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


Latino Men & Community College Environments: Understanding How Belonging, Validation, and Resources Shape Experience

Sarah Rodriguez, Iowa State University

Alec Jordan, Iowa State University

Erin Doran, Iowa State University

Victor Sáenz, University of Texas at Austin

This phenomenological, qualitative study explored how Latino men at community colleges made sense of their campus environments and how those experiences influenced the college-going process. Using Harris and Wood’s (2013, 2014) socio-ecological outcomes (SEO) model, this study included the perspectives of 130 Latino men who participated in focus groups at seven community colleges in the southwestern United States. The study found that professors, academic advisors, and peers played an important role in creating an environment that validated and fostered a sense of belonging. In addition, the study found that Latino men had difficulty accessing resources. Latino men expressed concern regarding transferring to a university and how that transition might influence access to resources. Findings suggest that Latino men may benefit from a sense of belonging and feelings of validation uniquely fostered by community college environments. Results also underscore gender and cultural norms for navigating resources and the transfer process.

Keywords: Latino; men; transfer

Rodriguez, S., Jordan, A., Doran, E., & Sáenz, V. (2020). Latino men & community college environments: Understanding how belonging, validation, and resources shape experience. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 26(1), 1-14.

Community College Faculty Foster or Foreclose on Opportunities to Improve Black Male Students’ Success

Maisha N. Jones, Los Angeles Southwest College

Contrary to the rhetoric around a post-racial United States, Black male students are not experiencing equitable outcomes in higher education. Community colleges are a critical access point to higher education for Black males, yet community colleges are not graduating, transferring, or helping them enter the workforce at an acceptable pace. The purpose of this article is to explore Black male students' perceptions of faculty-student interactions as both a strength and challenge in relation to student success. The Five Domains Conceptual Model was used as a holistic framework to address inequitable outcomes for Black males. This qualitative inquiry of 17 Black male students at a Southern California community college illuminates the role of faculty in improving academic outcomes. Recommendations for addressing inequitable outcomes for Black male students include equity-minded practices for faculty hiring and professional development in culturally relevant pedagogy to enhance faculty-student interactions leading to improved performance and achievement.

Keywords: community colleges; faculty; Black males

Jones, M. N. (2019). Community college faculty foster or foreclose on opportunities to improve Black male students’ success. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 26(1), 15-28.

Analysis of Mental Health Issues: Comparisons from a Survey and Counseling Center Records

Kyle Gamache, CAGS, Community College of Rhode Island

Tanekar Alexander, CAGS, Community College of Rhode Island

Travis Vendetti, Rhode Island Department of Health

The mental health issues of students attending institutions of higher learning are a significant influence on student well-being and academic success. Research has primarily focused on students attending 4-year undergraduate institutions, and only limited research has explored what students attending 2-year institutions experience concerning mental illness. This dearth of research needs to be addressed. Two-year “community colleges” serve a critically important role in higher education. This study attempts to add to the body of research on the mental health needs of college students attending community colleges. The non-clinical population of a community college was assessed through a series of surveys and the results compared to a chart audit at the institution’s counseling center. The results of these comparisons offer insight into the challenges faced by students attending a community college and suggest possible differences between 2-year and 4-year college students.

Keywords: college student mental health, community colleges, college counseling

Gamache, K., Alexander, T., & Vendetti, T. (2019). Analysis of mental health issues: Comparisons from a survey and counseling center records. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 26(1), 29-44.

Bridging Success for STEM Students of Color: Factors that Predict Interactions with Institutional Agents at Community Colleges HSI and Non-HSI

María-José Zeledón-Pérez, San Diego City College

The racial and ethnic gap in educational attainment in STEM fields is a central topic in the national conversation. This study investigated the factors that promote or hinder the frequency of interaction between institutional agents (faculty and advisors) and STEM students of color at HSI and non-HSI community colleges. Publicly available data (BPS:04/09) was utilized and the sample was comprised of approximately 1,170 community college STEM students of color (Asian, Black, and Latinx). This study conducted a descriptive statistics analysis and three regression analyses predicting the frequency of interaction with (a) faculty informally, (b) faculty academically outside of class, and (c) advisors to discuss academic plans. The descriptive analysis indicated some observable differences in the frequency of interaction at HSI and non-HSI community colleges. However, none of the regression analyses found attending an HSI to be significant after controlling for independent variables.

Keywords: STEM; students of color; institutional agents; community college; Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI)

Zeledón-Pérez, M. J. (2019). Bridging success for STEM students of color: Factors that predict interactions with institutional agents at community colleges HSI and non-HIS. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 26(1), 45-60.

The Mōhala Alaka‘i Emerging Leaders Program: How First-Year Native Hawaiian Students Conducted Original Research on Student Barriers to Success

Lantana Hoke, University of Hawaii Maui College

Tikki Bisbee, University of Hawaii Maui College

Malia Flores, University of Hawaii Maui College

Shannon Iʻi, University of Hawaii Maui College

Rena Pali, University of Hawaii Maui College

Kyle Salvador, University of Hawaii Maui College

Lou Ann Alo, University of Hawaii Maui College

Grace Gomes, University of Hawaii Maui College

Sariah Pula, University of Hawaii Maui College

Kayla Shaw, University of Hawaii Maui College

This paper explores the process and identifies the results of the Mōhala Alakaʻi Emerging Leaders Program’s two-year research project. As a part of a Title III grant to promote first-year Native Hawaiian student success, students conducted original research to determine the top ten barriers to student success at the University of Hawaii Maui College. Through the course of two research classes, the students in the 2017 Cohort 1 of the program conducted a study to identify the top ten barriers to student success. Based on these findings, students in the 2018 Cohort 2 of the program determined that the major barrier was access to and knowledge of resources, and suggested solutions for addressing this barrier since it affected most other barriers. The students settled on creating and implementing two projects: digital signage to be displayed across campus and a campus-wide scavenger hunt designed to share resources with first-year students.

Keywords: community college; academic success; student success; barriers to education; barriers to learning

Hoke, L., Bisbee, T., Flores, M., Iʻi, S., Pali, R., Salvador, K., Alo, L. A., Gomes, G., Pula, S., & Shaw, K. (2019). The Mōhala Alaka‘i emerging leaders program: How first-year native Hawaiian students conducted original research on student barriers to success. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 26(1), 61-72.

Access, Use, and Efficacy of Campus Services among Hmong American Community College Students

Soua Xiong, California State University, Fresno

The purpose of this study was to examine Hmong community college students’ experiences with campus services. In particular, the current inquiry examines their access to, use of, and efficacy of campus services. Using data derived from the Community College Success Measure (CCSM), this study investigated the experiences of 261 Hmong community college students. Findings indicated that Hmong students perceived to have access to campus services, and found them to be useful, but had limited engagement with campus services. The relationship between access, use, and efficacy of campus services were all significant and positive. Moreover, use of campus services varies by educational goal of participants. Implications for community college research and practice are provided.

Keywords: Hmong college students; community college; campus services

Xiong, S., (2019). Access, use, and efficacy of campus services among Hmong American community college students. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 26(1), 73-88.

For the Culture: Grit, Student Engagement, and Academic Performance at a Historically Black Community College

Sharonica Nelson, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Beate Baltes, Walden University

To explore possible causes of low graduation rates at a historically Black community college, a correlational study was conducted to examine the relationships between academic performance, grit, and student engagement. A convenience sample of community college students (N=116) was acquired. Grit, which is defined as persistence and passion toward long-term goals, was measured by the Grit-Short Scale (GRIT-S), student engagement was measured by the Student Engagement Instrument for Colleges (SEI-C), and academic performance was measured by student self-reported first-year grade point averages (FYGPA). No statistically significant relationship was found between grit and FYGPA. Further, statistical testing is needed to understand other possible deterrents of college graduation.

Keywords: academic performance; graduation; grit; student engagement; first year GPA; historically Black colleges

Nelson, S., & Baltes, B. (2019). For the culture: Grit, student engagement, and academic performance at a historically Black community college. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 26(1), 89-102.

Using Social Science Portraiture in Educational Research: Learning from the Transfer Experiences of Latinx/a Students to Inform Guided Pathways Design and Implementation

Joan Garcia Ahrens, Grossmont College

The voices of the participants in this qualitative study are particularly valuable as they relate to access and support of minoritized populations in higher education. The methodology of social science portraiture was used to collect, analyze, and present the data in the form of narrative portraits that tell of the lived experiences of Latinx/a community college transfer students. These stories function as LatCrit testimonios by revealing what institutional supports are effective in enhancing the cultural capital Latinas bring with them as they pursue a postsecondary degree. Excerpts from the participants’ lived experiences are particularly useful as they relate to the inquiry, design, and implementation of the Guided Pathways framework. This framework has been embraced by California’s Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) as a means to respond to equity gaps as well as the state’s increasing demand for more college-educated workers.

Keywords: social science portraiture

Ahrens, J, G. (2019). Using social science portraiture in educational research: Learning from the transfer experiences of Latinx/a students to inform guided pathways design and implementation. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 26(1), 103-116.

Engage, Streamline, & Advocate: The Continued Response of Higher Education Professionals to Homelessness among College Students

Jazmin M. Caton, University of Florida

Higher education professionals are faced with helping manage and guide institutions of higher education in their response to a variety of today’s most critical issues that often have students at the center. The issue of homelessness is no different. The role of higher education professionals in responding to homelessness among college students is vital to the wellbeing of students and institutions. This paper utilized data collected from a multiple-case study of both community colleges and universities in order to propose three specific recommendations for promising practices in seeking to ensure basic needs of students are addressed and ultimately met.

Keywords: homelessness; human resources; policy; partnerships

Caton, J, M. (2019). Engage, streamline, & advocate: The continued response of higher education professionals to homelessness among college students. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 26(1), 117-126.

Best Practices for Talented and Gifted Students at Community Colleges

Ksenia S. Zhbanova, Mississippi State University

Mark Fincher, Mississippi State University

Community colleges are often overlooked by the gifted and talented high school graduates. Yet, these institutions of higher education are often the best match for this student population sought after by the top universities. Community colleges can already offer gifted and talented students multiple advantages that stem from the nature of these institutions, such as close proximity to home. However, the students and the influential categories of people in their lives are not aware of these advantages. This article reviews contemporary recruitment strategies and proposes new, effective strategies as well as suggestions for improving the existing ones. The unique needs and challenges faced by this student population and ways community colleges can address them are also investigated in this article.

Keywords: community college; gifted and talented students; recruitment

Zhbanova, K, Z., & Fincher, M. (2019). Best practices for talented and gifted students at community colleges. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 26(1), 127-139.