#092 Who Community Colleges & Regional Campuses are Especially Good For with Stephanie Duguid Transcript


Lisa Marker Robbins  00:45

For many students, they start the college bound journey knowing they want to start at a community college or on a regional campus. Others discover this option as a good fit along the way. And still others dismiss this as an option when it actually might just be the right first step. Stephanie do good is an experienced community college administrator, who is providing insights on the community college options, so you know how it works. And if it might be a great fit for your team. I’m Lisa Mark Robbins, and I want to welcome you to College and Career Clarity it flourish coaching production. Let’s dive right in to a great conversation. Stephanie, welcome.


Stephanie Duguid  01:35

Thank you so much, Lisa, it’s great to be here with you today.


Lisa Marker Robbins  01:38

Well, I’m excited to explore this route. Because I’ve actually seen in my own practice of working and supporting families with kids on the college bound journey, that they dismissed this option. And I it shouldn’t be dismissed by everybody. So tell me a little bit about like your you’ve worked on community college campuses. So in what capacity how long? Tell us a little bit about your background.


Stephanie Duguid  02:07

So I’ve been involved in community colleges. For years, when I was a K 12 Teacher, I actually worked through dual enrollment, so that my students at the high school could get college credit for some of the courses I was teaching in sports medicine at the time at the local community college. And so that was my first experience with dealing with a community college. Fast forward a few years. And I started as the assistant dean of career and technical education at a community college, moved into different positions. I was full time faculty and health PE and recreation was an assistant dean. And then my last position before I left, the college recently was dean of academic instruction and chief academic officer. So I was in that space for about 15 years,


Lisa Marker Robbins  02:54

there were a lot of hats, where I did means that you’re going to look at this sounds like from a lot of different


Stephanie Duguid  03:01

angles. Absolutely.


Lisa Marker Robbins  03:03

So let’s talk about like, I know, you’re a firm believer that there are many advantages to this path. So let’s just start with like, what could some of the advantages be so that a listener who’s just starting to listen to us right now they don’t tune out? Because then they go, oh, gosh, I didn’t know that. And I better keep listening.


Stephanie Duguid  03:23

Well, a lot of folks assume that community college is considered a lesser College because it has that term community in it. But in actuality, what that means is that they tailor to that community that they’re in. So the majority of the students are local students, their parents work locally, perhaps they have family that works locally. And the focus of the college is to really support that local community and the industry. So anything that we have for the student, we’ve really taken that student in mind whenever anything is developed. So community colleges are a lesser expense, the tuition is usually a quarter of that at the university. There are many that have residential campuses, so you can still get that college experience. Many still have athletics and fine arts like band. And then you also get the exact same type of experience. But it is more one on one with the instructors, because community college classes are usually at a max of 30, whereas those university classes are in the hundreds. So those are some really, really great opportunities that people don’t think about when they hear the term Community College because it’s right in your backyard.


Lisa Marker Robbins  04:37

Yeah. Wow. So let me ask you about this. I’m in the Cincinnati area, as I mentioned before we jumped on. So in our area, we have community colleges, and we have regional campuses, would you define those differently or would you define those similarly?


Stephanie Duguid  04:55

So they’re probably similar. You know, we have a community college there’s also Some that has Technical College, which is more geared towards career. And then if you have a regional campus, it’s typically a satellite campus, if you will, that is a partner with the main campus, but it’s in a regional area. So it’s something where others can have access to it, if they’re not right next to the community college. Now, the majority of community colleges that we have here in the southeast are originally from the railroad areas. So think about way back when people traveled by railroad. And so community colleges were along railroad systems. So that’s where most of the main campuses are along railroads. Then as all these towns started popping up, they said, Oh, well, we need a campus in this populated area. So most of the satellite or regional spaces are in those populated areas for students to attend. So that just kind of gives you an idea of how they started.


Lisa Marker Robbins  05:54

Yeah, that’s so interesting. You know, one of the things I say to so here in our area is University of Cincinnati, and Miami University that have regional campuses. And we also have community, we have a community college, Sinclair. And we also have a technical college, Cincinnati State and Technical College. And I remind on the regional piece, I always remind students, like a lot of times you have the same professors from main campus that are coming out to a regional campus, right? That’s right, the students on the regional campus, they can buy tickets for the football games on the main campus. So there, it sounds like they’re serving a similar population. But yet, kind of, I don’t know, the some of the advantages are a little bit different. And it works a little bit different. But just so our listeners know, many of your advantages that you said, are the exact same on a regional campus. And it’s right, your four year university as well. Well,


Stephanie Duguid  06:55

for us community colleges is a two year system. And so they transfer to the four year university. So some areas, we have University of Southern Mississippi, I’m in Mississippi, so they might have a regional campus that is in a different area other than the main campus, but that is truly affiliated with the four year community colleges are the two year college. So it’s the first two years of a four year degree is how it how it works out for academics. Now, you heard me say technical, and you also heard me say career and technical. So at a community college, we have academics on one side of the hat, and then you have career and technical on the other side. Now, there’s always been this misnomer that career and technical is a lesser degree. And I’m here to say that 100% It is not, that is usually much more challenging, because you’re learning a trade or a skill, or you’re learning your livelihood in the matter of two years. And then you can go out to the workforce. And some of those jobs are making 50 6070 or more after two years of college.


Lisa Marker Robbins  08:02

I agree. You know, it’s so funny. I have my college major and career coaching course, launch Career Clarity. And in module three of the course we do like deep dive research, and we tell them like, what’s the important information that you need to know? Where do you find it, we help them track it, we help them make sense of it. And I always say do not dismiss those two year associate degrees because some of them financially if if a value we talk about values and module two, but if a value of yours is high income and for many is not, but if it is, there are many two year degree paths that make a lot more money than some of the bachelor’s degree four year paths.


Stephanie Duguid  08:46

Absolutely. And again, that’s at a more reasonable cost. Right. So these two year programs, we have some we have Nissan as a car manufacturer close by. And so we have a program called automation and control. And that is pretty much a two year engineering program. Those students when they finish, they can start making 50 to $60,000 after two years, and then Nissan has a management track for a lot of those students to continue. So community colleges, it is just a world of unknown for so many people. So there are so many advantages to it. And especially at the tuition, what a lot of people don’t realize is that again, it is about a quarter of the cost of the universities, but our classes transfer to the universities. So if you took the first two years, if you’re going academic and you took your English and your math and your science, those directly transfer into your university core, and you get that credit so you’re starting as a junior when you get to the university and so you’ve saved so much money.


Lisa Marker Robbins  09:55

Do you ever I have a question for you on this. So if somebody’s coming into A community college or regional campus is offering associate’s degrees certificate programs in the like, you know, I always teach begin with the end in mind. And the end in mind is what career fits my wiring that then okay, let’s reverse engine engineer that, what degree do I need? Where do I go for it? So we reverse that in the methodology that I teach. So a question I have for you is if somebody starts at a community college or regional campus, with the idea that the end in mind is a particular four year degree, but they’re going to do the two year just to maybe the primary driver there is to save money. There are other drivers, which I know we’re going to talk about, do you is is this reverse engineering? Would you encourage a student to also talk to the four year universities about like credit transfers and the particular programs while they still are a teenager, and they’re getting ready to like to do only look at the four year degree or two year degree? Or do you go and look at the four year campus as well.


Stephanie Duguid  11:06

So there are some different options with that, of course, if their end in mind is to go to a particular university and a particular degree plan 100% Go ahead and look to see what that entire program looks like. In Mississippi, we’re very unique. We have 15 community colleges, and we’re kind of one system, we’re all independent, but we work together. So we have a statewide articulation agreement to the eight public universities. What that means is that we have specific courses that automatically transfer no matter where you take them in the state, they automatically transfer to that university. So we have one document, one online portal where you can go and you can look at the degree that you want. You can look at the community college and see exactly what courses will fit into that degree plan.


Lisa Marker Robbins  11:56

So that’s probably going to vary by region, geography. Yes. So you guys make it super easy. Yes, we’re very friendly down there. I one time had a student a few years back, who was going to earn a degree she she went through this process of reverse engineering, she or the degree she was going to earn. And she intended financially to start at a regional campus, but the degree she was going to earn would be a four year degree. And it was in the arts and design field. And what she discovered because she she started down this path, and I said, I would double check with where you intend to, you know, transferred to what the transfer agreements are. Because in Ohio, if you started at regional or community college, it does transfer there to transfer guarantee. But what she discovered was, it was actually her field, it was going to extend her time. Because she’s, she literally would end up going to school for six years, still four years on the main campus interiors because of her particular degree. So that’s where like, I love that you guys make it really easy, but our listeners are from all over North America. That’s right. So let’s do our homework. I mean, I always say be a good consumer be a wise consumer before we spend money on college. So that’s about asking the right questions. So the college’s right.


Stephanie Duguid  13:20

That’s right. And, and a lot of folks are nervous about asking those questions. They, we have we have advisement and we have open offices where you can come in and ask questions. And what a lot of people have a challenge with is the language. It is a different language, college campuses, universities, even from campus to campus, it can be a different language. And so it’s understanding that language that you have to ask. So if you’re talking about a degree, then talk about the courses leading to that degree. And within the degree, you have core classes, which are the general education classes, and then you have the major classes which are specific to your end result which you were saying what where do you want to go at the end? So I would absolutely encourage somebody talk to the university and see what what you have to have. And then if you do have a local or community college, talk to them as well. They may have an articulation agreement like Mississippi again, we we are considered the number one Community College Network in the nation just because of all our all the conversations that we have. And we’ve worked so well together. And a lot of people don’t realize that. So we have so many different conversations going on that we have worked very hard to have, that that transfer agreement taken care of and reviewed annually. So for anybody going out there, don’t discount that community college because those courses will will really make so much difference in the life of your student. Because not only are they taking classes, but then they also have that opportunity to get to know their instructors really get to know Though the other students to really get involved in what’s going on, and that’s how you become a part of that institution so that you stay in, you’re successful. So


Lisa Marker Robbins  15:09

well, and what we know is engaged students, whether it’s at a four year campus or to your campus, engaged students, and those who spend time with their professors are more likely to graduate, have better grades and have better opportunities.


Stephanie Duguid  15:25

Yes, that is so true. And again, with community colleges, your classes are going to be smaller. So you do get to know your instructors. And I encourage you to get to know the instructors. It was funny when I was in my Dean’s position, I had students that would come in and they say, Well, I just don’t, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know who to ask. And I said, we’ll go to your teacher. They said, Well, they’re in their office hours, I can’t go bother them. And I said, What do you mean, it says office hours? So they’re in their office? And they’re working? I said, No, no, no, no. Office hours is for you. Know, it’s time for you to go in and talk to them, they get oh, I had no idea. Oh my gosh. So even the language to the students is sometimes challenging. But I encourage you, if you have a teacher and you want to talk to them, an instructor that you want to talk to you just ask them, they’ll let you know when they’re available, when you can come in and how you can get access to them. And always review that syllabus, because that is basically your course contract as you go through there. But when you were talking about engaging students, it is so important to get involved in organizations. And there are a multitude of organizations, whether it is intramurals, so that you have some sort of activity that you’re doing, whether it’s some sort of other club, they might have an archery club, or they might have a creative writing club. We also have leadership and honor societies. And whenever you’re involved in those, just know that you can apply for and get scholarships at the community college that then transfer with you to the university. So one thing that the universities don’t have is something called Phi Theta Kappa. And Phi Theta Kappa is the Honor Society of the two year college. If you go straight to university, you don’t have any access to that. So that can have something as great as full tuition for somebody who transfers to a university. It may be a certain amount of money every month. But in addition to that, you also can have opportunities for other leadership scholarships. So don’t be afraid to ask at a community college, they’re typically foundations. And those foundations are the ones that provide a lot of money for students that go on unmarked.


Lisa Marker Robbins  17:37

Yeah. So you hit on what I think is probably a misconception about the two year campus is that you get on campus, you take your classes, and you leave, but I just heard you say like, no, no, there are honors colleges, there are intramurals, there are clubs, so there is a campus life on a regional and community college campus. What are some of the other myths or misconceptions that you see people having?


Stephanie Duguid  18:08

Well, and again, not every campus is the same. So here we do have all of those things, there may be a commuter campus. And so when you hear commuter, it really means there’s no dorms, there’s narcoleptics, you go, you take your class, and you come home, but as you mentioned in the beginning, those students are a student of that college. So if they do have any athletic events, or if they do have any organizations where students can come in for free, those community or those commuter college campus, students are still able to access those events. So I don’t want anybody to think that oh, I’m on this other campus. That doesn’t count. No, it absolutely does. Once you’re on one campus, you’re considered part of the college.


Lisa Marker Robbins  18:48

Even I at the University of Cincinnati, I know they even provide transportation plus transportation from main campus, which is considered an urban campus out to the suburbs to like their Blue Ash campus or their Clermont County Campus.


Stephanie Duguid  19:04

Right. So some do, especially if they’re in a populated area. Yeah. You know, some of that might be in the middle of the woods, they may not have those those rotation options, but are around it.


Lisa Marker Robbins  19:17

As you’re talking about that. It’s like, again, do your homework, ask the questions. And I you said earlier, people are intimidated because there is a whole lingo. And as you were saying that I was thinking like oh they acronyms and our field, right, yes. And that alone can be intimidating. But those of us who work with families to support them and those that are working on the college campuses, they want to help so don’t be shy. So asking questions is a good tip. What are some other tips that you would give families who either know that this is the right option or they’re trying to figure out if this might be A good option for them,


Stephanie Duguid  20:02

I would say go to the campus. Because that’s one thing that people don’t do, you know, we have so many students that they’ll go to, and I’m going to use some of the Mississippi schools, Ole Miss, or Mississippi State, and they get caught up in the grand jury of everything. And they just go in for the look of it. But they don’t realize that when they get into class, they’re going to be one of 350 in that English class, or they’re going to be in this dorm with so many other students. And they forget about the day in and day out, you know, they have those those rose colored glasses about, oh, my goodness, look at all these great things. So really look to see what kind of support those schools offer the students. And in a community college or any college, if you have a student that has some sort of need, whether it’s for study habits, or whether it is something that’s transferring from high school where you need some extra accommodations, please know that at the college level, you have to self disclose, so you have to ask for that help in order to get it. So once you transition from high school into college, you are now that adults, and you have to be that advocate for yourself. So just know people are expecting you to ask those questions we can guide you. But some things we can’t say, oh, well, we know these things about you. We don’t already know those things about you, you have to be your own advocate.


Lisa Marker Robbins  21:27

And your mom and dad are not going to college with you. I mean, they might want to but


Stephanie Duguid  21:32

yes, and that. That’s right. And so I also encourage the students to really be your own voice. Because you’re absolutely right. As a dean, I would get a whole lot of calls from parents. And they would ask about their student. And unfortunately, unless there’s certain federal forms signed, I can’t say anything. And they would always say, but I’m paying the taxes, I’m paying the tuition, it doesn’t matter. We have federal laws, not just college laws, federal laws, that don’t allow us to talk to you unless everything is taken care of and signed prior to. So that is huge for those students to be their own advocate to have their own voice and to really ask those questions.


Lisa Marker Robbins  22:14

You know, we’ve had, I’m gonna link in the show notes we’ve had some guests on in the past, and one of them is one of your friends that referred you to the podcast, we’ve had about three different episodes that talk about how to be sure you’re doing the things while they’re still in high school, to help them be successful in that freshman year. And I’m gonna, there’s three podcast episodes that come to mind. I don’t have the exact episode numbers in my head, but we’re gonna link to them in the show notes, because I think it’s a perfect mix of like, what you’re sharing with us, and how to be successful in that transition?


Stephanie Duguid  22:50

Well, one thing that I will say, and there’s actually two things is dual enrollment is a big piece of the puzzle these days. So many parents, and so many students are wanting to encourage dual enrollment. And what I will share is that dual enrollment is great for some, it’s not great for all. And depending on what program you go into, it may actually hurt you, if you’re a financial aid student, you receive financial aid or Pell grants. So do your homework prior to starting those dual classes. Now, dual classes, help the school get certain grades with, you know, their accommodation or their accountability model. But make sure that it’s right for you, the student. So the other thing that I wanted to share is we keep talking about vocational or career and technical and how it’s a two year option. And then you go into work, which is absolutely true. But one thing most people don’t realize, and this is what sells parents who say Oh, I don’t want them to do that vocation. But when we tell them this, they go, Oh, well, maybe they can do the vocational route is that now there’s something called Two plus two. So you have a two year at the community college in some of the universities are now doing a Bachelor of Applied Technology, where students who do their career and technical degree now they can get a bachelor’s at a lot of the regional universities.


Lisa Marker Robbins  24:12

So they’ve got that in my right and say like they’ve got that option of where they get that two year, and then they could go into the workforce, or there’s a bachelor’s degree that’s actually designed for those students at some colleges.


Stephanie Duguid  24:28

Absolutely. And those technical credits and career credits count towards a bachelor’s degree. And so that just started a couple of years ago. That never happened before probably 2019. Wow. So that is huge. In fact, we have agreements that you finish your technical, you go on to bachelors and some even continue on to a masters. And so these students have the option to go ahead and start working and they can continue going to school. So their income level is so much more than even as an administrator that columns kids were made. Be more than I was incredible.


Lisa Marker Robbins  25:03

Is it sort of like, you know, a kid who goes out and becomes a registered nurse, but doesn’t have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing colleges have Watsa colleges have, you know, an accelerated Bachelors of Science in Nursing for somebody who already has that RN, but they don’t actually hold the bachelor’s degree that can open doors, it higher income other jobs. So it sort of works like that, right?


Stephanie Duguid  25:29

100%. Yes. And with Allied Health, allied health is one of the biggest areas of the career and technical side. So you have respiratory therapy, occupational therapy, you know, all of these things that are out there. Radiology, Practical Nursing, which is a one year nursing program. So there’s so many different options that most students just don’t realize, wow. So visit your community college, I encourage you to visit that Community College.


Lisa Marker Robbins  25:55

This has been really, really great. Stephanie, is there? Is there like any nugget that you didn’t get in that as we’re closing up here, you feel like, oh, gosh, we’d be remiss if we didn’t share with our families.


Stephanie Duguid  26:07

I just think that the families need to know that you are welcome onto a community college and there are people there waiting to answer your questions. So don’t be shy. Don’t be scared. Just step on that campus, find an office they’ll direct you to the right place, and get your questions answered. It might change your life.


Lisa Marker Robbins  26:24

Thank you, Stephanie, for making time to share really valuable information with our listeners.


Stephanie Duguid  26:32

You’re most welcome. Thank you, Lisa.


Lisa Marker Robbins  26:39

What fantastic advice. The piece I want to stress today is much like I teach in the launch Career Clarity course, all of us parents and teens alike. Enter the college bound journey with preconceived ideas. I encourage you to hold those loosely, do your homework and look for the best fit, as there might just be something out there that is a better fit than anything you could have imagined. I’m talking about what colleges to attend what college majors to apply to what careers to eventually launch into. If you’ve stayed with us this long, you are likely curious enough about the community college options that might college bound Challenge for this week will fit perfectly. Head to the internet and do a deep dive research on a geographically close community or regional college option and do some exploring. If after you explore it seems like it could be a fit, then schedule a visit. Along with sharing this episode with a friend. I also encourage you to opt in for my complimentary on demand video on how to guide your team to choose the right major college in career without painting themselves into a corner. Missing crucial deadlines or risking choices you both will regret. It will set you and your teen up for success. The link to get that is in the show notes. Thank you for listening to the College Career Clarity podcast where I help your family move from overwhelmed, confused to motivated, clear and confident about your teens future