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September 2023
According to a study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (Skorton & Bear, 2018), "educational programs that mutually integrate learning experiences in the humanities and arts with science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine (STEMM) lead to improved educational and career outcomes” (p. 2). With a focus on such outcomes, it's time for community colleges to thoughtfully and intentionally weave the sciences, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) into students' learning experiences. An integrated STEAM curriculum fosters key skills which...
August 2023
Delta College serves the Great Lakes Bay region of mid-Michigan, with its primary district including Bay (24 percent), Midland (16 percent), and Saginaw (42 percent) counties (Delta College, 2023). These counties, in addition to the surrounding ones for which Delta is the community college of choice, combine to form a markedly diverse service area. The counties include urban, suburban, and rural communities, collectively representing a tremendous variance in median household incomes, proximity to major employers, access to high-speed Internet, and ease of access to affordable postsecondary...
August 2023
Community colleges are places for learning and reinvention, but what happens when potential students are unable to attend college because they are incarcerated? Incarcerated individuals face an extraordinary amount of discrimination when it comes to post-incarceration job searches, and many did not enjoy an uninterrupted educational path prior to incarceration, which leaves them with few opportunities to rise above their circumstances. Education is directly correlated to incarceration; according to Literacy Mid-South (2023), “high school dropouts are 3.5 times more likely than high school...
June 2023
For the first time in its 57-year history, Dallas College is graduating a class of bachelor’s degree students this year. This occasion marks a pivotal moment for more than 100 students at one of Texas’s largest community college systems, which previously offered associate degrees as its highest degree credential. The program presents students with a life-changing opportunity via a full tuition scholarship and career pathway toward a $60k first-year job. Furthermore, this innovative program attracted the attention of the Bezos Foundation, resulting in the launch of a tuition-free, on-campus...
April 2023
Virtual student exchange programs have been implemented by higher education institutions across the globe. The Stevens Initiative (2021) found that 214 colleges and universities offered 3,073 virtual exchange programs from fall 2020 to summer 2021 and that 62 of the responding institutions had more than five years of experience with virtual exchanges. These programs, which offer platforms for students to communicate, collaborate, cooperate, and achieve their learning objectives by building learner communities, have been coined by scholars as Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL...
March 2023
Much like online learning, the concept of course sharing is not new; for decades, college students have taken classes at nearby schools that offer seats for visiting learners. In fact, online course sharing originated in community colleges in the late 1990s (Walker, 2021). Today, given the recent transformations within higher education, alongside great strides in technology, the modes through which course sharing can occur now span across individual institutions, consortia, and online platforms and networks. Thousands of colleges and universities across the U.S. use course sharing frameworks...
February 2023
Not every innovation requires a seismic shift in thinking. In some cases, innovation arises from a simple change in mindset and the courage to try a small adjustment in the way we address a problem. In 2018, Johnson County Community College (JCCC) began discussing a new approach to two nagging issues for the college and its K-12 partners. JCCC, like the rest of the higher education sector, had seen a steady decline in enrollment over the previous 10 years—from more than 20,000 credit students to around 17,000 students (Johnson County Community College, 2022). JCCC had long served students in...
February 2023
Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) has provided high-quality, accessible, and affordable education and workforce opportunities to residents of Northeast Ohio since opening its doors in 1963. The college serves one of the most diverse regions in Ohio in terms of income, educational attainment, and cultural backgrounds. Tri-C continues its work with partner high schools, employers, and four-year colleges and universities to provide open access to credit and workforce opportunities as well as transfer pathways to a four-year degree, all part of the institution’s mission to improve the overall...
November 2022
Working professionals like Mohammed Alani are seeking out new ways to expand their skillsets and fit training into their busy schedules. As a professor of cybersecurity at Seneca College and research fellow at Toronto Metropolitan University, Alani doesn’t have the luxury of taking scheduled in-person courses. He was drawn to the Microsoft certificate offerings through Surge Micro-credentials, stating that, “The timing and format were very suitable for a working person like myself.” These online courses offer self-paced lectures, interactive labs, practice exams, live instructor office hours...
October 2022
In 2016, a group of students sent a letter to Seattle Central College’s administrators to name a part of their identity they felt was being overlooked as they embarked on a journey that would be pivotal in determining their futures. The students, who were previously incarcerated, had chosen education as the path to restart their lives upon leaving a Washington state prison. While community and technical colleges are open access institutions, they are still institutions with barriers that are, at times, only visible to some of the most minoritized and marginalized in our communities. In...
October 2022
America's workforce now has greater access to Rio Salado College classes, micro-credentials, and degree programs through a new partnership with Guild (n.d.), “a Career Opportunity Platform that enables forward-thinking employers to invest in their employees, unlocking life-changing opportunities for personal and professional growth through learning programs, career development, and one-on-one coaching” (Who We Are page). Rio Salado College is among Guild’s newest academic partners, and one of the only community colleges to join Guild’s growing Learning Marketplace. The Marketplace provides a...
August 2022
The Saginaw Academy for Excellence was created through a collaborative vision of leaders from Delta College and the Saginaw Public School District (SPSD). Dr. Michael Gavin, Delta College President, and Dr. Ramont Roberts, SPSD Superintendent, led their respective teams in designing a dual enrollment program for high school juniors and seniors which will provide students the opportunity to earn up to 30 credits toward an associate degree in two years. The goals of the Saginaw Academy of Excellence are to Provide a seamless route from high school to higher education at no cost to students or...
July 2022
In January 2018, 14 local school district superintendents and Jackson College’s (JC) President and CEO, Dr. Daniel J. Phelan, initiated the launch of Jackson County Early College (JCEC), designed to offer students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and an associate degree, certification, or up to 60 college credits. This article highlights the program’s successes since its first students walked through the doors in fall 2018. Cost Effectiveness Since the inception of JCEC, JC has reduced tuition and fees for early college students in a variety of ways. The college capped digital...
May 2022
In response to a pandemic that has disrupted lives and derailed plans for so many in its service district, Indian River State College (IRSC) has made its most significant investment ever in eliminating barriers to higher education. The college introduced the IRSC Promise in March at a special assembly for Fort Pierce Central High School seniors. Funded by the IRSC Foundation, the Promise is a tuition-paid program for qualifying 2022 high school graduates from public and public charter schools in Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, and St. Lucie counties who seek to earn associate degrees at...
May 2022
Community colleges are uniquely situated to address the nation’s need for a highly innovative, adaptable, and skilled workforce. At the federal and state levels, funding is available for design and delivery of workforce-building programs combining academic excellence, technical training, and practical experience. Santa Fe College (SF) in Gainesville, Florida, has received a state grant to create a STEM-focused charter high school. The charter school will provide students with the tools needed to be successful in the 21st century workforce. SF’s vision is to ensure that each charter school...
April 2022
On February 3, 2021, I participated in a California panel discussion hosted by the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University that addressed the cost benefits of adopting a guided pathways model. The discussion focused on two CCRC reports: The Economics of Guided Pathways: Cost, Funding, and Value (Belfield, 2020) and Funding Guided Pathways: A Guide for Community College Leaders (Jenkins et al., 2020). Based on my experience as President of Bakersfield College (BC), I assert that both reports can be extremely useful for administrators responsible for budgets, best...
April 2022
Mesa Community College (MCC) launched its second Z Degree program, an Associate in Arts with an emphasis in communication, beginning in the spring 2022 semester. The college’s first Z Degree, an Arizona General Education Curriculum certificate and general associate’s degree, was introduced in 2019. A Z Degree is offered completely online with zero textbook costs, saving students time and money. “The Z Degree offers students greater flexibility, enabling them to take classes that fit their schedule. We built this program for the students who want flexibility, less distraction, and less cost...
March 2022
In August of 2020, Rio Salado College became a founding partner of the College Innovation Network (CIN), which was designed to connect leaders from colleges and universities with EdTech innovators to advance students’ academic, career, and life outcomes (Flores, 2020). In August 2021, CIN, an initiative spearheaded by WGU Labs, published the results of a multi-institution survey aimed at understanding students’ learning experiences with education technology (EdTech) during the 2020-2021 academic year.  The New Digital Divide: How EdTech Self-Efficacy is Shaping the Online Student Learning...
February 2022
Calhoun Community College and Drake State Community & Technical College officials have developed a partnership that will not only address learning obstacles for adult learners, but job training needs as well. Greater Opportunities for Adult Learners (GOAL) is a free program designed specifically for individuals who do not have a high school diploma and want to become more employable. Individuals who enroll in the program have access to educational resources focused on improving their reading, math, and language skills to obtain a GED, learn English as a second language, and/or earn a...
January 2022
Students are drawn to the arts through their desire to create, perform, express, and interact with other people. In March 2020, the give and take, central to creating art, was gone. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many students in the visual and performing arts to create in boxes on computer screens with spotty picture resolutions and sound distortions, depending on Internet speed, the weather, devices, and countless other factors. Kirkwood Community College, like numerous other institutions, scrambled to figure out how to get art materials, microphones, speakers, and Internet access to students...

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