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/Research Question: The purpose of this research is to explore the way use of student services can mediate engagement among first-generation and transfer students who use disability services at community colleges. The following research questions guided the current study: (1) At community colleges, how does frequency of use of student support services significantly relate to engagement among students who use disability services? (2) For first-generation and transfer students with disabilities, in what way does frequency of use of these services mediate engagement among this population? Method: Using Community College Survey of Student Engagement data, the relationship between frequency of use of student services and engagement behaviors was measured for 7,441 students using disability services. Through structural equation modeling, mediation effects of use of services on engagement for first-generation and transfer students with disabilities at community colleges were measured for academic challenge, support for learners, and student-faculty interaction. Results: Accounting for other student background characteristics, academic advising and career counseling were directly related to these measures and additive effects of this second service held for first-generation students with disabilities, but not transfers. Conclusion: These findings contribute to understanding which student services are successful pathways to increased engagement among students who use disability services. This research complements previous scholarship on increasing access of these services for this group, while suggesting further research may be conducted to understand quality of experience among student services.
Author: John Zilvinskis
Posted: October 16, 2021, 6:08 am
Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <br/>Research Question: A sizable portion of college students experience food and housing insecurity, which poses a roadblock to fully and successfully engaging in higher education. In light of these complex challenges, we ask: How do Florida College System (FCS) institutions meet the basic needs of their students? Methods: To answer the question at hand, we conducted an embedded single case study of the FCS. Between 2014 and 2019, researchers traveled to 21 Florida colleges on one or more occasions to speak with college presidents, administrators, faculty members, advisors, academic support staff, and students. In total, we gathered data from 1,379 people through 213 focus group sessions and 20 individual interviews. Results: From these data emerged evidence of the extensive services and support programs provided by FCS institutions, ranging from food and housing assistance to clothing, transportation, and childcare. Such initiatives aim to meet the chronic, daily needs of students and their families, as well as acute needs that arise out of local disasters and crises. Contributions: The findings of this study contribute to the literature on the mission of community colleges. While these support programs address needs traditionally considered non-academic, participants suggest that they are essential to fostering student success. By meeting students’ physiological and safety needs, institutions can better accomplish their academic goals of remediation, transfer, vocational training, and contract education, particularly among students who have been traditionally excluded from higher education. The findings also highlight the importance of acknowledging the needs of students’ families when providing support.
Author: Amanda N. Nix
Posted: October 16, 2021, 6:01 am
Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <br/>Objective: In numerous calls for reform to community college math instruction, contextualization has been identified as an effective approach to teaching and learning. Yet, little is known about how faculty contend with math contextualization and how they make decisions about its adoption. This study explored how community college faculty teaching math make sense of contextualization as a result of related professional development, and how faculty make decisions about whether to apply contextualization to teaching math as they make sense of contextualization and other individual or organizational factors. Method: This study adopted a case study approach, drawing upon interviews, observations, and professional development materials from two large, comprehensive 2-year colleges in a Midwestern state. Results: Findings revealed five themes under two main umbrellas: making sense and making change. Three interconnected themes comprised making sense: orientation to contextualization, prior teaching and field experiences, and dual identities as teacher and learner. Two themes characterized making change: external and structural constraints of implementing contextualization and comfort level in operationalizing contextualization. Contributions: This study illuminated the complex process of faculty sensemaking of math contextualization, and how this sensemaking, in light of individual and organizational factors, shapes their decisions around math instructional change.
Author: Kelly Wickersham
Posted: October 16, 2021, 5:59 am
Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <br/>
Author: Bethany Sweeney
Posted: October 8, 2021, 11:18 am
Community College Review, Volume 49, Issue 4, Page 457-482, October 2021. <br/>Objective: Despite the availability of high-paying, high-demand careers, few women and students from underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities enter undergraduate programs understanding what the geosciences are and associated available career opportunities. This problem is compounded for students from backgrounds underrepresented in the United States. High-impact practices, such as mentoring, internships, undergraduate research experiences, and cohort-building, increase recruitment and retention of underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering, and math at 4-year institutions. What is not yet clear is the impact these interventions have on underrepresented students at two-year colleges, where the STEM pathway has become a main postsecondary school entry point for these students due to the affordability, flexibility, and academic support provided. Therefore, we designed, implemented, and researched a year-long program providing underrepresented students at a two-year college exposure to several of these experiences. Methods: We interviewed program participants about their perceptions and experiences in the program. Analysis proceeded using constant comparison. Results: Participants reported benefits from networking opportunities, gains in confidence, and gains in job skills, while some reported challenges for participation such as communication and time expectation conflicts; participants also struggled to balance the program with employment needs on top of school requirements. Different aspects of the program benefited different students, suggesting that all of these experiences could support recruitment and foster interest in geoscience for underrepresented students at two-year colleges. Conclusion: We conclude with implications for future research, program enhancements, and time constraint and mentoring needs related to characteristics of two-year college students.
Author: Kathryn A. Stofer
Posted: July 14, 2021, 10:17 am
Community College Review, Volume 49, Issue 4, Page 506-509, October 2021. <br/>
Author: Jingjing Liu
Posted: July 1, 2021, 8:51 am
Community College Review, Volume 49, Issue 4, Page 389-412, October 2021. <br/>Objective:This study examined the statistical association between net tuition and changes in degree aspirations among community college students. In addition, the study explored the moderating influence of unmet financial need.Method:Analyses relied on data from the most recent iteration of the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study. Estimates were derived from a series of robust multinomial models controlling for student, institutional, and state-level covariates.Results:Net tuition was consistently associated with decreased risks of experiencing a “cool out,” regardless of model specification. Yet, this main effect of net tuition was moderated by unmet need, such that net tuition increased cool out risks among students with greater unmet need.Conclusions:The results of this study suggest that net reductions in tuition alone may not fully reduce or eliminate barriers to college access and student success. Future financial aid policies should focus on the full cost of college attendance.
Author: Cameron Sublett
Posted: June 29, 2021, 12:27 pm
Community College Review, Volume 49, Issue 4, Page 413-434, October 2021. <br/>Objective: States increasingly create promise programs to increase college enrollment and degree attainment. The objective of this study was to understand the experiences of adult learners using the Tennessee Reconnect Grant (TN Reconnect) as they transitioned to becoming college students. Methods: Drawing upon interviews with 23 adult learners, this longitudinal qualitative study applied Schlossberg’s Transition Theory to explore the experience of transitioning to college. Results: Findings revealed students who used the TN Reconnect, many of whom were first-generation and low-income students, faced insurmountable barriers that contributed to their decision to initially not enroll in college or drop out of college. Access to TN Reconnect provided an unexpected opportunity for them to return to college. However, participants still faced barriers often associated with adult, first-generation, and low-income students. Contributions: Findings suggest state and institutional policy, and practice must adapt to fit the unique needs of adult learners to maximize degree completion outcomes. As currently structured, promise programs may not provide substantial benefits to student groups who face significant barriers to success, such as adult learners. State policymakers must explore the benefits of adopting a more equitable policy structure and/or implement additional services and resources for adult learners.
Author: Gresham D. Collom
Posted: June 29, 2021, 12:25 pm
Community College Review, Volume 49, Issue 4, Page 483-505, October 2021. <br/>Objective: This study is aimed at understanding the ways in which faculty at community colleges utilize their industry experiences to inform their teaching. Method: The research drew on Merriam’s basic qualitative approach in analyzing data from 14 semi-structured qualitative interviews. Results: Our findings expand upon prior research surrounding faculty development and community college faculty experiences. Our analysis revealed several themes in regard to how community college faculty with industry backgrounds follow diverse pathways leading to their teaching positions; how they teach using practical applications of concepts and sharing real-life examples; how they utilize their industry networks to enhance their academic programs and create practical opportunities for students; how they replicate workplace settings in their classrooms; and how they prepare students for their future careers. Contribution: Our study contributes new empirical evidence on the myriad ways in which faculty apply industry experiences in their instruction. The findings indicate that community colleges would benefit from offering targeted supports and pedagogical training for faculty with an industry background; encouraging faculty from all backgrounds and disciplines to share successful teaching strategies; and utilizing faculty members’ expertise, networks, and experiences from industry in mathematics-oriented classrooms.
Author: Brit Wagner
Posted: June 23, 2021, 11:40 am
Community College Review, Volume 49, Issue 4, Page 435-456, October 2021. <br/>Objective:This article explores the experiences of 32 first-generation immigrant and refugee students as they transition into and out of community college. The challenges students face and the resources on which they draw in their educational pursuits are viewed through Bourdieu’s theory of cultural capital.Method:This project utilizes an applied ethnographic approach that primarily elicited participant-observation and interview data.Results:Findings demonstrate that prospective community college students articulated uncertainty about the college process and concern over the quality of community colleges. Current and former community college students validated these concerns as they described their struggles to overcome both in- and out-of-school challenges. In many cases, such obstacles resulted in the leveling of previously high aspirations.Contribution:Although the growing number of immigrant and refugee students in the United States are disproportionately represented at community colleges, little is known about their experiences in these institutions. This article adds to our understanding of immigrant and refugee students’ experiences in community colleges through their own words.
Author: Aaron Leo
Posted: June 22, 2021, 6:44 am
Community College Review, Volume 49, Issue 4, Page 351-388, October 2021. <br/>Objective: We estimated the correlations between the “pathways” chosen by community college students—in terms of desired credentials and fields of study, as well as other choices and outcomes along the paths—and the attainment of credentials with labor market value. We focused on the extent to which there were recorded changes in students’ choices over time, whether students made choices informed by their chances of success and by labor market value of credentials, and the impacts of choices on outcomes. Method: Using micro-longitudinal administrative data on a full cohort of Kentucky community college students, we provide summary data on a range of pathway characteristics and outcomes, as well as binomial and multinomial logit estimates of how pathway characteristics affect the odds of completing different kinds of credentials. Some of the logit estimates were based on random or fixed effects models. Results: We found that several characteristics of chosen pathways, such as field of study and desired credential as well as early “momentum,” affected outcomes. Student choices of pathways—and especially differences by gender and academic readiness—sometimes ran strongly counter to information about later chances of success in terms of probabilities of completing programs and attaining strong earnings. Students also changed pathways quite frequently, making it harder to accumulate the credits needed in their fields. Contributions: Attainment of credentials with greater market value by community college students could likely be improved by appropriate guidance and supports for them along the way and perhaps by broader institutional changes as well.
Author: Harry J. Holzer
Posted: April 16, 2021, 4:56 am

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