After completing the Task 2 paper, I feel pretty good about the way the paper looks and reads. It follows the form of Banathy’s (1973) Function/Structure model pretty well. I would have liked to have time to take advantage of peer feedback, but delays in completing the paper due to surgery and computer problems made the paper so late that became impossible.
I do feel like I learned a lot from dissecting Banathy’s model, and also from the other readings we were assigned in class and those I located in my area of interest. The act of analyzing my selected system and comparing it to the model was actually very insightful. It helped me better understand the school where I am employed and to appreciate it more, because I was able to stand back and examine it from an outsider’s perspective. I used school resources such as our academic vision and master plan and our website to help determine what our image, purposes, and functions were, and the bit of detective work helped me form a greater appreciation for the work that went into determining the current goals and future direction of our school.
Working with my peers in the group during the Detropia analysis also helped me make better sense of the model and helped me to do a better analysis of my own system. I was reminded to retain my analysis to a snapshot in time. I’ve been at the school for several years, and the temptation is to base my conclusion on the way I think things are based on how things have been in the past. I know that our school has changed since I’ve been there and it is in the process of changing further. What we are right now is not how we were nor does it reflect how we will stay. My paper needed to analyze where we currently are, and working with my peers helped me remember that although our past shapes our present, it is not who we are now.
I am interested in this particular system for several reasons. Firstly and perhaps most importantly, A&M Texarkana is my current employer. I work in this system and it health as a system affects my personal well-being and my ability to remain employed. Secondly, it is my alma-mater. I received my MS degree from this institution. Third, it is a strong component of our community. Its health affects the community where I live and my overall system. Finally, I have four young people with potential interest in attending this university to obtain their undergraduate or graduate degrees. Their interest will depend on the health of the university as a system as well as on which programs are offered and what the reputation of the school is.
My final paper was more than 15 pages not counting the references and title page. Even with this long of a paper, I’m positive I did not spend time analyzing every element. Relationships between departments were not thoroughly analyzed. I did not spend a great deal of time describing the process of SACSOC accreditation or the relationship of our school to the A&M System. I did not go into great lengths to discuss the partnership between Texarkana College and A&M-Texarkana to ensure that students completing their core subjects at the first could transfer to the latter without additional expense or loss of credit. But overall, I think I focused on the key topics, and the result was a good paper.
Banathy, B. H. (1973). The functions/structure model. In Developing a systems view of education: The systems-model approach (pp. 59–97). Salinas, CA: Intersystems Publications.