Education /
January 20, 2021

In the Shop – The 8 Areas of Program Excellence

Imagine, if you will, your favorite vehicle. Perhaps you like sports cars and a Corvette, Porsche, or Lamborghini top your list, or vintage muscle cars like a Mustang, Trans Am, or Roadrunner better fit on your wish list. Other favorites may be just plain eclectic (a Pacer, DeLorean, or Edsel come to mind). Perhaps you like SUV’s and an Escalade, Navigator, Land Rover, Maybach, or Urus are more your style. Then there are those that prefer the more rugged styling of Wranglers, Broncos, or Hummers. And we can’t forget the truck people…from Gladiators, Canyons, and Rangers, to Denali, High Country, or the various limited editions of the top three American truck makers, to big rigs that may catch your eye: Peterbilt 379s, Kenworth W900s, Mack Anthems, Western Stars, or Lone Stars.

No matter your preference, imagine the best version of your favorite vehicle. Your favorite color/paint scheme, clean, and looking like it just came out of the showroom/museum. Do you have the image in your mind?  Good. You are given the key to this prized item. You get in the driver’s seat and soak in the sounds, smells, and sights of the perfectly-created interior. You insert the key, and start the motor. It runs rough. Thick exhaust belches from the tailpipe (and no diesel lovers, you are not “rolling coal”). The interior shakes and shimmies violently. It will barely stay running, and doesn’t improve.

This is the image of a school or program that does not perform well in all areas of program excellence. Perhaps this school has a great recruiting process, a clean classroom and lab area, and a personable teaching staff. But the Instructors and Lab Techs are not properly trained on the latest advances in electronics, automated vehicle technologies, or alternative power options. These skills are needed by today’s graduates, but are not able to be offered by your school because your institution isn’t “firing on all of its cylinders.”

Program excellence, to be fully realized and properly applied, should be a complete package, both inside and out. The Transportation Center of Excellence (TCOE) categorizes program excellence into 8 broad categories:

  • Industry Involvement
  • Work-Based Learning
  • Professional Development
  • Accreditation (Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessments)
  • Recruiting/Outreach
  • Equipment
  • Facilities
  • Regulations.

These categories are further broken down into 63 individual items that can be assessed on a gradient scale to determine the areas requiring the most attention at a given institution, campus, or program. Based on those results, action plans can be developed to diagnose and repair identified deficiencies. The TCOE also has a collection of resources. These resources provide information for each of the 63 items addressed in the Program Excellence Inventory.

The TCOE is happy and willing to work with any college campus or program to determine areas of strength, weakness, opportunity, and improvement. Simply connect with us via our website, or e-mail our Director of Program Excellence, Carl Borleis ([email protected]), for more information, details, or to set up a meeting. We can help diagnose your problem, fine-tune the machine, help with the needed repairs, and get you running at optimal levels.