It is no secret that Continuing Education is not always the highest priority of college administration. Because of its services and function, identity is sometimes lost or misunderstood.
It is common for top administrators to have limited experience or exposure to a Contract Training approach as a way of doing business. That lack of understanding directly impacts support from college leaders that traditionally come from academic backgrounds.Beyond the support of top-level administration, the other offices of the organization directly can impact the success or failure of a Contract Training department. Many times, there is a lack of clear communication fromadministration that compounds the severity of the situation.
Contract Training programs are often treated as less important and the end result becomes dependent on part-time instructors, dilapidated instructional space, and the expectation of doing more with less.
Lack of institutional support and understanding can be one of the greatest inhibitors of the success of Continuing Education Contract Training programs. By the very nature of this areas’ structure, the needs of nontraditional students create a demand for services that can be seen as extremely different from the rest of the institution.
Campus offices are not easily willing to make notable exceptions or amend procedures to accommodate diverse continuing education programs. For example, business offices are frequently unwilling to bend on procedure and room scheduling is not designed to accommodate the needs of noncredit programs effectively.
It is your job to make sure leadership has a clear understanding of the function and benefit of the Contract Training department. For most institutions, the potential for practical training programs with an effective, operational model remains under-researched and underutilized.
There is a growing number of institutes becoming closer to financial independence within the Contract Training department.
There are four guiding questions that must be addressed when facing challenges for the internal marketing and understanding of Contract Training Units. How do I shift priorities? How do I impact the culture? How do I explain the funding? How do I express what I need? Knowing the answers to these questions will help keep your Contract Training department on the radar.