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: 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, Ahead of Print. <br/>
Author: Jingjing Liu
Posted: July 1, 2021, 8:51 am
Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <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, Ahead of Print. <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, Ahead of Print. <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, Ahead of Print. <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, Ahead of Print. <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
Community College Review, Volume 49, Issue 3, Page 290-313, July 2021. <br/>Objective:Community colleges across the country are making dramatic shifts away from traditional reliance on placement testing for developmental education and toward using high school measures to assess college-readiness. Yet the views of faculty dealing with these changes, including their perspectives on the quality and usefulness of high school data, are not well-understood. We explore faculty views of high school transcript and placement testing data, attributions made with the data, and beliefs about the extent to which these data are useful for instruction.Methods:We conducted a survey and semi-structured interviews with math faculty in one community college math department (n = 21). We used real high school records to develop a Personalized Student Profile of student math backgrounds to engage faculty in sensemaking about high school and placement testing data.Results:Faculty did not appear to readily trust high school data, tending only to do so when it fit their existing understandings of student ability as measured by placement tests. Although faculty described opportunities to use the data to inform instruction, they noted the challenges of actually doing so.Conclusions:The findings reveal significant faculty concerns about high school measures and point toward shifts in faculty attitudes and beliefs that may need to be addressed in order for reforms that upend traditional approaches to remediation and instruction to be successful. We discuss critical future research directions for this new paradigm of developmental education in community colleges.
Author: Federick Ngo
Posted: April 7, 2021, 7:26 am
Community College Review, Volume 49, Issue 3, Page 314-342, July 2021. <br/>Objective: The purpose of our study was to identify the factors associated with federal loan default among a nationally-representative sample of community college students. The guiding research question was: For community college students who borrow federal loans, to what extent do demographic, academic, and enrollment characteristics relate to default? Methods: Using data from the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:04/09), our analysis focused on loan repayment outcomes six years after enrollment for students who began their postsecondary careers at a community college (i.e., a public, two-year institution) and had not transferred to a four-year institution. The analytic methods included descriptive statistics and multinomial logistic regression. Results: Compared to their peers who did not use federal loans, borrowers were more likely to be female, unmarried, lower-income, a Pell Grant recipient, and enrolled exclusively full-time. Regression results indicated that compared to borrowers still in repayment, defaulters were more likely to be male, first-generation college, lower-income, enrolled in workforce certificate and applied associate degree programs, lateral transfers, and non-completers. Notably, two-thirds of the defaulters had $5,000 or less in outstanding debt. Conclusions: Many of the student groups that have traditionally experienced the lowest rates of success at the community college are also the populations more likely to default on their loans. Relatively low levels of debt can still place severe financial hardship on community college borrowers. We propose several modifications to federal loan policy and institutional practices that could help reduce the number of community college borrowers who default.
Author: Lyle McKinney
Posted: April 7, 2021, 7:23 am
Community College Review, Volume 49, Issue 3, Page 262-289, July 2021. <br/>Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate how Latino men’s conceptions of masculinities influenced their attitudes and behaviors during the transition from community colleges to 4-year institutions. Method: A phenomenological approach was used to explore the lived experiences of 34 Latino men across Texas, California, and Florida. Each participant was interviewed twice; all data were recorded, transcribed, and coded for themes. Results: Findings suggest that, although prior conceptions of masculinities can sometimes provide positive tools during transfer, these conceptions also cause challenges as men negotiate incongruences between their masculine identity and what is required to succeed in college. Participation in on-campus men’s groups and student organizations can help Latino students navigate these incongruences and negotiate their own intersectional identities and conceptualizations of masculinities in light of their new environment. Contributions: This study demonstrates that Latino men continue to face challenges related to masculinities and identity conflicts during the community college to 4-year institution transfer process. Future research might further investigate how the multiple, intersecting identities of Latino men (e.g., sexuality, class) influence masculinities and transfer experiences. Implications for practice include a recommendation that institutions consider creating on-campus spaces and learning environments to support men in navigating masculinities.
Author: Sarah L. Rodriguez
Posted: April 5, 2021, 7:36 am
Community College Review, Volume 49, Issue 3, Page 243-261, July 2021. <br/>Objective:First-generation community college students face unique risks for mental health distress, which can place them at risk for attrition and a myriad of other negative consequences. The aim of the present quantitative investigation was to test the utility of the REDFLAGS model, a mental health literacy based tool for supporting mental wellness, with a national sample of first-generation community college students.Method:Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), logistic regression analysis, and a factorial analysis of variance (ANOVA) were computed to test the utility of the REDFLAGS model as a tool for promoting first-generation community college students’ mental health.Results:The CFA demonstrated that the dimensionality of the REDFLAGS model was estimated adequately with first-generation community college students. First-generation community college students’ recognition of the REDFLAGS as warning signs for mental distress emerged as a significant positive predictor of making a peer-to-peer referral to the counseling center. The factorial ANOVA revealed that first-generation community college students who were members of a Greek Organization were more likely to identify the REDFLAGS as warning signs for mental distress.Contributions:Previous investigators established multiple strategies for supporting the mental health needs of either first-generation or community college students. First-generation community college student mental health, however, has received little attention. This study demonstrates the utility of the REDFLAGS model with first-generation community college students. Considering the dearth of literature on first-generation community college student mental health, the REDFLAGS model offers novel implications for promoting the mental health needs of first-generation students enrolled in community colleges.
Author: Michael T. Kalkbrenner
Posted: March 27, 2021, 5:39 am
Community College Review, Volume 49, Issue 3, Page 343-345, July 2021. <br/>
Author: Nicole Brianna Contreras
Posted: March 24, 2021, 12:39 pm

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