Community Colleges

Making priority registration the law at community colleges

New California community college students may get priority when registering for courses

A handful of California community colleges have already experimented with priority registration for freshmen, but by fall 2014, every community college in the state will be offering it in some way.

Freshmen at some community colleges moving to front of line for class registration

Greater attention is being placed on helping incoming freshmen not just enroll but also start off their college careers on a positive note

Many community college students take much longer than the intended two years to complete their studies, or don’t ever wind up graduating at all. Traditionally, administrators focused on accommodating those who may have credits but little direction.

Now, at some schools, greater attention is being placed on helping incoming freshmen not just enroll but also start off their college careers on a positive note. The idea is that they will stay and finish within two years.

Level Playing Field

Community colleges using lecture capture in remedial courses

Boosting success for students in remedial education is crucial, particularly given the readiness gap seen at some community colleges. A recent report from McGraw-Hill Higher Education showed that despite receiving a high school diploma, at least 75 percent of first-year students at community colleges aren’t college-ready. And the number of students dropping out during their first year of college continues to rise. This can be attributed to a number of factors, including financial difficulties.

Response to the Challenge

Preserving the institution and achieving its mission despite the new economic “normal”

I brought my hard hat when I arrived in Terre Haute, Indiana, to begin my freshman year at Indiana State University nearly 50 years ago. I had worked for two years as a steelworker in Gary and the hard hat was a reminder of my roots—I am one of 10 children of parents of modest means—and of the hardy people who made a decent and honorable living operating blast furnaces that transformed molten iron. It also was a reminder of the great new journey I was embarking upon.

Online and Engaged

How to help ensure student success in online courses—despite research pointing to disengagement of distant learners at community colleges

At Pitt Community College (N.C.), online learning is about more than just putting in-person course content onto the web. Officials have created a system that emphasizes preparation for students and instructors. The institution will even be launching a certification program for professors wanting to enhance their online teaching skills. “We don’t want online courses to be a barrier to success in any way, for anyone,” says Don Hazelwood, director of instructional technology and distance education. “We all have to work together.” Despite efforts such as these, barriers are common.

Transfer Talk

Genesee Community College, located in upstate New York, and LIM College in Manhattan, have inked a new articulation agreement that allows GCC Fashion Business program students who have completed the outlined requirements to enter the program of their choice as juniors at LIM, which offers majors in Fashion Merchandising, Management, Marketing, and Visual Merchandising. ...

Follow the (Facebook) Leader

In November, Ivy Tech Community College (Ind.) hit a 50,000 Facebook fan milestone. Two months later, the count neared 54,000. The page didn’t get to be what’s likely tops among community colleges on Facebook by accident. Jeff Fanter, vice president of communications and marketing for the system, which has 200,000-plus students enrolled annually, shares some success secrets:

Shifting Gateways

Ross Gittell will utilize his background in university teaching, strategic planning, and management as the new chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire, effective February 1. He succeeds J. Bonnie Newman, interim chancellor since August 2011. Gittell was previously a professor at the University of New Hampshire’s school of business and economics and is considered a foremost authority in the state for economic analysis and forecasting.

Tracking Community College Trends

By the Numbers

Because community colleges serve such a diverse population and face unique challenges separate from their four-year peers, it’s important to monitor and analyze trends specific to these institutions. A recent policy brief from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) does just that, giving a 20-year overview of trends in educational attainment.

Rationalizing Rationing

California schools may need to do less with less

Community colleges have historically done more with less. Perhaps it’s inevitable they would eventually have to start doing less with less. Proposed changes in California may indicate that shift.

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