Programs and Practices

August 2022
In 2012, the developmental reading faculty at Moraine Valley Community College (MVCC) began to take an honest look at their students’ grades. This introspection followed key changes in department leadership and faculty membership. The initial analyses uncovered three pertinent facts: (1) developmental reading faculty were not passing as many students as they thought they were; (2) students in the lowest level of reading were not persisting into credited courses; and (3) there was severe grade compression among the passing grades (i.e., most of the assigned grades were Cs with very few As...
July 2022
Community colleges across the U.S. report declining enrollment due to the pandemic, changing demographics, and temporary assessment policy changes (California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office, 2021; National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 2021). In addition, 2019 data gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics (2021) showed that the percentage of students aged 22 or older, or adult learners, is increasing.  A variety of factors can explain the decline in student enrollment during the pandemic. The increase in technical requirements and digital literacy skills...
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
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...
March 2022
For over 100 years, the community college has been evolving as one of the most effective institutions of higher education in addressing the social and economic needs of the nation. During the 1950s and 1960s, there was general agreement that the community college was a comprehensive college designed to serve the multiple needs of a diverse student body through a variety of programs, including developmental, transfer, vocational, general, and community education. In the past few decades, that purpose has been changing as the developmental, general, and community education programs have been...
October 2021
College students who are parents, a.k.a., student-parents, have always been enrolled in community colleges, but only within the past few years have they been explicitly recognized as a distinct student group with a unique set of support needs. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (2018), more than one in five postsecondary students in the U.S. is a student-parent. This holds true at Monroe Community College (MCC), where 21.4 percent of students enrolled in 2019-2020 had children under age 18 (DeMario, 2021). Student-Parent Risk Factors Figure 1 shows that MCC’s student-...
April 2021
The level of alumni engagement at two-year colleges is well below that which is typically found at four-year institutions (Magaw, 2013; Skari, 2013; Theis, 2018). This is an issue that affects community colleges’ bottom line, the experience of currently enrolled students, and the connection between alumni and their institutions. The lack of alumni engagement at two-year institutions is often the result of misconceptions about alumni loyalty (Skari, 2013). Those working in alumni engagement at the two-year college level have undoubtedly heard excuses for why their institution cannot dedicate...
July 2020
In October 2012, Austin Community College District (ACC) was awarded a four-year, $2.1 million TAACCCT grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to assist students with the removal of barriers to degree completion and acquisition of entry-level positions in the field of information technology (IT). With grant funds, the college designed a new online competency-based education (CBE) program—Accelerated Programmer Training (APT). The initiative improved distance learning curriculum and delivery, which, in turn, increased student enrollment and graduation rates, and, ultimately, amplified job...
February 2020
Community college faculty, staff, and administrators face many challenges as they work to support student success, and the mental health of students ranks high on the list of concerns. In fact, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10- to 34-year-olds (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019) and the tenth leading cause of death across all age groups in the U.S. (National Institute of Mental Health, 2019). Colleges have a unique opportunity to support student success through targeted efforts to reduce the suicide rate. House Bill 28 (Anielski, R-Walton Hills, OH), passed...
April 2019
The need for qualified educators continues to grow locally, statewide, and across the country. Nationally, nearly 100,000 teaching positions were filled by individuals not fully qualified to teach as school districts headed into the 2017-2018 academic year, according to the Learning Policy Institute (2017). Polk County Public Schools started classes in August 2018 with nearly 100 teacher vacancies. As Polk County’s only public postsecondary institution offering state-approved teacher education preparation programs, Polk State College partnered with Polk County Public Schools to create the...
March 2019
The Aims Community College Agricultural Sciences and Technology program received the Outstanding Postsecondary Agriculture Program Award at the National Association of Agriculture Educators (NAAE) Convention in San Antonio, Texas. Aims was one of six programs nationwide to receive the award. The Aims program was nominated for the award by a local high school, then went on to the national level to compete against other two- and four-year programs as well as adult education programs (e.g., Young Farmers) in the region. The Agricultural Sciences and Technology program’s exemplary faculty and...
August 2017
Since the launch of the American Graduation Initiative in 2009, the call to increase college graduation rates and to create a better educated workforce for the jobs of the future has become nearly universal. According to Former President Obama, speaking at the University of Texas on August 9, 2010, “in a single generation, [the U.S. has] fallen from first place to 12th place in college graduation rates for young adults" (as cited in de Nies, 2010, para. 3). He advocated for America to “once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world” by 2020 (as cited in Fry, 2017,...
September 2016
As higher education evolves to accommodate new forms of learning and new workforce needs, skills are being assessed across an ever-widening range of activities within the learning landscape. Campus-based and online degree programs; professional certificates; competency-based education; open online courses; professional development initiatives; cocurricular and extracurricular activities; and programs in service learning, information literacy, and entrepreneurship are just some of the higher education settings in which competencies worth recognizing are demonstrated or observed. Digital badges...
January 2016
American College Testing, with over fifty years of college readiness research, defines college readiness as students having “a 50% chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75% chance of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college courses, which include English Composition, Algebra, Social Science and Biology” (ACT, 2012, p. 3). Unfortunately, the majority of students graduating from high school are not college ready, and the need for improvement in the American high school educational structure is clear. Test results from 2015 give the percentage of high school...
November 2015
The League for Innovation in the Community College has two awards programs each spring that recognize and celebrate community college innovation and excellence. League Alliance member institutions are encouraged to participate in this year’s awards season to showcase outstanding faculty, staff, and administrators and the creative programs and practices they have developed. Innovation of the Year Submission Deadline: April 18, 2016 www.league.org/ioy Established over 30 years ago, the League’s Innovation of the Year award was devised as a way to recognize significant innovations at Alliance...