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

SPRING 2017 - VOLUME 24 ISSUE 1

Collaborative Consciousness: Exploring Community Colleges’ Awareness and Commitment to the Success of Male Students of Color

Luis Ponjuán, Texas A&M University
Veronica Jones, University of Texas at Austin
Susana Hernández Texas A&M University
Leticia Palomín, Texas A&M University

Two-year community colleges are often where male students of color start their higher education career. Unfortunately, these students compared to their female peers are less likely to earn a college degree or credential. This qualitative study explores the narratives of community college administrators in academic and student affairs divisions at two Texas community college systems. Specifically, participants were asked to describe their institution’s awareness and commitment to the success of male students of color. Themes emerged that highlight the unique challenges that male students of color face as they transition to college and their subsequent academic experiences. This study found that there was a disconnect in the coordination and communication of institutional efforts to adequately support the needs of male students of color at these community colleges. We applied the concept of collaborative consciousness to describe how these community colleges should move from individual knowledge and awareness to more of an organizational shared meaning (i.e. campus-wide) to address this critical issue. Finally, we provide recommendations to assist other community college leaders on how to improve organizational shared knowledge to better support male students of color at their institutions.

Keywords: community colleges; college administrators; male students of color

Ponjuán, L., Jones, V., Hernández, S., & Palomín, L. (2017). Collaborative consciousness: Exploring community colleges’ awareness and commitment to the success of male students of color. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 24(1), 1-14.

Refugee Students in Community Colleges: How Colleges Can Respond to an Emerging Demographic Challenge

Minerva D. Tuliao, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Deryl K. Hatch, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Richard J. Torraco, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

This practice brief provides recommendations for community college leaders in addressing the educational needs of refugee students in community colleges. Despite increasingly diverse immigrant populations at community colleges, there is limited research examining refugee students and their needs in higher education settings. Educational needs related to social support, cultural competency of the campus community, and financial assistance are found to be salient for refugee students. Implications for community colleges are discussed from the perspective of validation and community cultural wealth. Strategies that meet the needs of refugee students include expanding social networks that involve local community organizations, developing specific support programs for refugees, facilitating culturally-responsive teaching and learning practices, and considering demographic trends of refugees in strategic planning efforts.

Keywords: refugee students; culturally-responsive instruction; educational needs

Tuliao, M. D., Hatch, D. K., & Torraco, R. J. (2017). Refugee students in community colleges: How colleges can respond to an emerging demographic challenge. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 24(1), 15-26.

Redesigning Financial Aid to Better Support Community College Borrowers

Moumita Mukherjee, University of Houston
Maria Luna-Torres, University of Houston
Lyle McKinney, University of Houston
Pamelyn Klepal Shefman, University of Houston
Jerrel Wade, San Jacinto College
Rachel Breed, University of Houston

Increases in student borrowing, accompanied by a rise in loan default rates, have left many community colleges seeking more effective ways to support students who take out loans. Using in-depth interviews with 12 borrowers at a large, racially/ethnically diverse community college, this study investigated the resources and services these students found most, and least, beneficial as they navigated the borrowing process. A central theme was that borrowers would have benefited from much clearer guidance and direction throughout their time at the community college. Confusion about loans was evident at the time of initial borrowing, but also led to over borrowing in subsequent semesters. Borrowers benefited most from early messaging about their financial aid options through multiple mediums (e.g., in person, websites, video tutorials) and counseling sessions that considered their personal financial circumstances and goals. Our findings support the implementation of a more structured financial aid delivery model that helps students better navigate the borrowing process. This model has the potential to improve student decision-making, thereby promoting responsible borrowing and reducing default rates.

Keywords: student loans; community colleges; financial aid

Mukherjee, M., Luna-Torres, M., McKinney, L., Shefman, P. K., Wade, J., & Breed, R. (2017). Redesigning financial aid to better support community college borrowers. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 24(1), 27-41.

Performing The PSM Analysis: An Applied Example

Bobbie E. Frye, Central Piedmont Community College
James E. Bartlett, North Carolina State University

Since Propensity Score Matching (PSM) is a multivariate statistical technique, there are multiple steps involved in the analysis. There are six essential steps to PSM: data pre-screening, covariate identification, propensity score estimation, matching of propensity scores, determination of matching success and presentation of results. This paper presented general outlines of the components of the essential steps in PSM. In addition, there was an applied example of PSM in the community college context. The results and example provided are useful to the novice and the experienced researcher.

Keywords: developmental education; research methodology; propensity matching; multivariate analysis

Frye, B. E., & Bartlett, J. E. (2017). Performing the PSM analysis: An applied example. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 24(1), 43-58.

Comparison of Developmental Student Outcomes in College Level Courses Using Propensity Score Matching

Roger Mourad, Washtenaw Community College
Ji-Hee Hong, Washtenaw Community College

Recent empirical research has raised serious questions about the validity of placement tests and the necessity of mandatory placement in developmental courses. This study demonstrates the use of propensity score matching to compare two groups of new students who tested below college level Reading: those who took a developmental Reading course and college level courses in their first semester, and those who took only college level courses. It was found that enrollment in developmental Reading was not a significant predictor of success in college level courses when controlling for other variables. African Americans, males, young students who did not receive Pell grants, and older students who received Pell grants were significantly less likely to succeed in college level courses without concurrently enrolling in developmental Reading. These results support the need for more research on the disparate effects of developmental placement policy on demographic subgroups.

Keywords: community college; developmental education; propensity, score matching

Mourad, R., & Hong, J.-H. (2017). Comparison of developmental student outcomes in college level courses using propensity score matching. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 24(1), 59-76.

A College and University Co-Enrollment Program That Facilitates Baccalaureate Attainment

Lynne L. Hindman, Oregon State University
Darlene F. Russ-Eft, Oregon State University

The Degree Partnership Program (DPP) between Linn-Benton Community College and Oregon State University commenced in 1998 as the first college/university co-enrollment partnership of its kind. The purpose of this research was to understand how the DPP influenced baccalaureate attainment including completion rates, GPA, and number of credits to completion. A quantitative descriptive case study design utilized more than eight years of archived de-identified student transcript data from OSU’s 2005 freshman class, and four graduating classes from the 2009- 10, 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2012-13 school years. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics that were reinforced with t-tests, logistic regression, and other statistical analyses. Results indicated that DPP students had significantly higher rates of persistence towards earning a baccalaureate degree, with higher GPAs, fewer university credits, and with less cost. Therefore, the DPP is highly recommended as a model program to increase rates of baccalaureate attainment.

Keywords: degree partnership program (DPP); two-year community college/four-year university partnerships; baccalaureate degree completion

Hindman, L. L., & Russ-Eft, D. F. (2017). A college and university co-enrollment program that facilitates baccalaureate attainment. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 24(1), 77-93.

Access, Accommodation, and Reasoned Action among Collegians with Disabilities

Amanda A. Bell, Eastern Michigan University
Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Of the 13 million students attending community colleges, 12 percent are classified a person with a disability. While extant research depicts disability services at community colleges as responsive to the unique needs of the disabled, other studies discuss existing challenges with disability services at two-year institutions. Further insight is needed about persons with disabilities’ attitudes related to the broader campus climate, not just their experience with accommodation services. This study sought to situate and bring light to the experiences of persons with disabilities at community colleges. The following themes emerged from interviewing individuals with disabilities about their collegiate experiences: (a) Disparity in services; (b) Course or classroom structure and influence on the use of accommodation services; (c) Faculty-student interactions and impact on the request for accommodations; (d) Peer attitudes towards disability and the use of accommodation. Overall, findings from this research suggest that focusing on the actions and choices of students with disabilities as they pertain to college choice, academic support services, and/or accommodations during their time at two- and four-year institutions would aid alignment between accommodation requests and the individual’s planned behavior/reasoned actions, which could improve the collegiate experience, satisfaction, and matriculation to completion among students with disabilities.

Keywords: accommodations; students with disabilities; college; qualitative research

Bell, A. A., & Zamani-Gallahar, E. M. (2017). Access, accommodation, and reasoned action among collegians with disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 24(1), 95-106.