Blogging @ CNM

Central New Mexico Community College

How Can We Pave a Faster Track to Graduation?


Hello CNM,

It’s good to be back blogging with you after a brief hiatus. I’m looking forward to a great summer, and hope you are too!

As you probably know, CNM is offering 20 percent of our courses this summer in an 8-week format. This is a pilot program that we’ll be studying closely. We’ll be keeping tabs on how students perform in this condensed schedule and we’ll survey students and faculty on their overall experience with it.

If feedback is positive and student success rates are good, should we consider offering students the opportunity to get on a faster track to a degree or certificate through this kind of scheduling model? In the fall and spring terms, which have 16 weeks allotted, a student could conceivably complete four terms of coursework in two terms if we offer select classes in 8-week segments. Is this a good idea, at least for some students?

We’ll see how this summer goes with the 8-week courses, but there’s no doubt that we must try to find new ways to get our students “In, Through and Out” faster. Too many of our students are held up for a variety of reasons that hinder their ability to graduate earlier rather than later. Just think about the much-needed money a student could be making if they didn’t have to spend an extra term waiting to finish one or two classes for their degree. If they were working in their field of study with a degree in hand rather than spending those four months in class, just think of how much better off the student and their family would be.

CNM is also considering the feasibility of offering “intersession” courses, which would be offered over the term breaks.

If we can find new ways of helping more students finish their required classes more quickly, in a way that doesn’t undermine the academic journey, the impact on our community could be huge.

So what do you think of these ideas for providing students the opportunity to get on a faster track to graduation and a career?

Do you have any other ideas that could help us get students “In, Through and Out” faster?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please join in the conversation below. Thanks!

10 thoughts on “How Can We Pave a Faster Track to Graduation?

  1. This of course is a very important topic for us all. I believe we are on the right track in terms of how to approach getting students through. The idea of two 8-week sessions in spring and fall would be great. That allows for a total of 5 terms for students. There are some scheduling issues that would need discussion. We are starting to here from students who started this week about why they avoided the 8-week option; the commitment of four days a week is tough for many. Or 3.5 hours for two days is also tough and that is why some have avoided the 8 week track.

    We can and should offer more 8 week courses. This will allow those who can and want to move productively through their program.

    Your idea of a term that runs over the break may be a great idea as well. Consider the population of students who decided they want to go to school but they made that decision in the middle of a term; they have to wait at least two months to start. If they are like me, then I get inpatient. Having a term start between terms almost could potentially capture that population of students.

  2. I think it depends ont he course, but I could definitely see it working. I teach math, and I could see it being great for students coming in and placing way below Calculus but needing to get through at least that before graduating. For advicing, I would say it should be used when students have a long line of courses that have to be taken in sequence, not for students just wanting to get a degree faster, as the total credits taken in a year probably shouldn’t be more than about 45.

  3. Sorry, that’s too difficult for me… 😀

  4. I would not want to turn a student loose in my industry with less practice on the basic skills than they have now, (in terms of number of days). I could see several classes that could be broken into 8 week portions but the idea of reducing days is just cramming, not an effective method of mastery as we all know. As for inter-term courses, that may aslo work on a limited basis as a way to alieviate the stress of full time student, but remember that breaks are just as important as intensive work sessions, I still do not see this shortening overall degree times, just spreading it out in thinner loads.

    Finally, It seems to me that not being able to wait and plan for 2 months to attain a college degree is a sign that perhaps other issues should be sorted out in life first; that is if someone can not plan at least two months out, perhaps they are not really ready for a college class yet anyway. Maybe two months is just whst they need?…. Really, a college education is (and must be) a life changing event that will require sacrifice, commitment, and planning to attain a real result. It is not like they are just ordering lunch.

  5. thanks for your sharing. i think your article must be share to other people

  6. yes, I think graduation will accelerate more quickly achieve success

  7. is great information for me. i am student and must faster track to graduation. 🙂 thanks

  8. I teach math, and I could see it being great for students coming in and placing way below Calculus but needing to get through at least that before graduating.

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