Promoting Diversity at the Top

Promoting diversity at the top

Los Angeles Southwest College President Seher Awan

Those who picture a “gray-haired, white, heterosexual male” when they are about to meet a community college president are not necessarily wrong, but the assumption is increasingly out of date in 2019.

Given the diverse populations they serve, two-year institutions are striving to recruit and retain a diverse set of leaders with similar life experiences to others on campus.

Teaching Matters and So Does Curriculum: How CUNY Start Reshaped Instruction for Students Referred to Developmental Mathematics

Teaching Matters and So Does Curriculum: How CUNY Start Reshaped Instruction for Students Referred to Developmental Mathematics

Adult proficiency in numeracy in the United States lags behind that of other developed nations, and the nonselective institutions that dominate the higher education sector struggle to address the learning needs of the sizeable proportion of students who enroll in their institutions and are deemed academically underprepared in mathematics. Research on curriculum and pedagogy in developmental (or remedial) mathematics indicates that typical teaching approaches emphasize memorization, often at the expense of the kinds of conceptual understanding that prepare students for college-level mathematics and the numeracy demands of the workforce. This paper examines CUNY Start, an innovative pre-matriculation developmental education program developed by The City University of New York (CUNY) that reimagines the design and implementation of remedial instruction to better serve students with weak academic preparation.


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Studying Teaching in Community Colleges: Creating the Conditions Where Effective Instruction Can Flourish

Research by CCRC and others has identified many ways student outcomes can be improved, including through enhanced student advising, well-designed student supports, more coherent programs of study, and opportunities to quickly enroll in college-level coursework. However, in much of higher education research and in many of the large-scale reform efforts undertaken by states and colleges, what happens inside the classroom has received less attention.

Yet students’ time in courses is at the heart of the community college experience and central to the mission of colleges. It is within the classroom that students gain the skills and knowledge needed for future coursework, careers, and civic life. High-quality educational experiences have the potential not only to improve student outcomes generally but also to close achievement gaps resulting from inequitable distribution of educational opportunities. Students’ experiences in their classes can shape their perceptions of themselves and of the subject they’re studying and therefore impact their aspirations, their desire to continue in their field and in college, and ultimately their educational attainment.


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One-Year Research Experience for Associate’s Degree Students Impacts Graduation, STEM Retention, and Transfer Patterns

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The CUNY Research Scholars Program (CRSP) provides a yearlong faculty-mentored research experience to associate’s degree students. The program takes place at all 10 associate’s degree–granting colleges within the City University of New York system. We report on a mixed-methods study of 500 students who participated in the program during its initial 3 years. Quantitative longitudinal assessments revealed that students who engaged in CRSP were more likely to be retained in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) discipline or to graduate with a STEM degree than their counterparts in a matched comparison group. Furthermore, students who participated in CRSP demonstrated an increased likelihood of transferring to the more research-intensive 4-year schools within the CUNY system and to R1 universities outside the CUNY system. CRSP students reported an increased sense of belonging in college based on survey data, and focus groups with their mentors provided insight into the factors that led to the gains listed above. These combined results—of student data analysis, student surveys, and mentor focus groups—provide evidence that early research experiences for associate’s degree students contribute to their academic success.

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