The SEED (Scholarship for Education and Economic Development) program at MHCC unfortunately appears to be coming to a close. This is a cruel reminder of how many specialty programs at the school have been under the threat of being cut or diluted, as of late.
So, let’s give a little reminder as to why specialty programs at colleges are so important, and why cutting them is a grave mistake financially and scholastically.
To clarify, when we talk about specialty programs, we mean programs or classes that are dedicated to educating students on a topic other than general education courses (like math or writing), such as music, art, radio and others..“Special” is just an easier way to reference them.
When a school starts to lose these programs, much of its appeal is drained. If the majority of a school’s classes consist of basics like writing, math and general education topics, it’s hard to stand out. You can usually get that type of education anywhere, so people will be more inclined to go to colleges with more eclectic or unique learning opportunities that they can pursue alongside general courses.
For example, there may be a specific program at Mt. Hood that isn’t available at Portland Community College that appeals to a particular group of students, and vice versa.
It isn’t just good for students who want to major in a specialty program. A student who is majoring in business may want to experiment and take a few music classes. Variety can add a sense of comfort for students who want to experiment.
While it may seem cost effective to rule out the programs that aren’t raking in a ton of money, it’s a Catch-22. Having an abundance of specialty programs increases enrollment because it can attract a wide range of students with varying interests, which adds revenue. There is also a coattail effect where students may inform their buddies who have similar interests and join them in their academic pursuits.
The addition of and maintaining these programs is very important to a college. The game design program that was integrated here two years ago has given aspiring designers a place to go. The extensive funeral services classes give important training for a niche audience. There is also the nursing program, fisheries, athletics, etc. The list goes on, and it should stay that way.
Respect and exposure also come with maintaining these programs. A school that has variety and quality in its selection of classes is a reputable one. It also shows that the school cares about growing and developing different interests in their curriculum to welcome all kinds of students.
These programs are what dominate a school’s personality. Would Mt. Hood be the same without the theater program putting on plays, ASG organizing events or The Advocate delivering hot and fresh news every Friday?
Class diversity and the variety of students they garner at Mt. Hood is, in part, what make this campus special. Let’s preserve the programs we have, develop them further and continue to adopt new ones so Mt. Hood can evolve, not devolve.