NCRVE Home | Site Search | Product Search

Previous Next Title Page Contents NCRVE Home

CHAPTER TWO:
LEARNING CONTEXT[*]



The first element in the design process focuses on learning context and results in a set of design criteria to guide and monitor the development of design specifications and new designs in the elements to follow. As such, the description of learning context is arguably the most important element of the design process. It provides overall direction and ensures that the resulting design is tailored to the needs of a particular situation. The design criteria can be used as a "report card" to assess how the rest of the design process is progressing and to indicate needed adjustments.

This section is organized into the following parts: (1) the design assumptions for NDTYI, (2) the changing context of higher education in the United States with emphasis on the TYI, and (3) the design criteria for NDTYI. Before moving forward with these parts, an explanation is provided of how the learning context of TYIs was addressed for the purposes of NDTYI.

Process of Work in Addressing Learning Context

The process of work used to develop what is reported in this section started with a review of literature on the context of the TYI and discussions by the NDTYI Work Group. Work on the design assumptions was begun in preparation for a graduate course dealing with planning and evaluating TYIs, taught at the University of Minnesota during the spring of 1995 by George Copa. At about the same time, the NDTYI Work Group developed a preliminary set of characteristics of the context faced by TYIs on entering the 21st century and a preliminary set of design criteria that could be use to ensure that the NDTYI design specification and new designs were responsive and effective in addressing the context characteristics. A similar effort was undertaken as a class project in the graduate course noted above. The 21 participants in the graduate course were practicing administrators on TYI campuses or at the state system offices in Minnesota and Wisconsin. As a strategy for use in identifying the context of TYIs, each group was asked to first identify and prioritize the problems to be faced, the opportunities to be explored, and the goals to be sought by effective TYIs on entering the 21st century.

At the first meeting of the National Design Group, members were asked to undergo the same activity of identifying problems, opportunities, and goals in view of the conclusions of major reports addressing the context of TYIs (provided by the project staff), other reports with which they were familiar, and their own experiences. The NDTYI Work Group then presented the preliminary design criteria it had developed from its efforts at describing the learning context. The strategy used in the project was aimed at getting the original thoughts of the National Design Group, but also benefiting from more extensive work by the NDTYI Work Group and the graduate class. Following the presentation to the National Design Group by the NDTYI Work Group, the National Design Group was asked to prioritize the problems, opportunities, and goals of TYIs that most needed attention in new designs for these institutions. The results of these efforts were used to revise the recommendations of the NDTYI Work Group regarding design criteria, and the revisions are presented below as the NDTYI's design criteria. This set of criteria was reviewed several times by the National Design Group at subsequent meetings. As a result of the review by the National Design Group, another section was added to the learning context description presented in this report. The added section focuses on the key dimensions of the changing context of TYIs--changes which must be faced and serve as a basis for interest in and real concern about new designs for these institutions. The design criteria serve as a response to the dimensions of change, providing strategic clues about how to proceed in the NDTYI.

Design Assumptions

As will be apparent later in this section, a key part of new designs for the TYI on entering the 21st century will be dealing with a changing context on several dimensions at the same time. With this in mind, we wanted to formulate a few assumptions that would capture the essence of the strategy that we felt would lead to an appropriate design stance or posture for effective TYIs in the future.

The first assumption we selected is shown in Exhibit 1. The assumption brings attention to the idea of viewing change as a friend rather than an enemy, and letting change assist in finding a productive, satisfying way into the future for higher education. In "dancing with change," the question arises, "Is the higher education institution or some outside organization or force leading the dance process?" Our answer is that perhaps the leadership changes from time to time, and that the study of dance from a multicultural perspective suggested that there are many forms of dance where there is no one leader. A whole community may be involved in an integrated way in the whole dance process. The same might be the case for TYIs--at times follower, at other times leader, and at times both or neither. Another characteristic of dance is that there are many unique in forms and manners, yet there are often clear patterns that identify particular dances, one from another. The agile and effective TYIs of the future will need to be astute in ascertaining patterns in complex and turbulent change as guides to mission, vision, and effective responses.

Exhibit 1
First Design Assumption for NDTYI
"What is required now is a purposeful consideration of the alternatives an institution can imagine itself making, as well as a real discussion of the consequences of not changing at all. To convene such a conversation is to dance with change." Pew Higher Education Roundtable, 1994, p. 12A

The Pew report (Pew Higher Education Roundtable, 1994), from which the first design assumption is taken, goes on to note that convening the "conversation with change" is "to enter into a relation with a future not yet fully imagined. To demur, . . . is to let someone else choose your partner as well as call the tune" (p. 12A). They advise that the conversations emanate from "a strong collective sense of an institution's identity" (p. 12A). They must balance faculty collegiality with recognition that postponing painful steps is not an option, and draw on the best ideas of faculty for maintaining institutional energy and responsiveness.

The second design assumption is captured by Wheatley and Kellner-Rogers (1996) in a book entitled, A Simpler Way , and shown in Exhibit 2. Higher education must more clearly recognize and make use of its interdependencies with many individuals, organizations, associations, agencies, and communities. The challenge for TYIs that aspire to be really effective is to continuously seek and find many (large and small) synergies with other entities where resources can be leveraged and multiplied with positive, catalytic, and symbiotic impacts for all those involved. In the language of the Internet, institutions must be effective at "surfing for synergies" to improve their quality and effectiveness in the context of the problems, opportunities, and goals that they face with increasingly scarce resources.

Exhibit 2
Second Design Assumption for NDTYI
"Everything participates in the creation and evolution of its neighbors. There are no unaffected outsiders. No one system dictates conditions to another. All participate together in creating the conditions of their interdependence." Wheatley & Kellner-Rogers, 1996, p. 14

Changing Context

As background for this section, several different reports will be reviewed that present descriptions of the changing context of higher education and, more particularly, TYIs. As noted above in the section on Process of Work in describing the learning context, except for the most recent reports, these are the materials that were presented to the NDTYI Work Group and National Design Group for their consideration in identifying the problems, opportunities, and goals to be addressed in NDTYI. The reports are presented in chronological order.

Assessing the Nature and Operation of Institutional Excellence in Vocational Education

In this report published by the National Center for Research in Vocational Education and authored by Wardlow, Swanson, and Migler (1992), the focus was on the essential elements that characterize exemplary vocational education institutions. This report is included here because vocational education institutions (e.g., technical institutes and colleges, private proprietary institutions) are an important form of the TYI, and vocational education programs are a major component of comprehensive community colleges, another form of the TYI. The fourteen institutions selected for study through a nomination process included six secondary and eight postsecondary (four technical colleges, one proprietary technical institute, and three community colleges) institutions scattered across the United States. The themes associated with effective institutions were categorized under the following headings: (1) School Climate, (2) Administration, (3) Teacher Attributes, (4) Student Attributes, (5) Vocational-Student Organization, (6) Curriculum, (7) Support Services, and (8) Institutional Marketing. Within this framework the following characteristics were described as being associated with institutional excellence:

These themes were found to be consistent across institutions that were studied, both secondary and postsecondary. Wardlow et al. (1992) suggest that

there is likelihood that the most effective way to develop these characteristics in an institution is for that institution to participate in a mentoring process with an exemplary institution, in which participants in the aspiring institution gain a holistic view of the concept of institutional excellence. (p. 42)

Report of the Wingspread Group on Higher Education (1993)

This set of discussions and report focused on the question, "What does society need from higher education?" It was sponsored by four foundations--The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; The Johnson Foundation, Inc.; Lilly Endowment, Inc.; and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The preface to the report of the prestigious group, chaired by former U.S. Secretary of Labor William Brock, states,

An increasingly open, global economy requires--absolutely requires--that all of us be better educated, more skilled, more adaptable, and more capable of working collaboratively. These economic considerations alone mean that we must change the ways we teach and learn. But, an increasingly diverse society, battered (and that is not too strong a term) by accelerating change, requires more than workplace competence. It also requires that we do a better job of passing on to the next generation a sense of the value of diversity and the critical importance of honesty, decency, integrity, compassion, and personal responsibility in a democratic society. Above all, we must get across the idea that the individual flourishes best in a genuine community to which the individual in turn has an obligation to contribute. (p. i)

The report notes that there is no single "silver bullet cure" for higher education in the United States; rather, improvements will come campus by campus with discussion and action requiring, "honest introspection and some very hard and even controversial new thinking about its roles and responsibilities, principles, and priorities" (p. ii).

In challenging higher education to raise its learning outcome standards, the report states, "A disturbing and dangerous mismatch exists between what American society needs of higher education and what it is receiving" (p. 1). Citing changes in the economy, demography, culture, technology, and globalization, the challenge for institutions of higher education is to prepare individuals to "learn their way through life" (p. 2). The response to the question of what does society need from higher education advocated in the report, particularly as relates to TYIs, is as follows:

The report issues three major challenges to higher education institutions:

  1. Taking values more seriously. Each institution should ask itself "what it proposes to do to assure that next year's entering students will graduate as individuals of character more sensitive to the needs of community, more competent in their ability to contribute to society, and more civil in their habits of thought, speech, and action" (p. 9). In responding, the Wingspread Group in Higher Education notes that institutions should consider two key lessons: (1) the values institutions act on and exemplify in their own behaviors are much more powerful in teaching than is simply proclaiming values, and (2) there is no substitute for direct experience on campuses and in the world beyond in teaching values. Campuses must model and teach the skills of community in very active ways.

  2. Putting student learning first. Institutions, both college and university, "must for the foreseeable future focus overwhelmingly on what their students learn and achieve" (p. 13). The emphasis on clearer and higher learner outcomes is a central strategy advocated for all institutions in the report's statement that putting student learning first means (among other things) that institutions

    In the Wingspread Group's words, "Putting learning at the heart of the academic enterprise will mean overhauling the conceptual, procedural, curricular, and other architecture of postsecondary education on most campuses" (p. 14). And the overall response may need to be different for different students depending on their ability to handle independence, support, and challenging standards.

  3. Creating a nation of learners. The opening sentence discussing this challenge is, "We must redesign all of our learning systems to align our entire education enterprise with the personal, civic, and workplace needs of the 21st Century" (p. 19). That alignment will "demand that American education transform itself into a seamless system that can produce and support a nation of learners, providing access to educational services for learners as they need them, when they need them, and wherever they need them" (p. 19). They point out that the benchmarks for how to do this might come from any level of education (i.e., preschool to postgraduate) and from any economic sector (i.e., educational, private, government). The concluding statement is, "America needs a more collaborative, cost-effective and better-articulated way of responding to the lifelong learning needs of growing numbers of its citizens" (p. 21).

With respect to financing these changes, the report is straightforward and again challenging in stating,

higher education's best financial hope rests on helping itself by helping expand the nation's wealth, by providing the knowledgeable and highly skilled workforce that can enhance our productivity, revitalize our communities, and rebuild our sense of "we". . . . We also believe that institutions that defer change until new resources are available will find themselves waiting for a very long time. Financial salvation will begin on the campus, or it will probably not begin at all. (p. 25)

Toward a New Model for Thinking and Planning

The contribution of this report, authored by Banach and Lorenzo (1993) and published by Institute for Future Studies at Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan, is in describing succinctly the radical changes emerging in America at the end of the 20th century as a backdrop for design and/or redesign of TYIs. These changes in context, generating both challenges and opportunities, are expected to dictate the need for bold new strategies in design and operation of TYIs. The key dimensions of the emerging context resulting from their environmental scanning are as follows:

In the context of these changes, Banach and Lorenzo (1993) recommend the following changes in the planning (design) process:

Ten Public Policy Issues for Higher Education in 1994

At the time NDTYI was initiated, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (1994) published a list of the ten most significant public policy issues in higher education for 1994. The issues were developed by a group of higher education policy experts who gathered together in October 1993. The "front burner" issues, which provide a sense of the challenges facing governing boards, trustees, presidents, and chancellors responsible for higher education systems and campuses, including TYIs, were the following (not listed in priority order):

  1. The Budget Squeeze: Competition for public funds will become more acute at the local, state, and federal levels, further squeezing funding for higher education.

  2. Oversight and Accountability: Public agency oversight of institutions will grow, as will demands for greater institutional accountability regarding finances, administration, and academic affairs.

  3. Access, Productivity, and Cost Containment: State and federal policymakers will intensify their pressure on institutions to increase productivity and provide access at reasonable cost.

  4. Student-Aid Reforms: New student-aid legislation promises dramatic change. Direct loans, national service, and income-contingent loan repayments are on the way.

  5. Changing Priorities for Research: Growth in federal funds for university research will slow, and priorities may continue to shift to research supporting economic development.

  6. Race and Diversity: Institutions will be asked to do more to address societal problems, including issues concerning race and diversity.

  7. The National Health-Care Debate: Every college and university will be affected by the outcome of the national debate on health-care reform.

  8. Intercollegiate Athletics: Public scrutiny of intercollegiate athletics will continue amid ongoing controversies about cost containment, gender equity, and the effects of reforms.

  9. Involvement in Public School Reform: Colleges and universities will be asked to do more to advance school reform.

  10. Faculty Retirement: Elimination of mandatory retirement in 1994 could affect the finances and faculty demographics of many institutions. (p. 6)

Critical Issues Facing America's Community Colleges

This report, published by The Institute for Future Studies (1994) of Macomb Community College, describes the most important issues facing community colleges in 1994-1995, the time period at which NDTYI was just beginning. Presumably, a new design for the TYI will have to effectively deal with these issues if it is to be successful. The issues described in the report are as follows:

A Framework for Fundamental Change in the Community College

This report was authored by Lorenzo and LeCroy (1994) and published by The Institute for Future Studies at Macomb Community College. The subtitle to the report is "Creating a Culture of Responsiveness." Lorenzo and LeCroy's operating assumption was that community colleges need to change in fundamental ways, meeting new needs more precisely and working from a more cohesive structure. The key assumptions they set forth to undergird their framework for fundamental change were as follows:

Ten elements make up the proposed framework for change:

  1. Think Holistically: With holistic thinking comes attention to connectedness, interdependence, systems, patterns of change, symbiotic networks, horizontal decisionmaking structures, seamless web of service, and turning competitors into collaborators. They suggest that college priorities be set through "an outside-in thinking process: (1) what's best for the community; (2) what's best for the college; (3) what's best for the unit; (4) what's best for the staff" (p. 10).

  2. Streamline Governance: The challenge here was to pick up the pace of decisionmaking to better fit the needs of the Information Age. The mechanisms for increasing speed included flattening organizations, using information technologies, and establishing crossfunctional teams.

  3. Redefine Roles and Redesign Work: The suggested approaches to redefining roles and redesigning work include (1) increased specialization (rather than expecting a person to do everything well) along four lines--designing curriculum, presenting information, managing the learning process, and assessing learning outcomes; (2) increased adaptability in operating structures and professional roles over time; (3) increased crossfunctionality across disciplines and functional areas; and (4) increased use of part-time faculty to increased speed of change.

  4. Diversify Funding: The suggestion is for colleges to move to an offense position because "doing more with less" is not a viable long-term financial strategy. The new language of funding includes rigorous fiscal discipline, working smarter and leaner, outsourcing and privatization, entrepreneurial options, differential pricing, market niches, grantspersonship, fund development campaigns, collaboration, and long-term contracts.

  5. Provide More Options: Here attention is directed toward providing more choice in terms of content, format, time, method, and setting. Practices likely to become more mainstream include home study, open entry/open exit, satellite learning centers, credit for experience, child care provisions, and customized offerings. The profile of colleges may take different directions as markets respond to these choices in different ways.

  6. Assure Relevancy: Note was made that attention to relevancy may be the most painful change for community colleges. Being relevant will involve honesty and introspection; constant dialogue with customers and competitors; providing strong general and technical skills; questioning the value of associate degrees, the academic calendar, and faculty-search process; and real commitments to multicultural goals and lifelong learning.

  7. Apply Technology: Technology is seen as a powerful "boundary breaker" for community colleges allowing the college to feasibly increase choices and horizons. Major hurdles include cost, training, and enhanced use for both administration and instruction.

  8. Cultivate New Relationships: The centerpiece in building new relationships will be moving from a focus on "teaching" to one of "learning" and from "faculty-centered" to "student-centered." The commitment to cultivating new patterns of relationships, both internal and external, will be tested in the results of moving from line decision making to team decision making; from adversary to partner between management and labor; from faculty as information provider to consultant and coach; from autonomy and independence in services to avoiding duplication, waste, and gaps in services; from holding on to sharing power and resources across institutional borders; and from reluctance to enthusiasm in building relationships with K-12 public schools.

  9. Changing Success Factors: Attention must shift from measuring inputs to measuring learning outcomes for all dimensions of the colleges' activities, traditional and new and emerging.

  10. Facilitating Continuous Learning: The suggestion is for the college to demonstrate a continuing capacity to update and become stronger. The aim is to be a "learning organization" with constant and significant attention to professional development for all college staff. (pp. 10-21)

Starving the Solution

In this report published by the Miami-Dade Community College Foundation, McCabe (1995) addresses four major issues facing community colleges: "the demand for more highly educated workers is increasing and will continue to increase; more undereducated and underskilled workers are attempting to enter the workforce; there is an ever expanding dependent underclass; and in most cases community colleges are receiving less financial support" (p. 1). By not providing adequate resources to community colleges, legislators are "starving the most promising solution" to resolving the first three issues noted above. McCabe goes on to document the positive effects of community colleges on worker training, addressing the needs of the undereducated and underskilled, and developing economic independence. He concludes that community colleges are "undervalued, under-appreciated, and underfunded" (p. 10). Major symptoms of the underfunding include "a rapid increase in sections taught by part-time faculty, a decrease in support personnel, inadequate funds to stay current with technical equipment and library materials, and non-competitive salaries" (p. 11).

National Assessment of Vocational Education

The National Assessment of Vocational Education was mandated by the U.S. Congress as a part of the 1990 Perkins Act. The Office of Educational Research and Improvement in the U.S. Department of Education was assigned the task of conducting the assessment. Its purpose was to examine the outcomes of the 1990 Perkins Act and make recommendations concerning future reauthorization. A major component of the assessment was the examination of postsecondary vocational education, which largely occurs and is a significant purpose of TYIs.

On examining participation in postsecondary vocational education, the assessment resulted in the following conclusions (Boesel, Hudson, Deich, and Masten, 1994):

With these conclusions in mind, the assessment makes the following recommendations for reauthorization of the Perkins Act to improve postsecondary vocational education:

Important themes in the assessment's summary report (Boesel & McFarland, 1994) as it relates to postsecondary vocational education include (1) closer linkage of secondary and postsecondary programs (Tech Prep); (2) better integration of occupational and academic programs; (3) more accessible and responsive to a wide range of learners, particularly those with special needs; and (4) increased use of occupational and industrial standards as benchmarks for program quality and ensuring being up-to-date.

Transforming Higher Education

Nearing the completion of NDTYI, the Society for College and University Planning published the report entitled Transforming Higher Education: A Vision for Learning in the 21st Century (Dolence & Norris, 1995). The authors call for major transformation in higher education as society changes paradigms from the industrial age to the information age. In their vision, higher education must realign with the needs of its stakeholders, clients, customers, and beneficiaries. The transformation of higher education is addressed in four phases: (1) realign, (2) redesign, (3) redefine, and (4) re-engineer. Key concepts in the transformation from industrial age to information age include changing from . . .

In making the transformation, higher education will need to realign with the changing nature of information, knowledge, and scholarship; needs of individual learners; and the changing nature of work and learning. Redesigning higher education to integrate these new concepts will include changes such as creating barrier-free, perpetual learning; offering high-quality, flexible enabling services; reconceptualizing around essential outcomes; and pushing out organizational boundaries using technology. Redefining roles in higher education will include faculty playing a variety of roles: "researcher, synthesizer, mentor, evaluator and certifier of mastery, architect, and navigator" (p. 61). The transformation will involve re-engineering around performance measures such as the following:

The authors of this report are clear in their admonition about the choice available to higher education institutions: "Accept the risks of pursuing the transformation of higher education to an Information Age model, or the certainty of stagnation and decline as Industrial Age colleges and universities fall further and further from favor" (p. 94).

The Community College Story

A well-known leader in the field of community colleges, George B. Vaughan (1995), was commissioned by the American Community College Association to prepare this concise description of the community college movement in the United States. Since the community colleges represent the most numerous form of public, TYIs, the report was included in developing design criteria for NDTYI. Vaughan reports that there were 1,472 public community colleges, technical colleges, two-year branch colleges, and independent junior colleges in the United States in 1990, and they enrolled more than 5.7 million students in credit courses. This number amounts to about 38% of all students enrolled in community colleges and four-year institutions (p. 10).

Vaughan summarizes the mission of community colleges as a series of precepts or basic commitments:

The community college's mission is usually achieved through the following traditional categories of programs, activities, and services:

With regard to the description of community college students, Vaughan contrasts traditional four-year institutions with "student-as-citizen" to the community college, where the norm is "citizen-as-student." The citizen-as-student is described as, "concerned with paying taxes, working full-time, supporting a family, paying a mortgage, and with other responsibilities associated with the everyday role of a full-time citizen" (p. 17). The change in role has many implications for student needs in terms of how, when, and by whom courses are taught.

In terms of funding, community colleges are primarily supported by local and state taxes. According to Vaughan, "On average, nationally, community colleges receive approximately 50 percent of their funds from state taxes, 21 percent from local government, 20 percent from tuition and fees, 4 percent from the federal government and 5 percent from other sources" (p. 22).

Summary

In view of the positions, findings, and recommendations of the reports described above and intensive deliberations in the NDTYI Work Group and National Design Group, a set of key changes in the context of higher education was selected for attention in NDTYI:

These are the changes that challenge new designs for the TYI. They form the basis for the design criteria that were used to guide the development of NDTYI.

The Design Criteria

Given the design assumptions and the changing context of the TYI in the United States, the work of the NDTYI Work Group and the National Design Group, in combination and interaction, resulted in a set of design criteria to guide and monitor the next elements in the design process. This section of the report will give an overview of the design criteria followed by a more detailed treatment of each criterion in terms of the questions it suggests for each element in the design process.

Overview of Design Criteria

By way of overview, the criteria for the exemplary design of a 21st century TYI were formulated as follows:

On Being Attentive to the Design Criteria

The following section of the report focuses more in-depth on each of the design criteria in terms of what the design criteria mean in action (e.g., on being imaginative, on being directional). For each of the design criteria, attention is given to a brief description of the concept underlying the criterion and then raising questions relating the criterion to each of the elements in the design process (e.g., signature, outcomes, process, organization).

On Being Imaginative

Imagination involves exploration of the possible. It questions the beliefs and myths that underlie current activities and organizations. Imagination creates metaphors that help people visualize productive futures. And, it facilitates the design of models of systems and behaviors that give creative shape to the future. Being imaginative raises the following questions for each design element:

Signature

Outcomes

Process

Organization

Partnerships

Staff and Staff Development

Environment

Finance

Celebration

On Being Directional

The metaphor for direction of the TYI is a camera with the ability to change the lenses of its organizational procedures to focus the resources of the institution and diffuse information to make impressions--wide angle to get a broader view of the context and environment, telescope for the future or to view other organizations, snapshot to take stock, and video to function in an ongoing environment. Each member of the learning community should have the same camera capacity. Being directive raises the following questions for each of the design elements:

Signature

Outcomes

Process

Organization

Partnerships

Staff and Staff Development

Environment

Finance

Celebration

On Being Responsive

The amount of information is doubling currently at about a rate of every 18-24 months. By the year 2010, that rate may be every three to five days (Noam, 1995). With extraordinary growth in information, institutions of higher education need to be able to respond quickly. How does an institution of higher education position itself to be responsive in the 21st century, moving from the Information Age into the Knowledge Age? Being responsive raises the following questions for each element in the design process:

Signature

Outcomes

Process

Organization

Partnerships

Staff and Staff Development

Environment

Finance

Celebration

On Being Collaborative

Collaboration is a dynamic, mutually beneficial, and well-defined relationship entered into by two or more individuals or organizations to achieve common goals. The relationship includes a commitment to a definition of mutual relationships and goals, a jointly developed structure and shared responsibility, mutual authority and accountability for success, and sharing of resources and rewards. Collaboration results in easier, faster, and more coherent access to services and benefits and in greater effects on systems. Working together is not a substitute for adequate resources, although the synergistic efforts of the collaborating partners often result in creative ways to overcome obstacles. Being collaborative raises the following questions about each element of the design process:

Signature

Outcomes

Process

Organization

Partnerships

Staff and Staff Development

Environment

Finance

Celebration

On Being Accountable

Accountability involves meeting responsibilities and includes nuances that range from the explicit, but usually quite narrow, demands for specific accomplishments of goals or objectives as might be expressed in a planning document or contract to the implicit, diffuse, and usually unarticulated expectations that have their foundations in cultural traditions and mores that truly determine parameters for institutions and individuals. A metaphor that reflects the range of meanings for accountability may then be that of the iceberg with a tip visible on the surface that ostensibly can be approached in a straightforward manner, and a great hulk of the hidden, treacherous mass underlying the seemingly benign portion. Many a ship has been wrecked because it has not paid attention to or has misjudged the degree of danger lurking beneath the waves. Likewise, being accountable demands attention not only to explicit, but also to implicit expectations. Being accountable raises the following questions for each element of the design process:

Signature

Outcomes

Process

Organization

Partnerships

Staff and Staff Development

Environment

Finance

Celebration

On Being Resourced

Being resourced means ensuring that there are adequate financial resources to provide the desired characteristic for each element of the design of a TYI. It means that lack of funding is never the reason for not doing what is in the best interest of providing a quality learning experience. Financial resources are soon converted into the people, learning materials, equipment, and settings needed to create the desired learning experience. Resourcing has short- and long-term considerations and a revenue and cost side to the ledger. Being responsive demands a balance of prudence and risk taking, making the best of what is in place and having an entrepreneurial spirit to develop new ventures, making wise use and the best case for existing financial sources, continually seeking new sources, honing the efficiency of present systems and ways of doing business, and asking tough questions regarding entirely new approaches. Being resourced raises the following questions about each element of the design process:

Signature

Outcomes

Process

Organization

Partnerships

Staff and Staff Development

Environment

Finance

Celebration

Summary

Development of an appropriate set of design criteria for NDTYI was a significant element in the design process. These criteria guided the response to design specifications and the selection or development of exemplary new designs for the remaining elements of the design process. The resulting design criteria are grounded in a close examination of the context of TYIs in the United States--their problems, assets, opportunities, and aspirations. The selected criteria are that new designs be imaginative, directional, responsive, collaborative, accountable, and resourced. In the view of the NDTYI staff, if new institutional designs are responsive to these criteria in all of the criteria's dimensionality, the resulting institutions will have good assurance of being successful (perceived as doing a good job), valued (perceived as doing a job very worth doing), and used (perceived as a good investment by individuals and community).


[*] This section was written by George Copa.


Previous Next Title Page Contents NCRVE Home
NCRVE Home | Site Search | Product Search