Student Success

November 2018
Two years ago, student and Valencia Technology Club member Richard Haynes asked if club members could take Valencia College’s obsolete computers and refurbish them for students who need a computer and can’t afford to purchase one. At the time, the project did not move forward. A year later, however, representatives from the Information Technology (IT), Legal, and Finance departments; the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP); and the Valencia Technology Club met, and, collaboratively, developed the club’s computer donation and repair programs. Now, selected LSAMP students...
October 2018
As community college faculty ponder what to do with their newest batch of assigned courses, their thoughts may drift back to the lecture halls and classrooms of their own time in college. How many hours did they spend listening intently to the “sage on the stage” while scribbling notes as fast as they could write? How much time did they spend reviewing those notes, memorizing facts and figures, and completing study guides? As they begin planning a new semester, faculty members are faced with the realization that they are professional educators whose own time in the classroom was spent mostly...
October 2018
Historically, community colleges have lower completion and retention rates than their four-year counterparts. Hongwei (2015) suggested that this is in part due to the fact that leading retention models were designed for four-year institutions, not community colleges. Community college students often face unique nonacademic barriers which impact their retention and persistence rates (Goldrick-Rab, Broton, & Eisenberg, 2013; Goldrick-Rab, Broton, & Gates, 2015; Hongwei, 2015; Troester-Trate, 2017). Such barriers include, but are not limited to, a lack of resources such as food,...
October 2018
Recognized as a state model in noncredit instruction, San Diego Continuing Education (SDCE) continues its reputation of leadership and innovation by implementing open educational resources (OER) that increase accessibility and textbook affordability to adult students in San Diego. “It’s about access,” said Matthew Rivaldi, a member of SDCE’s business faculty. “The goal is to offer SDCE students free textbooks or high-quality educational materials using OER.” OER has been a buzz-term in the California legislature since 2012, when Governor Brown signed two bills that recognized that the cost of...
September 2018
Many students enter community college underprepared in math and must take multiple semesters of developmental (remedial) classes. Far too few of these students ever enroll in—let alone pass—an introductory college-level math course, but without those credits, they cannot graduate. Among the many reforms practitioners are undertaking to try to improve students’ success, the use of math pathways, which diversify and accelerate students’ math course options to align with their career interests, is a popular approach. This brief provides a preliminary look at the experimental results of one such...
August 2018
While many students entering community college aim to earn a bachelor’s degree, only a relatively small portion of these students transfer and go on to successfully do so within six years. Therefore, faculty and staff must create opportunities to clarify paths toward student end goals and establish transfer pathways through alignment of learning outcomes, program plans, and strong partnerships with transfer institutions. The Transfer Playbook: Essential Practices for Two- and Four-Year Colleges—released by the Community College Research Center, The Aspen Institute, and the National Student...
August 2018
San Diego Miramar College is literally tearing down walls for student success. In October of 2017, a construction crew took a hammer to the plaster walls separating the college’s student computing lab—the Independent Learning Center (ILC)—from its tutoring center. The end result is a more encompassing Academic Success Center (ASC) dedicated to student success. “We knocked down the wall so that we could have a continuation of services,” said Donnie Tran, ASC faculty coordinator. Students can now move more freely between the Independent Learning Center and the area that was formerly known as...
July 2018
Higher education practitioners have long examined the challenges underrepresented student populations face within the postsecondary system. The factors that contribute to this problem are multifaceted and vary to some degree, but they are recognizable. For example, many underrepresented students begin their college careers academically unprepared, working full-time jobs to support families, and struggling with undiagnosed learning disabilities. The disparities are similar across some ethnic and racial underrepresented groups, but there are distinctions. Specifically, it is widely documented...
May 2018
The academic success outcomes of men of color remain deficient in community colleges compared to other student groups (Valliani, 2015). While many men begin their educational journey at community colleges, most African American and Latino men do not reach degree completion (Center for Community College Student Engagement, 2014). Men of color often report that they feel unwelcome in college environments because of negative stereotypes associated with their physical appearance and challenged by academic unpreparedness and financial stress (Gardenhire-Cooks, Collado, Martin, & Castro, 2010;...
March 2018
How can the Gateway Community and Technical College best support early childhood education (ECE) students who are balancing work, college, and parenthood? This was the question that the ECE program coordinator was attempting to answer when redesigning the program to boost enrollment, retention, and completion in fall 2015. Sarah Smith, ECE Program Coordinator and faculty member utilized the design thinking process that had been recently introduced to the college during its strategic planning development. The process incorporates an empathetic outlook that focuses on the end-users’ needs to...
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,...
April 2017
Midland College (MC) has been named as a Cadre 1 community college to participate in an integrated statewide approach to student success. For the past two years, MC has been designing and implementing a pathways model with clear, educationally coherent program maps that are aligned for program completion, quality credentials, workforce skills, and transferability for baccalaureate and graduate degrees. As a result of MC’s efforts, the college has been recognized as a leader in the Texas Success Center’s Texas Pathways initiative, and the MC developmental math program has been named as...
October 2016
The computer hacking of major corporations, government offices, and banks is a growing threat. Dozens of high profile cases in the news recently highlight the issue, but there is a solution: cyber defense. Companies across the world are expanding and refining their security systems. Volunteer State Community College (Vol State) in Gallatin, Tennessee, is responding to the need for cyber defense expertise with a new degree concentration as part of a rapidly growing realm of information technology education being offered at the college. The reason for the expansion is based on employment...