Page 7 - Campus Technology, July 2017
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— we hope — some product. That means over time they became obsessed with enrollment and productivity inside their organizations. It’s hard wired. It’s hard to push back against that.
Valencia was early to a conversation that said, OK, what if we dethroned enrollment? Enrollment is not our mission. Enrollment is just a business outcome. It’s necessary in the long term to finance the mission. But it’s not the mission. The mission is learning. And if we put learning first and everything else second, what would that cause us to do?
We’ve made countless changes to our processes and habits and procedures and policies and the way we allocate resources around that one idea. What if learning was more important than anything else? It doesn’t mean that other things are unimportant, but what if you put learning first?
Our much higher than average completion rates exist not because we put so much emphasis on completion but because we put emphasis on
learning, and I think that’s unusual. There are lots of places that are now committed to the completion agenda. We see completion as a product of learning, not an end in itself.
CT: Can you give an example where you’ve put learning first over enrollment?
Shugart: Lots of colleges do this now, but in the early 2000s, we had a deadline for admissions to a community college. That was almost unheard of at the time. You still cannot add a class once it has met. You can’t be a late addition to a class. All those things that colleges did — they said it was in the name of access, but it was really in the name of enrollment. We brushed those aside. We’re just not going to do that.
[The admission deadline] was weeks before the beginning of the semester, so that we could assess, advise and orient students and place them properly before classes started. And we forbid the

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