Journal of Applied Research in Community Colleges. Peer-Reviewed Since 1993


Improving Campus Climate for Employees as a Strategy for Promoting Student Success

Jemilia S. Davis, Belk Center, North Carolina State University

Monique N. Colclough, Belk Center, North Carolina State University

Andrea L. DeSantis, Belk Center, North Carolina State University

Laura G. Maldonado, Belk Center, North Carolina State University

Nora Morris, Anoka-Ramsey Community College

Audrey J. Jaeger, Belk Center, North Carolina State University

Fostering a campus environment that promotes student success is crucial to fulfilling community colleges’ mission to provide access and opportunity for economic mobility for their students. Community college employees play an integral role in transforming this espoused mission into action as they develop and implement policies, practices, and procedures that influence student success outcomes. In response to campus climate survey results, measures were taken at Riverfront Community College (RCC) to improve the campus climate for the college’s employees by engaging in a shared leadership model, empowering staff to share their perspectives, and emphasizing equitable access and outcomes as a means to improve student success. The following research questions guided this case study: (a) How do employees at RCC perceive the climate and culture? and (b) What do these employees’ perceptions tell us about the connection of climate and culture at RCC to student success?

Keywords: employee climate, equity, shared leadership, student success

Davis, J. S., Colclough, M. N., DeSantis, A. J., Maldonado, L. G., Morris, N., & Jaeger, A. L. (2020). Improving campus climate for employees as a strategy for promoting student success. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 27(1), 1-16.

Online Orientation among Community College Students: Academic Engagement and Sense of Belonging

Andrew S. Herridge, Texas Tech University

Jon McNaughtan, Texas Tech University

Lisa J. James, Texas Tech University

The majority of all postsecondary institutions offer some form of new student orientation. However, when looking at new student orientation at community colleges, there is often no set structure or content. Utilizing data from the 2014 iteration of the Survey of Entering Student Engagement (SENSE), the findings suggest students who attend online orientation are more likely to become engaged out-of-class through group study and out-of-class preparation when they have knowledge of the institutional support available to them and utilize academic advising support. Given the results of this study, we identified four recommendations for practitioners: (a) Orientation programming should continue to enhance efforts related to student knowledge of institutional support. (b) Practitioners should be innovative in how they construct orientation programming whether online or in traditional settings. (c) Advising support should be central to online and traditional orientation. (d) Institutions should engage in more critical evaluation of orientation programming.

Keywords: online orientation, sense of belonging, student engagement

Herridge, A. S., McNaughtan, J., & James, L. J. (2020). Online orientation among community college students: Academic engagement and sense of belonging. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 27(1), 17-32.

Gender Differences of Press Releases Announcing New Community College Presidents

Z.W. Taylor, The University of Texas at Austin

Jessica J. Fry, The University of Texas at Austin

Rebecca Gavillet, The University of Texas at Austin

Del Watson, The University of Texas at Austin

Pat Somers, The University of Texas at Austin

How do community colleges introduce their new presidents to the public? This study employed a critical discourse analysis (van Djik, 1993) through a critical feminist lens (Wildman, 2007) to analyze 125 press releases announcing a new community college president. Men presidents were announced in 56% of press releases. Men had their record of civic engagement (21%) and family lives (31%) mentioned more often than women (12% and 20%). They were also more likely to be already an interim president at the college (7%) or internal candidate (23%) than women (2% and 14%). These findings suggest community colleges share men’s credentials in a more community- and family-centric way than women’s credentials. Press releases also suggest men rise among the ranks at community colleges more often than women, implying a persistent “glass ceiling” faced by women striving for top-level executive leadership positions. Implications for community college research and practice are addressed. Keywords: presidents, community colleges, women, executive leadership, discourse analysis Taylor, Z. W., Fry, J. J., Gavillet, R., Watson, D., & Somers, P. (2020). Gender differences of press releases announcing new community college presidents. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 27(2), 33-44. Examining Community College Faculty Perceptions of Their Preparedness to Teach Online Kao Vang, University of North Carolina Charlotte Florence Martin, University of North Carolina Charlotte Chuang Wang, University of North Carolina Charlotte There is limited research focusing on community college faculty preparedness to teach online. This study focused on 101 community college faculty’s perceptions of the importance of online teaching competencies and self-efficacy to teach online. A validated instrument (Faculty Readiness to Teach Online) focusing on course design, course communication, time management, and technical skills was administered in three medium-to-large size community colleges through an online survey. Descriptive statistics were reported for the item and subscale level, and MANOVA was used for inferential analysis to examine demographic differences. Technical competencies were rated lower than the other three constructs for both importance and self-efficacy. The highest-rated item in the importance construct was responding to student questions promptly, and the highest-rated item in the self-efficacy construct was using email to communicate. There were significant differences based on gender and delivery method. The study has implications for professional development, online faculty, and administrators in community colleges.

Keywords: online teaching, faculty preparedness, community colleges, online teaching competencies

Vang, K., Martin, F., & Wang, C. (2020). Examining community college faculty perceptions of their preparedness to teach online. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 27(1), 45-64.

Bridging the Gap: Summer Bridge Programs as an Effective Strategy for Improving Minority Student Academic Attainment in Community Colleges

Joshua Dorman, Irvine Valley College

Nicholas Havey, University of California, Los Angeles

Loris Fagioli, Irvine Valley College

This study explored the impact of a summer bridge program designed to support minority and low-income students in their transition from high school to higher education. We focused on the program’s longitudinal effects on students’ GPAs, units earned, math and English course completions, and persistence rates over a period of two years, across multiple program cohorts at a community college in California. Using propensity score analysis to control for selection bias, we found significant and robust positive outcomes for the program. These findings support efforts to implement Summer Bridge Programs as an institutional intervention to improve low-income and underrepresented minority students’ academic outcomes in community colleges.

Keywords: Summer Bridge, underrepresented minority, institutional interventions, community colleges

Dorman, J., Havey, N., & Fagioli, L. (2020). Bridging the gap: Summer bridge programs as an effective strategy for improving minority student academic attainment in community colleges. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 27(1), 65-80.

Queering Community College HSIs: An Environmental Scan of Current Programs and Services for Latinx Students

Ángel De Jesús González, San Diego State University

Yolanda Cataño, San Diego State University

As Latinx student enrollment increases across higher education, in particular at community colleges, there is a trend of community colleges emerging as Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). Although many institutions gain a HSI designation, critiques from scholars around how institutions demonstrate “servingness” continue to transpire, especially when taking into consideration queer Latinx students. This article utilizes an environmental scan of community colleges that form part of the Southern California Consortium of Hispanic Serving Institutions (SCCHSI) to further explore the need for more holistic and intersectional support for Latinx students at HSI community colleges. The authors provide recommendations around grant writing; impact of emerging and continuing HSIs; the importance of leadership representation; how alignment with campus, district, and state initiatives contribute to Latinx success; and LGBTQ+ services and professional learning.

Keywords: queering, Latinx, HSI, community college

González, A. D. J., & Cataño, Y. (2020). Queering community college HSIs: An environmental scan of current programs and services for Latinx students. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 27(1), 81-96.

Predictors of Academic Success among Community College Transfer Students in Louisiana

Yu (April) Chen, Louisiana State University

Since the launch of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) in the late 1990s, a series of transfer-related policies have been implemented in the State of Louisiana. However, limited empirical studies have focused on transfer students’ success in the Louisiana context. This study filled the research gap by examining influential factors of transfer students’ GPAs in the receiving 4-year institutions. The author focused on the experiences of community college transfer students attending a research-intensive, public 4-year university in Louisiana. The author collected more than 1,000 transfer students’ data from the registrar’s office and utilized sequential regression analysis to identify statistically significant predictors of their post-transfer GPA. Results generated practical implications for higher education policy makers, student affairs professionals at both 4-year and 2-year institutions, as well as researchers who are interested in further studying transfer student success.

Keywords: community college transfer students, academic success, post-transfer GPA

Chen, Y. A., (2020). Predictors of academic success among community college transfer students in Louisiana. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 27(1), 97-112.

Three-Peat, Six Drop, and Excess Hours, Oh My! Latinx Community College Transfer Student Perceptions of State-Level Policies

Catherine Prieto Olivarez, Dallas County Community College District

Kelsey Kunkle, University of North Texas

Nydia C. Sánchez, University of San Diego

This paper highlights the influence of state higher education policy on student enrollment, transfer, and completion, particularly for Latinx transfer students in Texas. Specifically, we analyzed Latinx transfer student perceptions of four Texas higher education policies and the ways these policies played a role in how students maneuvered into and through multiple institutions, navigating their pathway to success. Findings suggest that the repercussions of various state policies can be deleterious to the mental, emotional, and financial circumstances with this group of students. Additionally, these policies do not consider the nuances of transfer from the community college to a university and how students can be unfairly penalized when strictly enforced, particularly low-income, first-generation, Latinx students.

Keywords: community college transfer, state policies, Latinx students

Olivarez, C. P., Kunkle, K., & Sánchez, N. C. (2020). Three-peat, six drop, and excess hours, oh my! Latinx community college transfer student perceptions of state-level policies. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 27(1), 113-128.

Community College Faculty Experiences in an Honors Program: A Phenomenological Study

M. Beth Borst, Ivy Tech Community College

Amanda O. Latz, Ball State University

While nearly 400 community colleges have honors programs, research on faculty teaching within them is scarce. In this study, I sought to understand the lived experiences of community college faculty teaching in a two-year honors program. Using an interpretative phenomenological analysis approach, the findings suggest that faculty experiences are centered on three primary themes: (a) identity as community college faculty, (b) perceptions of honors students, and (c) teaching in an honors program. While the findings indicate teaching in a two-year honors program can provide faculty with perks such as smaller classes, engaged students, increased academic freedom, and an opportunity to try new pedagogies, the study also brings to light some of the challenges inherent to teaching in a two-year honors program, such as working with underprepared honors students and managing heavy faculty workloads.

Keywords: community college, two-year faculty, honors programs

Borst, M. B., & Latz, A. O. (2020). Community college faculty experiences in an honors program: A phenomenological study. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 27(1), 129-147.