Continuing Education is an old concept that’s becoming more and more important as we move further and further into the information age. It’s becoming so important that it’s superseding traditional college education.
What does an employer value more, a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering or a certificate in Solidworks? There is a very real chance that the candidate with the fancy new cert in Solidworks gets picked first. That’s because the BA in engineering from just a few short years ago didn’t get exposed to this software. Software that has become so critical that many manufacturers currently rely on it for their entire product development stack. Five or ten years from now it may be Hololens cert that lands the job for the job seeking professional. In an age that’s defined by rapid change to nearly every single aspect of our culture adapting to that rapid change is critical for professionals. Ergo… the need for continuing education. The same thing happened with the industrial age, only much slower.
In this article by Jason Lemon, Dean of Professional and Continuing Education at the University of San Diego we get a bit of insight as to what educators are thinking. The article talks about how Continuing education can’t be just for an extension of the university, an outreach effort, or revenue stream. It should “create strategic advantages for the entire university” and then the article goes on to talk about how to modify the degree programs to this new reality.
The key is that the degree is dead. Unless your an academic, or someone who’s intended on getting a job that requires a gatekeeper credential (i’ll write more on this in a future post), the degree is meaningless. It’s why the Bachelor Black Hole exists. But the broader culture hasn’t really grasped it, so we have a generation of people who have been brought up to expect a degree to get them a good job. That first degree didn’t work, so maybe they need to get another degree, right? Well that’s not working too well either, even when you go to the highest levels of education.
This is a great article about how Colleges and Universities are thinking and changing to the new reality. But no matter how much you modify, if your core product is dead, then unless you can turn the ship around your in a bit of trouble.