In Episode 32 of the CSUSB Advising Podcast, Matt Markin chats with Dr. Viktor Wang about the Career and Technical Studies major, also known as Career and Technical Education (CTE). What is the CTE major? What career opportunities are there? What are the industry sectors? What resources are available? Find out in this episode!
For more information about CTE, please visit the Career and Technical Education website.
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Welcome to the CSUSB advising podcast. My name is Matt Markin, academic advisor in the office of advising and academic services, and on today's episode, we're learning more about the bachelor's degree in career and technical studies. So we'd like to welcome Dr. Victor Wang, coordinator for the designated subjects and career technical education programs at CSUSB. Dr. Wang, welcome. Thank you. So can you tell us a little bit more about yourself kind of what was your path into higher ed and to CSUSB?
Sure. I graduated from the University of Arkansas, where the father of adult education Malcolm Knowles, worked till his death. So I got two degrees from that university. And then I was hired by CSULB in 2002, as a faculty and CTE coordinator. So I worked there for nine years, until some administrators got rid of my department. And so in 2009, and I spent two more years sending my former students to CSU San Bernardino. And then I was hired by a Ph.D. program on the east coast and I began to work for other institutions for about 10 years. Last year, I was hired back into the CSU system. And this is where I belong. And I really have a passion for working for the CSU system.
Yeah, absolutely. I'm glad that that you found your way to Cal State San Bernardino. And with Cal State San Bernardino, we offer the Career and Technical Studies major, can you describe what that major is and and the differences between the BA and the BS that are offered?
Yes. Career and Technical Education short for CTE is a program of study that involves a multi multi year sequence of courses that integrates core academic knowledge with technical and occupational knowledge, to provide students with a pathway to post secondary education and careers. And this is the description from California Department of Education. And I always use my own definition. So I define career and technical education as education for work for paid and unpaid employment. And CTE objectives include one meeting the manpower and ease of society, to increasing the options available to individuals, and three, providing a motivating force to enhance all types of learning. And in California, we tend to talk about 15 industry sectors leading up to 58 pathways. But in other states, people in CTE tend to talk about eight education clusters. Namely, they are agriculture, education, business education, occupations, family and consumer science, vocational industrial occupations, technology, education, technical education and vocational guidance. So these eight education clusters are similar to 15 industrial sectors that we talked about in California. So regarding the difference between BA and Bs degrees at CSUSB, BA stands for Bachelor of Arts degree. And the Bachelor of Arts in CTE is designed to provide candidates with significant occupational and teaching experience the opportunity to have that experience count as partial credit toward a baccalaureate degree. Applicants must possess a high school diploma or is equivalent, and five years of work experience and or education directly related to each subject. That candidate teaches you in order to qualify for a career technical evaluation of competency applicant must have at least three years of full time work experience. At least 1500 clock hours of teaching experience. And applicants must be admitted to the university and should take ECTS 3350 Introduction to career and technical studies within the first academic year. And so the beauty of the BA program at CSUSB, we allow candidates to earn up to 30 semester units of experience for their work experience, and this experience must be verified through written exams, portfolios, personal interviews, demonstrations or appropriate means of documentation. And regarding BS degree and that's Bachelor of Science degree, this degree is designed for transfer students, as you know, there are over 100 community colleges in California alone. So to be exact, we have 113 community colleges. So we have a large number of transfer students. So this Bachelor of Science degree, with a major in career and technical studies, provides community college and transfer students to continue on a career path towards a well rounded academic baccalaureate degree, consistent with their goals in career and technical studies. And so as you can see, you know, those are the major differences between the BA and the BS degree programs at CSUSB.
Yeah, thank you for that. And so a question that might come up too is, you know, you're talking about how a BS degree Transfer Students can maybe pursue that one. You know, it's the it's have work experience, or that can maybe count for some units. What about if a student is maybe starting out as a first year student, as a freshman? Would this be a major that they might pursue? Or would it be more so with someone that does have that work experience or might be transferring into Cal State San Bernardino?
Oh, primarily, our BS degree and our BA degree programs are designed for individuals with work experience in a business, technical locational, trade and industrial specialty, who would like to teach vocation education or their occupations to students in a secondary, post secondary, and private school environment? So in other words, our degree programs are BA and BS degree programs are designed especially for working adult professionals or adult working professionals, I'm sorry. And these although working professionals are also called adult learning professionals, adult learners are non traditional learners with significant work experience. So typically, you will find our students, you know, they are police officers, firefighters, trainers from human resource departments, hospital personnel, military personnel. So namely, they come from 15 industry sectors. So I talked about previously, they come from eight education clusters, so, and a lot of our students are retirees. So they retire from their first careers. And then you know, they want to teach their occupations to the younger generations of learners. With that, you know, I'm not saying you know, the programs are not designed for traditional age learners. Traditional age learners are welcome to obtain our degrees at the university, and we do have a small number of traditional age learners in our programs. So in my classes, I have, you know, a couple of 20 year olds, you know, pursuing our degrees. I cannot speak for CSUSB but for other campuses for similar programs. They have international students who are traditional age learners without any work you experience or teaching experience? So, I would say, Matt, you know, our programs are designed for both traditional age learners and perhaps primarily for adult working professionals.
And if someone is interested in this major, or maybe they're just not sure if they want to do this major or not, maybe they've narrowed it down to a couple majors, is there an introductory level course that a student can take, or if they're in the major that they'll need to start out with?
Yes, we have three introductory level courses. One is ECTS 3350, Introduction to Career and Technical Studies. The other one is ECTS 5010. And the third one is 5190. So these are introductory, introductory level courses, and it is 5190. So we prepare our students to enter the area of career and technical studies. So we prepare them.
Yeah, and I guess going along those lines, generally speaking, what are students learning in some of the classes or within the major?
Well, they there is a core body of knowledge in the field. But basically, they are students in the programs acquire deep academic knowledge, with technical and occupational knowledge. So many of our courses deal with methods of teaching, teaching theories, and learning theories, teaching philosophies. You know, our most of our students are adult learning professionals with a rich reservoir of prior knowledge from their careers. They may not be effective teachers. So here, you know, we work together with our learners, and we equip our learners with instructional strategies so that they can become effective teachers in the field.
Are there any misconceptions that you've come across or that students might have about your major?
Yes, well, typically, we have to debunk three misconceptions in the field. So misconception one, you know, career and technical education is for low performing students or students who don't go on to a college or post secondary training. And CTE has become a dumping ground, you know, for these low performing students. And that's misconception number one. And misconception number two, CTE programs lead to careers with low wages. And misconception number three CTE programs aren't relevant if a student does not know what career they want. So I want to point out, you know, today's students involved in CTE programs are enhancing their employability and personal skills through experiential learning to set themselves ahead in their future careers. Although CTE has made substantial strides in developing the best ways to prepare students for their future, many outdated perceptions or myths surrounding CTE still exist. And so we think he advocates are called to debunk the common misconceptions. And the goal of CTE is to help students achieve success in and out of the classroom by empowering them to take charge of their future through educational opportunities. And CTE is relevant and vital for modern day students, because it allows them to plan for the future and develop the skills necessary to be successful successful in today's workforce. Career and Technical Education is a comprehensive, equitable field that has implications far beyond secondary education. And it's a springboard for today's youth as they transition to the next phase of their education and career. And so I, I described the three objectives in career and technical technical education. One is meeting the manpower needs of society. Two is to increase the options available to individuals and three, providing a motivating force to enhance all types of learning. So CTE is such a vital, vitally important field. And by the way, the former LAPD police chief, graduated from my former department of occupational studies at Long Beach. And my former department chair, Dr. Paul Bod, was an entrepreneur and he was able to recruit nearly 2000 adult learners throughout California, and some learning some learners from other states and countries. And so we were such a successful department. So we were probably the largest department on the West Coast. Yeah, so those are, you know, the common misconceptions and a lot of fire chiefs graduated from such a department of Career and Technical Studies, and a lot of military personnel with ranks. Yeah, and the leaders from hospitals, leaders from prisons, you know, they pursue, you know, career technical studies. And I believe, you know, they're, you know, they all have, you know, high paying jobs, positions, careers.
Thank you for bringing it up and addressing those misconceptions. And then yeah, the success stories as well. And are there any resources that your department or college offers?
Oh, yes, absolutely. Um, I don't think we have any clubs. But we do have tutoring scholarship, grant programs, funding opportunities in the department. So periodically, we send tutoring information scholarship opportunities to our students. And our stakeholders oftentimes send us positions, you know, from the local, local region and throughout California. And we just forward these career opportunities to our students, and some of them apply for these positions. And yes, we do have you know, tutoring, I believe, we have a writing center and the writing center director, you know, sends us information about children ring all the time throughout the semester. And my students, you know, some of them a small number of my students seek help assist assistance from our writing center to tutoring Center.
Nice. And then for academic advising, how does that work with with your major do they reach out specifically to you?
Yes, I am the CTE coordinator for the department. They can reach out to me at any time. So, basically, I review their application materials and I meant incoming CTE students to the programs and regarding advising for these CTE scholars, all our faculty members are their advisors. So, I when students contact me I am their first point of contact and I refer them to our faculty colleagues. So suppose you know One CTE scholar needs college units for teaching and work experience. I immediately refer that student scholar to a lecture or sit Burke's the students should sign up for two courses with Sid Burks and Sid Burks will help determine how many college units this particular student may earn for work or teaching experience. And for other issues, advising issues, if they have questions regarding their electives. I may refer them to Dr. Andrew Hughes, and our department chair is Dr. Joseph Scarcella. And he is probably the number one expert in California in the field of career and technical education. But many of our students you know, contact the department chair first, and then you know, he has to he has to answer the questions first. And then you know, he may refer them back to me or other faculty members in the department. So we work as a team. So we are here for our scholars kind of our seventh, and we offer our classes fully online. And that's the beauty of this particular program. And our classes reach our scholars throughout California. It doesn't matter where they are located, and we deliver our courses to them. And we are the end. The other thing I want to mention Matt, CSUSB is the sole provider of CTE programs in California. We do have 15 CTE credential programs, but those 14 CTE credential programs do not offer a bachelor degree or master degree CSUSB we offer not only the credential programs, you have three areas, you know, CTE credential, adult education credential, and supervision and coordination, you know, three programs in the credential program. And we also the bachelor degree programs in CTE we offer the Bachelor of Science degree program and CTE, we offer the master of ours in CTE. So we are the only CTE programs left in the state. So we do offer, you know, a unique learning package for our CTE scholars. And we are the only university that allows our credential courses to be used to count towards their BA, BS. And I'm a program in CTE and in California, so we're unique, and we are all of our programs in CTE are state accredited. And our CSUSB teachers are highly, highly desired. And we know you know, you know, you know, the fact is at CSU as the we have the state of the art buildings and facilities. It is such a beautiful campus, and I shot a video for the campus with my 36 megapixel camera. And so my students enjoy that video. I have, you know, I have worked for quite a few institutions. I've visited, you know, you know, many institutions. And to me CSU as the is the most beautiful campus. So I'm not sure you know whether CSUSB is the most beautiful campus in the 23 campuses in the system, but I know that's my personal belief.
Yeah, well, I agree with you on that. It's definitely a beautiful, beautiful campus. Yeah, I've been to some of the other CSU love their campuses, but there's something special about Cal State San Bernardino, so perfect way to end this interview. But Dr. Wang, thank you so much for being on the podcast and sharing about your major.
Thank you, Matt.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai