Community College News

Community College News

Get the latest and greatest news in the world of community college education.  Keep up with all the developments taking place at the local level to help students further their education and continue on with their career and scholastic goals.

Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <br/>Objective: Although much research on community colleges focuses on institutional challenges or student deficits, emerging evidence suggests that student–instructor relationships have the potential to impact student success. The current study examined factors that could influence community college students’ development of relationships with instructors and how these relationships are associated with academic engagement and achievement. Drawing on literature exploring student–instructor relationships at 4-year institutions, we hypothesized that students’ relationships with instructors may partially account for the association between student demographic and relational characteristics and academic outcomes (i.e., cognitive and behavioral engagement, grade point average [GPA]). Method: Survey data were collected from 646 ethnically and racially diverse participants, many of whom were first-, second-, or third-generation immigrants, or first-generation college students. Employing a between-subjects, cross-sectional design, we tested the main study hypotheses of mediation through a series of path analysis models using Mplus. Results: Students with higher support-seeking attitudes and students with a mentor reported closer relationships with instructors, whereas part-time students reported weaker relationships with instructors. In turn, student–instructor relationships were significantly associated with both cognitive and behavioral aspects of academic engagement and GPA. Conclusion: This study provides insight into the various factors that may influence community college students’ development of relationships with instructors and highlights the direct and indirect influence of these relationships on student success. Implications for future practice include finding strategies that can be implemented at community colleges to foster student–instructor relationships. Future research should further explore these associations using longitudinal data to gain a deeper understanding of current findings.
Author: McKenna F. Parnes
Posted: March 6, 2020, 10:13 am
Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <br/>Objective: Despite significant enrollment in community colleges, persistence and graduation rates are quite low. This study aims to better understand how students’ person–environment relationships and self-organization together contribute to the persistence decisions of community college students. Using Spencer et al.’s phenomenological variant on ecological systems theory (PVEST) framework, we aim to clarify the psychological functioning behind students’ persistence that is impacted by diverse systems, including the community college itself, family, and the broader community. Method: This study utilized qualitative interviews with 66 participants across two community colleges. Findings: We find that when participants’ experiences were analyzed through a PVEST frame, a majority of students described having phenomenological experiences around their student/learner identities. The feedback from these experiences prompted participants to negatively or positively reorganize their self-perceptions in regard to how they saw themselves as students and learners; this reorganization led to behaviors that influenced persistence plans. When participants’ microsystems (e.g., family, work, college) intersected, patterns emerged regarding how participants processed environmental feedback that resulted in a cyclical feedback loop, suggesting a more dynamic relationship with environments than previously presented. Contributions: Using PVEST as a framework allows for a more in-depth examination of the interface between students’ psychological foundations, processing of environmental feedback, and the resulting reorganization of self in regard to how role identities (e.g., student) provide greater insight into students’ persistence decisions. This study offers PVEST as an important framework for rethinking previous models of researching and supporting community college student persistence.
Author: C. Casey Ozaki
Posted: February 22, 2020, 11:47 am
Community College Review, Volume 48, Issue 2, Page 195-219, April 2020. <br/>Objective: This study examined how a set of theoretically derived factors predicted the educational attainment outcomes of Latina/o community college students. The guiding research question was, “What precollege and background characteristics, college experiences, and environmental pull factors uniquely predict persistence, certificate or associate degree completion, and transfer or bachelor’s degree completion for a national sample of Latina/o community college students?” Method: Three logistic regression analyses were conducted using a nationally represented sample from the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS: 04/09). Results: Latina/o community college student educational outcomes were found to be related to demographic or precollege variables including primary language spoken in the home, citizenship status, socioeconomic status, degree expectations; college experiences including academic integration, first-year college grade point average (GPA), enrollment intensity, co-enrollment; and environmental pull factors including the receipt of a federal student loan and Pell Grant. Conclusion: Findings underscore the importance of financial aid in promoting success outcomes and alleviate affordability concerns for Latina/o community college students. Findings also reinforce the notion of considering educational intentions when developing advising services and programs that foster or match those ambitions. Doing so will improve both student outcomes and institutional effectiveness.
Author: Vincent D. Carales
Posted: February 14, 2020, 4:42 am
Community College Review, Volume 48, Issue 2, Page 173-194, April 2020. <br/>Objective: Early college high schools (ECHSs) allow high school students to accumulate credit toward an associate degree at little or no cost, often through partnerships with community colleges. The goal is to facilitate students’ socialization into higher education, or the process of learning the skills, knowledge, and dispositions required for college success. However, whether and how this goal translates to practice remains under-studied. Using an organizational socialization framework, this study explores (a) How are ECHS students socialized into higher education? and (b) What do students learn from their ECHS experience? Method: This case study draws a sample of 111 traditionally underrepresented students, 13 teachers, and 1 principal at one ECHS in a U.S.–Mexico border region of Texas. Data were collected via interviews, demographic questionnaires, and documents, and coded using NVivo software. Results: Data analysis revealed three themes pertinent to students’ socialization: (a) receiving academic support, (b) taking college courses, and (c) gaining independence. Across these categories, being able to participate in courses at the community college was especially critical for students’ socialization. Findings also illustrate how tensions between the expectations of the college and those of the school district limited the socialization process. Contributions: This study has implications for research and policy regarding the benefits of ECHS and dual credit coursework, the importance of social experiences on a college campus, and the challenges of secondary–postsecondary misalignment in cross-sector partnerships.
Author: Julia C. Duncheon
Posted: January 21, 2020, 6:35 am
Community College Review, Volume 48, Issue 2, Page 156-172, April 2020. <br/>Objective: This article reports on a study of archival legal and administrative texts generated during desegregation litigation instituted during the 1970s to enforce Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The specific focus of the research was on North Carolina and actions taken by the University of North Carolina and the state’s Department of Community Colleges. Method: The research method guiding data collection and analysis was hermeneutics and narrative policy analysis. Results: This inquiry revealed the limited but significant role played by the state’s community colleges. Contributions: These findings illuminate the hierarchy that organizes some state’s public higher education systems and the power centers within them.
Author: Clifford P. Harbour
Posted: December 18, 2019, 11:00 am
Community College Review, Volume 48, Issue 2, Page 133-155, April 2020. <br/>Objective: This study examines the labor market gains for students who enrolled at for-profit colleges after beginning their postsecondary education in community college. Method: We use student-level administrative record data from college transcripts, unemployment insurance earnings data, and progression data from the National Student Clearinghouse across full entry cohorts of community college students in two statewide systems between 2001 and 2006. Using regression analysis and fixed effect methods, we calculate the wage gains to attainment across different student transfer patterns. Results: We find significant wage penalties to transfer to a for-profit college instead of to a public or private nonprofit college. For some student groups, earnings are higher if they drop out of community college instead of transferring to a for-profit college. Conclusion: Students in for-profit colleges do have lower opportunity costs in terms of foregone earnings while enrolled in college. However, these do not sufficiently compensate for lower earnings growth after college.
Author: Vivian Yuen Ting Liu
Posted: November 20, 2019, 12:07 pm
Community College Review, Volume 48, Issue 2, Page 107-132, April 2020. <br/>Objective: Empirical work explaining student mobility, particularly postsecondary pathways among 2-year college students, remains limited. This study examines the underlying process that drives 2-year college students into one or more pathways as they navigate higher education. Method: Drawing upon survey, transcript, and interview data from one transfer-focused and two comprehensive community colleges in a Midwestern state, this study uses a grounded theory approach to develop a conceptual model to understand college students’ decision-making process when choosing among competing postsecondary pathways. Results: The resulting College Pathway (Re)Selection Model Among Beginning 2-Year College Students contained two categories—lifetime decision-making and short-term decision-making—that defined the purposes of students’ decisions as they navigate postsecondary education. Within the categories, 2-year college students described the role of payoff, fit, transferability, place, flexibility, and mobility in their decision-making process. Contributions: This study offers a new model that explains what shapes 2-year college students’ decisions and challenges notions of postsecondary pathways, student progress, success, and completion in the context of 2-year college students’ fluid lives and goals.
Author: Kelly R. Wickersham
Posted: October 14, 2019, 1:36 am
Community College Review, Volume 48, Issue 2, Page 220-222, April 2020. <br/>
Author: Amanda O. Latz
Posted: September 23, 2019, 6:33 am

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