Are Community Colleges Underprepared for Underprepared Students: New Directions for Community Colleges Issue #144, Winter 2008


This volume steps outside entrenched habits of viewing theunderprepared student as the central problem in improving studentoutcomes and highlights new questions and approaches that focus onaddressing the reality of student needs. Chapters discuss:

  1. Overview of Foundational Issues
  2. Developing a Theory-Driven ...
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This volume steps outside entrenched habits of viewing theunderprepared student as the central problem in improving studentoutcomes and highlights new questions and approaches that focus onaddressing the reality of student needs. Chapters discuss:

  1. Overview of Foundational Issues
  2. Developing a Theory-Driven Model of Community College StudentEngagement
  3. Focus on the Front Door of the College
  4. Organizational Culture as a Hidden Resource
  5. Tiered Mentoring to Leverage Student Body Expertise
  6. Do Institutional Attributes Predict Indidivuals' Degree Successat Two-year Colleges?
  7. Information Networks and Integration: Institutional Influenceson Experiences and Persistence of Beginning Students
  8. The California Basic Skills Initiative
  9. Institutional Efforts to Address Disadvantaged Students: An"Up-So-Down" View
  10. Transmuting Resistance to Change

If community colleges can find the courage and willingness toappreciate that they are as underprepared for their students asthese students are for the college-level curriculum, it wouldsignal the beginning of a major paradigm shift and a new universeof possibilities.

This is the 144th volume of the Jossey-Bass higher educationquarterly report series NewDirections for Community Colleges. Essential to theprofessional libraries of presidents, vice presidents, deans, andother leaders in today's open-door institutions, New Directions forCommunity Colleges provides expert guidance in meeting thechallenges of their distinctive and expanding educationalmission.

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Table of Contents

EDITORS'NOTES (Pam Schuetz, Jim Barr).

1. Overview of Foundational Issues (Jim Barr, PamSchuetz)
Student outcomes may be improved if interactions between studentsand their campus environments are examined and adapted to servestudent needs.

2. Developing a Theory-Driven Model of Community CollegeStudent Engagement (Pam Schuetz)
This mixed methods study develops and tests a new conceptual modelto help sculpt campus environments in support of studentsuccess.

3. Focus on the Front Door of theCollege (Sanford C. "Sandy" Shugart, Joyce C.Romano)
Valencia Community College emphasizes successful studentexperiences at the front door of the college. This chapterdescribes the new Atlas online learning community and portal thatconnects students to tools needed to succeed, enabling them to stayconnected with the essential business of being a student.

4. Organizational Culture as a HiddenResource (Dennis McGrath, Susan Tobia)
This chapter illustrates how campus culture can serve as a resourceto better support and assist underprepared students. It concludeswith recommendations for the development of culturally sensitiveinstitutions through professional development for faculty, staff,and senior managers.

5. Tiered Mentoring to Leverage Student BodyExpertise (Faisal Jaswal, Teresa McClaneJaswal)
Bellevue Community College has started a new tiered mentoringprogram, linking students with peers, faculty, staff, andadministrators via a tiered structure whereby first-year studentsare mentored by upperlevel students who, in turn, are mentored byprofessionals in the students' field of study.

6. Do Institutional Attributes Predict Individuals' DegreeSuccess at Two-year Colleges? (Lisbeth J. Goble, JamesE. Rosenbaum, Jennifer L. Stephan)
Quantitative analysis using the National Education LongitudinalStudy Restricted Use File and other national data suggest that theinstitutional graduation rate varies by different subpopulations ofstudents.

7. Information Networks and Integration: InstitutionalInfluences on Experiences and Persistence of BeginningStudents (Melinda Mechur Karp, Katherine L.Hughes)
Results of a qualitative study of longitudinal student persistencein community colleges indicate that institutional structurescan foster or hinder information networks that are important tostudents' sense of belonging and success.

8. The California Basic SkillsInitiative (Barbara Illowsky)
This chapter describes the development and implementation ofCalifornia's Basic Skills Initiative through its three phases todate.

9. Institutional Efforts to Address Disadvantaged Students:An "Up-So-Down" View (John S. Levin)
Results of field research in 13 community colleges and 9 statesdescribe institutional efforts and individual efforts toaccommodate and nurture disadvantaged students in communitycollege. The chapter advances recommendations for betterinstitutional treatment of disadvantaged students.

10. Transmuting Resistance to Change (PamSchuetz, Jim Barr)
Achieving meaningful educational reform in community collegesrequires a transmutation of internal power struggles in favor ofshared creation and execution of a vision of college goals thattranscends bureaucratic boundaries.


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