Specialization and CCC system of centralized recruitment as opposed to unleashing individual colleges to aggressively recruit on their own is causing enrollment to plummet. Consider that overall CCC attendance has been plummeting, falling from 119,417 in 2010-11 to 82,384 in 2016-17. This is a decline of over 37,033 students or 31%. The fact that other suburban community colleges with smaller geographic and demographic service areas have similar offerings of thriving high quality programs suggest the Emmanuel specialization approach is ill conceived.
Case Study: Nursing
The absurdity of the Emmanuel approach can best be seen in the handling of the Nursing Program. There is no greater evidence of enrollment decline than in the Nursing Program. In 2010-11 there were 1,239 students enrolled in the program while only 380 last year. This is a decline of 859 students or 60%. So much for specialization.
CCC is only successfully preparing about half as many students to pass state registered nurse licensing exams than it did prior to consolidation of the nursing program at Malcolm X College. This is deeply troubling. It is specially troubling in light of the fact that the new Malcolm X College cost taxpayers more than $250 million to construct and was to be a state-of-the-art facility that would have been expected to significantly boost successful student outcomes.
This situation begs the question on why the Program is so significantly failing to meet its goals and students and taxpayers deserve a thorough explanation of what is going wrong. It also begs the question of how the other specialty programs are faring throughout the City Colleges of Chicago.
It is important to point out that when the decision was made to consolidate the program at Malcolm X College, they in fact closed two programs that were performing well with high passage rates (Truman and Wright) and one that was improving (Daley) while keeping open CCC’s worst performing program at Malcolm X.
CCC could have worked to improve the existing nursing program while moving to establish a high quality Bachelor of Nursing (BSN) Degree program at Malcolm X, as other institutions have done to take advantage of the growing market. More and more hospitals are requiring BSN’s.
It is also important to note that other Community Colleges in the suburbs (Southwest, Prairie State, Moraine Valley, Harper, and Ivy Tech in West Indiana, offer similar core programs like Nursing and have not suffered enrollment declines.