Monroe Community College has become a founding partner in Project SAIL, a national network promoting access, exchange and dissemination of specialized industry-driven programs for community college students. Launched by the League for Innovation in the Community College and supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Project SAIL (Specialty Asynchronous Industry Learning) offers courses and programs that transcend traditional college service and area boundaries to fulfill workforce needs in even the most remote communities.
“Community colleges all across the country work with various companies in their region to assist with training and economic development needs. Sometimes, these colleges don’t have the expertise in the topics requested. The SAIL project has the potential to share the expertise of community colleges across the country with each other to address needs in a cost effective manner,” says Dustin Swanger, Ed.D., MCC’s associate vice president of economic and community development and dean, technical education.
Already one of the leading providers of online courses in the State University of New York system, MCC’s involvement in Project SAIL is an extension of the College’s commitment to student access, according to Jeffrey Bartkovich, Ph.D., MCC vice president, educational technology services. “Through this partnership and through the sophistication of today’s online learning options, we can expand our reach and increase our impact,” he says. “A student here could take a Funeral Management Course offered by a community college in Missouri or a student in Iowa could get an accounting certificate from Shoreline Community College in Washington State.”
Project SAIL was launched in 2003 as an 18-month prototype initiative. In addition to building a national clearinghouse for exchange of asynchronous specialty industry curricula and training options, Project SAIL partners have developed a catalog of learning exchange resources, such as model articulation agreements, sample transaction models, and customized exchange agreements. These resources provide a foundation for a full-scale national implementation model for development, exchange, and customization of online specialty courses.