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/>
Author: Patricia Ryan Pal
Posted: July 16, 2020, 11:05 am
Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <br/>Objective: Increasing rural community college degree attainment is very important to foster rural areas’ economic and social well-being. Rural community colleges differ greatly from their suburban and urban counterparts in financial aid patterns and student bodies. However, existing literature is vacant with respect to student financial aid and degree attainment in rural community colleges. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between financial aid and associate degree attainment for rural community college students and compare the financing patterns of the three locales. Method: Using data from Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:04/09), we performed a series of logistic regression models that include financial aid variables and control variables from psychological, sociological, organizational, and internationalist perspectives. Results: We found rural community college students exceeded other locales in degree attainment. Logistic regression results reveal insignificant roles of Pell Grants and Federal Subsidized Loans, and negative role of Federal Unsubsidized Loans in associate degree attainment for rural community college students. Contributions: The results suggest that public subsidies, such as Pell Grants, were not sufficient to cover rural students’ unmet need for financing degree attainment, and that rural students are more cost-conscious in borrowing and spending than their suburban and urban counterparts.
Author: Lijing Yang
Posted: July 3, 2020, 1:48 am
Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <br/>Objective: Despite the popularity of the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE), this instrument has been criticized regarding its development, theoretical basis, validity, and connection to practice. In light of these concerns, this article reframes the survey by employing Chickering and Gamson’s seven principles, one of the survey’s original theoretical frameworks. A robust discussion of the new measure and its implications for research and practice is presented. Method: Chickering and Gamson’s theory was used to motivate, create, and evaluate a seven-factor model using items from the CCSSE. Drawing on responses from two community colleges (N = 1,076), a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to test this model. Results: Findings provide support for a seven-factor model with high model fit and moderate-to-strong factor reliability. Contributions: This study offers a valid alternative approach to considering CCSSE data that may influence future work in the area of community college student engagement. We also consider how institutional research practitioners and other stakeholders can leverage study insights to promote student success across community college contexts.
Author: Kyle McCarrell
Posted: July 2, 2020, 11:49 am
Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <br/>Objective: International reverse transfer students are international students who begin their postsecondary journey at a four-year institution but subsequently transfer to a community college. In this qualitative study, we examine the lived experiences of international reverse transfers to understand the reasons for reverse-transfer and to understand the students’ learning experiences. Methods: Using a phenomenological approach, we recruited 10 international reverse transfer students attending one four-year university or one of the two community colleges. We conducted individual interviews with all participants and analyzed transcript data through Bourdieu’s sociological theory of field, habitus, and social and cultural capital. Results: We identified three types of international reverse transfer students: undergraduate reverse transfers, temporary reverse transfers, and postbaccalaureate reverse transfers. Each type reported different reasons for reverse transfer but shared similar influential factors of the reverse transfer process as well as the learning experiences while enrolled at the community colleges. Contributions: This study helps to fill an information and research gap regarding international reverse transfer students. We present the academic, social, and cultural challenges faced by international students and offer practical implications for higher education practitioners for improved understandings and better processes to serve international students from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Author: Yu “April” Chen
Posted: June 15, 2020, 8:43 am
Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <br/>Objective: The purpose of this study is to understand the relationship between organizational characteristics, state political climate, and student civic engagement at community colleges, operationalized in this article as student voting. Method: Utilizing a unique cross-sectional dataset compiled by the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education for the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections that merges student voting data, enrollment records from the National Student Clearinghouse, and institutional data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, we employed multi-level binary logistic regression to account for individual and organizational influences. Results: The relationship between voting and student characteristics aligns with national voting trends, in that students who are female, older, and White had higher odds of voting. However, there was one notable exception in 2012 where Black students had higher odds of voting than their White peers. We also found that students enrolled full-time and those enrolled at colleges in electoral battleground states were more likely to vote in 2012 and 2016. Weak or mixed relationships emerged between voting and environmental factors such as campaign spending, ballot initiatives, get-out-the-vote programs, restrictive voter laws, and compositional diversity of the student body. Conclusion: This study provides insight for community college leaders on potential ways to engage students in an effort to promote voter turnout in a presidential election year on their campuses. Specifically, we posit that institutions could highlight the salience of public policy issues for students, lobby for less restrictive voting laws, and implement evaluation programs of their civic engagement initiatives.
Author: Jon McNaughtan
Posted: June 8, 2020, 9:42 am
Community College Review, Volume 48, Issue 3, Page 303-329, July 2020. <br/>Objective: To inform efforts to boost college completion and professional preparation for the linguistically diverse New Mainstream, we explored language and literacy demands, and how faculty conceive of those demands, in one allied health program at one community college in California. We also explore the implications for the preparation of community college students in academic and professional preparation programs more generally. Method: We examined program documents and outlines of courses in the allied health program and interviewed eight faculty members teaching these courses. We analyzed data using deductive and inductive codes and drafted a program overview of assignments, associated language and literacy demands, and identifiable genres and metagenres. We also conducted member checks with key faculty members to clarify and deepen our understanding. Results: Despite our efforts to focus on disciplinary dimensions of language and literacy in the allied health program, we found that course outlines and instructors tended instead to emphasize general reading and writing competencies, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Discussing students’ language and literacy challenges, instructors underscored challenges common to English-dominant and language-minority students, including problems with students’ study skills, critical thinking, problem-solving, or time committed to their studies. Contributions: We argue that, although focusing on general academic and life skills is important for the diversity of students served by community colleges, a deeper focus on disciplinary and professional language and literacy practices is warranted by both instructors and institutions to prepare and support the New Mainstream in completing college and succeeding in the workforce.
Author: George C. Bunch
Posted: June 6, 2020, 6:34 am
Community College Review, Volume 48, Issue 3, Page 330-351, July 2020. <br/>Objective: Using data from HEIghten® Critical Thinking, a student learning outcomes assessment, the purpose of this study was to evaluate what variables are associated with higher critical thinking performance for students enrolled in various community college programs and to evaluate performance differences across demographic and college-level subgroups as well as student perceptions. Method: With data from 1,307 students enrolled across 34 U.S. and Canadian higher education institutions (72% enrolled in 2-year institutions), we utilized a hierarchical regression to identify variables associated with critical thinking performance. Critical thinking performance differences were evaluated using analyses of variance (ANOVAs) and t-tests across student demographic and college experience subgroups and across student perceptions. Results: Results of this study showed (a) consistent significant predictors associated with higher critical thinking performance; (b) a positive relationship between critical thinking performance and the frequency of using critical thinking in college courses; (c) significant, but relatively small performance differences across demographic and college experience subgroups; and (d) positive relationships between student perceptions and critical thinking performance. Conclusion: This study added to the limited literature evaluating critical thinking skills for community college students. Overall, results suggest that institutions should focus attention to the frequency at which students are using critical thinking throughout their courses, which could increase student performance in this particular area, especially if critical thinking is an explicit outcome within the course. Results also suggested the need to emphasize critical thinking skills more across various community college programs and across non-STEM-focused programs. Suggestions for future research are discussed.
Author: Katrina C. Roohr
Posted: June 6, 2020, 6:34 am
Community College Review, Volume 48, Issue 3, Page 227-251, July 2020. <br/>Objective:This study explored how high school and postsecondary academic parameters may relate to the choice of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) major for students beginning their postsecondary education at community colleges. Our study incorporated these two clusters of factors into a statistical model to examine STEM major choice in community colleges. In particular, our study was one of the first to examine the direction and magnitude of the relationship between earned college credits in science laboratories and advanced mathematics and STEM college major selection.Method:We analyzed national data from the Education Longitudinal Study (2002) for students who were in 10th grade in 2002, entered community college as their first postsecondary institution, and declared a college major by 2006. A comprehensive integrated model was analyzed through binary logistic regression with the outcome variable of choice of STEM major or not.Results:We found math self-efficacy in high school, postsecondary introductory science laboratory courses, and postsecondary advanced mathematics courses were each positively associated with the choice of STEM major among community college students. Gender continues to be influential, with women less likely to pursue STEM than men.Contributions:Our study highlights the opportunities the science laboratory holds for engaging beginning community college students interested in STEM fields. The linchpin role of mathematics and science for students aspiring to study STEM is underscored by the findings of this study.
Author: Colleen A. Evans
Posted: June 6, 2020, 6:34 am
Community College Review, Volume 48, Issue 3, Page 277-302, July 2020. <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, Volume 48, Issue 3, Page 252-276, July 2020. <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

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