.J. Olson was right. We have justified cause to have Titan pride in our academics at Lane. The next time you see a student, faculty, or staff of Art, Business, Computer Information Technology, Language, Literature, & Communication, Math, Health, Physical Education & Athletics, Science, or Social Science, say “Congratulations!” for being part of the School of Arts and Sciences at LCC.