A “major” undertaking

By Daniel DeMarte
Vice President for Academic Affairs

small colored bucketsTCC’s new website organizes our diverse program offerings into what Web Communications calls  “buckets.” The idea is that, rather than asking a student to comb through 150 programs, we first provide a higher level overview of what you can study at TCC and how the programs are related.

In higher ed speak, those “buckets” are known as “meta-majors.” And TCC is well on the way to adopting this concept.

Florida’s College Access Network defines meta-majors as “a collection of academic programs that have common or related content that students will be advised upon as they enter college.”

They are a pillar of the No. 1 Principle of Guided Pathways: “Accelerate entry into coherent programs of study.”

Too much choice, especially uninformed choice, leads to poor decisions. Meta-majors reflect two concepts from behavioral economics that should result in students making better decisions:

  • They give students an “active choice” – one of several broad possibilities rather than the ability to evade any decision at all.
  • They provide a “prescribed default exploratory process,” or a structured path forward, rather than near-unlimited freedom.

Behavioral economics tells us that most people will accept – even welcome – a default choice designed by informed professionals. Meta-majors help students make the big choices. Only when they’re in a meta-major do they narrow their selection of a major.

What will meta-majors at TCC look like? While the work is still going on, I can tell you they will be similar to what’s on our website, with a few changes. The biggest change is that we will be going from 8 “buckets” to 9.

The implementation of meta-majors at TCC will have implications far beyond the organization of our academic programs. I want to thank the Deans/Directors, Faculty Leaders, and Student Affairs representatives who have worked closely with the Provosts and me on this important organizational change.

2 thoughts on “A “major” undertaking

  1. Pete — We are certainly taking these changes into effect in our marketing. We are currently developing core brochures for each of the meta-majors. When they are finalized, they will be reflected on the new website. As individuals express interest in these meta-majors, we are taking measures to track them accordingly and are developing the materials to further promote and cultivate interest. In terms of mass media such as TV, billboards, etc. advertising the meta-majors is unlikely, as we are focused on promoting the college as a whole. We are working on some great new things for Fall TV — stay tuned!

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