By Daniel DeMarte
Vice President for Academic Affairs
TCC’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.