As Dean of Science, Technology, Math and Business at Cape Cod Community College, CCTC board member Bob Cody is working to connect the dots between the educational institutions on the Cape – from K-12 to the Community College, and the four-year institutions in the region. He is also linking employers, after school programming and support services in the classroom.
“We’re taking a regional approach, rather than a district or college approach,” he said. “When we link everything, we have the benefit of a wider pool of resources to provide a quality education to every child on the Cape and Islands.”
He’s only been at the college for two years, but he’s already seeing changes – and there are more on the horizon. One of the things they’ll be focusing on is professional development. Curriculum will change as they steer away from the traditional lecture role in technology and science courses and move into more of a hands-on role.
The courses offered are shifting to reflect the job markets in our community. If you look at the Cape you see health care and hospitality. But just under the surface, Bob says, you find pockets of high quality manufacturing, with companies who are extremely strong in their technology.
“We’re looking at where the job opportunities are, moving forward, with the idea of providing a clear career pathway,” he said. “We know that students want to leave the Cape. With luck, we’ll have some coming back here and building their own businesses here.”
“One of the things we need to do is provide a better base of jobs. One of the ways to get there is have a well-educated population,” Bob said. “When I think of economic development, for me it starts with education. You see towns around you that economically are dying, and when you start looking at them, there’s no school system. People don’t move there. Businesses don’t relocate jobs there. [Education is] the foundation for everything we do.”
And so the Community College is focusing on the “community” part of their name. They are engaging business partners for internships and potential jobs along the way, as well as finding ways to support and enhance all of the Cape’s schools.
Cape Cod Community College is one of the anchor institutions that connects schools, hospitals, businesses and more on the fiber-optic network. As a board member of Open Cape, Bob has ideas of how it can be used.
“If there’s something here in one school, in one classroom, that’s applicable to the rest of the Cape, why not use the infrastructure to share that with everybody else at that grade level. Nauset has a good engineering program. Sandwich has a great environmental program. There’s a 7th grade in Harwich that does a lot of work with NASA. Why not work something out so they can share it? We’re looking at the possibilities and linking people together.”
Bob’s goal is for the college to be the place that people look to first on the Cape – both for their educational and cultural facilities. “We look to where we need to go as a community. We need to look at what’s relevant and what’s going to take us to the next level. For me, if you’re not at the forefront of technology – it’s one of those things where if you’re five minutes late you’re 3 days late. You have to be current and know where it’s going.”
Where is it going at the college? They’re working with Cape Air, Barnstable County Airport and Mass Military Reservation on a new aviation maintenance program. They’re also defining concentrations in each technology area (for example changing some of the IT to software development), rather than offering a broad-based Associates Degree. Bob describes the college as “more of a pathway rather than an independent school.”
Where do those pathways lead? The possibilities are endless.