The community college mission has international appeal, reports Community College Times.
Valencia College (Florida) is helping Saudi Arabia’s all-female Princess Noura University develop a new women’s community college. The award-winning college also is partnering with institutions in the Dominican Republic and the Netherlands.
Valencia also has worked with Puerto Rico’s Ana G. Mendez University on a police training program.
Montgomery County Community College (Pennsylvania) created an articulation agreement with a university in South Korea. Montgomery County students will be able to study abroad — and even earn a bachelor’s degree.
In Wisconsin, Gateway Technical College is working with Ecole Supérieure de Technologie in Oujda, Morocco, to promote entrepreneurial principles.
Kansas’ Johnson County Community College has faculty and student exchange programs with institutions in Russia, China, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Seminole State College of Florida . . . signed a five-year agreement with Basic Health Care College of Fredericia-Vejle-Horsens in Denmark. Faculty and students will get a better idea of how healthcare works in other countries.
Elgin Community College (Illinois) celebrated International Week with shows, concerts, dancing, forums and a parade, reports the Courier News.
College President David Sam, a native of Ghana, donned a colorful African robe and led more than 20 foreign students in a fashion parade.
“At any one time, we have about 90 international students here,” said Lauren Nehlsen, manager of ECC’s international student services. “By 2018, we hope to have about 200 on campus.”
ECC also sends students abroad: Some go to Cuernevaca, Mexico to study the Spanish language and Mexican culture. Others study Chinese languages and culture and international business at schools in China.
Carlos Parra came to ECC on a student visa to study computer science. He lives with a volunteer host family through a program called International Student Home Stay.
The festivities included a belly dance performance by Dimitra Mouzakis of Chicago.
Here’s how three community college teachers are using online learning to change the way they teach, reports Edudemic.
Meredith Carpenter explains how she “flips” instruction in economics and entrepreneurship classes at Haywood Community College (North Carolina).
Steve Lurenz of Mesa Community College (Arizona) uses an online forum to build a sense of community in his online history classes.
Paramedic Tom Stoudt, started Hero’s Academy, online training for emergency medical technicians in Illinois.
With an average of 1,000 students for every advisor, most community college students are figuring things out on their own, notes the National Journal. Advising software is trying to fill the guidance gap.
”A lot of community-college students end up taking courses that don’t count, either toward their degree in the community college, or, if they want to transfer somewhere, that their transfer school’s not going to accept,” says Shanna Smith Jaggars, assistant director of the Community College Research Center at Teacher’s College at Columbia University.
Students who switch paths can run out of financial-aid eligibility and drop out.
Software developed by Washington research and consulting company Education Advisory Board has helped four-year schools like Georgia State University increase graduation and retention rates. As the EAB tries to develop a similar product for two-year schools, it finds itself up against a much bigger challenge.
“We actually think that the moment where education is imperative, and currently lacking, is at the very beginning of a student’s life cycle at an institution—really the intake process,” says Sarah Zauner, research director of EAB’s community college forum. The proposed tool would encourage students to define their goals, and then alert them when they veer off track.
EAB’s product alerts advisers at four-year schools, but the two-year version will be designed for use by students.
The product—still in its early stages—would invite students to answer questions about academic strengths and interests, their family income and time constraints, and the degree or certificate they’re aiming for. Based on that information, the tool would suggest majors and degree programs, and provide information on salaries earned by comparable graduates of those programs. The two-year product would alert students when they veer off course and give them advice, like directions to the campus tutoring center.
“E-advising” isn’t new at community colleges, says Jaggars. Most online systems help students plan and warn if they’re off track. But not all students use e-advising.
Even when online information is clear, students like to “have some kind of a person” to go to with questions, says Jaggars. Her team advised Michigan’s Macomb Community College to free counselors “to spend less time dealing with the logistics of enrolling students in courses and more time helping them set goals.”
Colleges are trying hard to raise the success rates — or, at least, the pass rates — of unprepared students, writes Eileen F. Toplansky, who teaches writing at two- and four-year institutions. She’s been urged to take an online seminar that promises to teach how to create relevant content, engage students and deal with “incomplete homework” and “course assignments that are sloppily completed or completely ignored.”
. . . as instructors, we are supposed to “tease knowledge out of students, rather than pound it into their heads. Projects and collaborative learning are applauded [whereas] traditional methods like lecturing and memorization are [often] derided as ‘drill and kill’” even though these latter methods do work well.
The vocabulary base of many of my students ranges between the fifth and seventh grade reading level. The dictionary is a foreign object. Yet, incessantly, instructors are told to engage in peer-review; that is, students grade and evaluate other students’ work.
Toplansky supplies unedited passages by community college students:
Interests of people change and people begin to seek a self-defiance. When these things happen, people begin admiring uncharacteristic traits. People fall in love and typically get married. But unlike in the past, people are getting married for a different reason.
From the study it was proven that even though the teen had an unplanned pregnancy, theirs evidence suggesting even though the teen got pregnant by accident they purposely don’t use contraception because they would like to get pregnant.
Another student wrote: “Every human being lurks for love from another, same sex or not.”
Ah, yes. Lurking for love in all the wrong places.
Listening to my retired veterans, my 18-year-old recovering addicts, and my young parents trying to drive a wedge between themselves and poverty, I unearthed which social causes were worth my championing. And I learned how vastly different someone’s reasoning can be from my own, based on the environment in which he or she was raised.
. . . I was empowering ex-convicts to combat recidivism, encouraging low-income kids to persevere toward the four-year degree they’d always wanted. I was inspiring young mothers. And most important, I had the great privilege of convincing my students they they had not just valid, but vital, academic voices and that they were a critical part of intellectual discourse.
To teach community college is to have the constant sense that something is beginning to happen. We are kickstarting lives, in ways we will never entirely know.
Instructors don’t always see their influence, writes Oakland Community College (Michigan) professor Linda Boynton in Hidden Harvest. “Parents become positive role models for their children or other family members. Cycles of failure get broken. Students, once content with low-paying, unfulfilling jobs, begin to want more, which means they find the courage to face rejection instead of letting it control them.”
In many parts of California, community colleges aren’t reaching “the people who are most in need of education and technical training charges California Competes. The state will need ”2.3 million additional degrees . . . to have an engaged citizenry and robust economy.”
The group’s interactive online map shows community college enrollment by zip code and educational need. Adults with a high school diploma or less are underserved, the nonprofit group argues.
The California Competes Council recommends financial incentives for colleges that raise enrollment in high-poverty, high-unemployment areas. In addition, the council suggested collecting and analyzing enrollment data in all open-enrollment institutions, including adult education, for-profit and nonprofit colleges and UC/CSU extensions.
Community colleges should reach out to high-need students, said Robert Shireman, executive director of California Competes. Technical training may be a bigger draw than transfer to earn a four-year degree, he said.
Despite President Obama’s call for more college graduates, only 54 percent of students earn a two- or four-year degree in six years, reports the National Student Clearinghouse. The graduation rate is nearly flat, notes the Hechinger Report.
However, community colleges raised the six-year completion rate by 1.1 percentage points to 37.4 percent. That includes the 9 percent who earned a degree after transferring to four-year institutions.
Graduation rates also inched up for students who started at public universities in 2007.
While 76 percent of full-time students earned a degree, only 22 percent of part-timers graduated in six years with another 11 percent still enrolled.
The National Student Clearinghouse’s full report, due in December, will include college students who earned credits in high school through dual enrollment programs.
Young people are told they must earn a bachelor’s degree to get a good job, says Mike Rowe, who hosted Dirty Jobs. That’s not necessarily so.
It was “the worst advice in the history of the world,” Rowe says. “Skilled trades are in demand.”
He’s created a new poster that advises: “Work smart AND hard.” In Rowe’s version, the college graduate looks glum, while the worker is smiling.
On his Profoundly Disconnected web site, Rowe challenges the idea that college is right for everyone. His foundation gives trade school scholarships to students who show a strong work ethic and financial need.
Applicants must sign the S.W.E.A.T. Pledge (Skills & Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo), notes Cost of College.
This includes the statement: “I believe that all people are created equal. I also believe that all people make choices. Some choose to be lazy. Some choose to to sleep in. I choose to work my butt off.”
Collegebound students must dream the affordable dream, writes Michael Alcorn in the Arvada (Colorado) News. A music and fitness instructor, he’s the father of three children, including a daughter in 12th grade who wants to study nursing.
Me, the “life coach” parent, wants her to dream as big as the sky and the stars. . . .
Me, the “teacher” parent, really believes in education and higher education and the value of learning for learning’s sake . . .
But me, the “financial advisor” parent, looks at the average of $26,000 student loan debt for graduates, looks at one in three college graduates living in their parents’ basements, looks at 45-percent dropout rates and 40-percent graduate underemployment . . . This part of me loves the idea of two years of community college to get the general ed. out of the way, transferring all those credits to the great, local private university with the great nursing program, and finding a way to get her into life without crippling debt.
Only 20 percent of jobs require bachelor’s degrees, according to the Department of Labor, writes Alcorn. About 30 percent of adults are college graduates. “One hundred percent of high school students in any suburban school are told . . . they’re a failure if they don’t go to college.”
The three parents in his head keep arguing, but the one who says “debt be damned!” probably isn’t going to win, he concludes.
Algebra scares many community college students, writes Sophie Quinton in National Journal. Two-thirds place into remedial math. Fewer than one in four who start below the college level earn a certificate or degree in eight years.
Arica Hawley used to dread math class. She would look at problems and not even know where to begin. When Hawley, 37, went back to Tacoma (Wash.) Community College last fall to finish her associate’s degree, she placed into a pre-algebra course—eighth-grade-level material.
Students who test two or three levels below Algebra II, which is considered college math, have to pass several remedial courses before they can start earning college credit. ”It eats up time and financial aid, especially when we have students who have to retake those courses three, four, and five times,” says John Kellermeier, a TCC math instructor.
Instead of remedial math, Hawley took Statway, a college-level statistics course for students who haven’t mastered high school math. She earned a college math credit.
The Carnegie Foundation developed two one-year courses — Statway and a quantitative-reasoning course called Quantway — to get students out of the remedial rut. Statway includes high school algebra and college-level statistics. Quantway starts with developmental math, but moves to college-level quantitative reasoning in the second semester.
Both courses allow faculty to teach algebra relevant to the college-level material, and to public debates and questions students will face in the workforce. In Statway, students learn to read graphs, determine probability, and detect bias in data. They brainstorm ways to prove or disprove theories, like the assertion by astrologers that birth dates determine personality traits.
Students are grouped into threes or fours and may stay in those groups throughout the course. The groups work through the material together every day, and are responsible for keeping each other up to speed.
. . . The courses also include exercises that address math anxiety. Many students believe they’re just not ‘math people.’ “If we don’t change how they see themselves, they’re going to realize a self-fulfilling prophecy,” says Bernadine Chuck Fong, the director of Carnegie’s developmental math initiative.
Statway was launched in the fall of 2011 at 19 community colleges and two state universities. Fifty-one percent of students earned a college credit within a year, compared to 5.9 percent of community college students who start in remedial math.
Thirty campuses in 11 states now are implementing Statway and 22 are using Quantway.
Students do better when they believe they can succeed, feel that they belong in the classroom, and feel connected to their peers and teacher, says Fong.