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


Faculty Success or Student Success? Factors That Contribute to Community College Students’ Success in College-Level Math

Mallory A. Newell, De Anza College

Ola Sabawi, Crafton Hills College

Prior research has focused on students’ course and instructor variables in primary and secondary education to better understand student success, yet few studies have explored the relationship between these factors and course completion within community colleges. To explore this relationship, this study investigated the factors that were most predictive of successful completion of a college-level statistics course. Findings showed that variation among the different instructors who taught the course explained most of the student success variability. Other contributors to student success variation were identified (such as ethnicity, corequisite support offered in a learning community format, online modality, and high school preparation), but they affected the odds of success to a lesser extent. The findings are important to community colleges to inform discussions around increasing course completions and closing long-standing gaps in outcomes for historically underserved student groups, largely through professional development efforts.

Keywords: community college; faculty success; statistics; instructor effects; equity

Newell, M. A., & Sabawi, O. (2023). Faculty success or student success? Factors that contribute to community college students’ success in college-level math. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 30(1), 5-30.

Diversity in Development: Centering Diversity in Community College Fundraising Practices

Everrett A. Smith, University of Cincinnati

Michael T. Miller, University of Arkansas

Fundraising has become increasingly important for community colleges, and the need for additional funding is occurring at a time when these institutions are enrolling most of their students from diverse backgrounds. To address the large number of students from historically underrepresented communities, there is a need to understand the extent to which community colleges prioritize diversity in their fundraising activities. Surveying a national sample of 200 community college fundraising professionals, this study identified that diversity-related fundraising was a moderate priority for these professionals; that scholarships and faculty resources, along with capital construction, were fundraising priorities; and that attention to diversity-related philanthropy is positively associated with number of staff members from an underrepresented population. Additional findings include that over 80% of the respondents raised $3 million or less annually; 85% of the institutions employed a full-time fundraising professional; and two-thirds of the institutions had fundraising support staff members.

Keywords: community college fundraising; fundraising; diversity; higher education finance; philanthropy; organizational behavior

Smith, E. A., & Miller, M. T. (2023). Diversity in development: Centering diversity

in community college fundraising practices. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 30(1), 31-46.

Falling Through the Cracks: The Institutional Invisibility of Southeast Asian American Community College Students and the Need for Data Disaggregation

Varaxy Yi, California State University, Fresno

Vanna Nauk, California State University, Fresno

Ko Yang, University of California, Merced

Kathy Moua, California State University, Fresno

Gaonoucci Vang, California State University, Fresno

Community colleges educate a majority of first-generation college students, students from low-income communities, and racially-minoritized students, many of whom are Southeast Asian Americans (SEAA). While aggregate data about Asian Americans indicate that these students perform well academically, the data mask educational challenges experienced by Hmong, Cambodian, Lao, and Vietnamese students. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of ten SEAA community college students navigating community college through an AsianCrit lens. Findings indicate three key themes in participants’ comments and experiences: (a) data aggregation around the broad categories of “Asian” and “Asian American” has reinforced participants’ invisibility, (b) participants have experienced institutional omission, and (c) participants have experienced uneven access to inclusive campus subcultures.

Keywords: Southeast Asian American students; AsianCrit; Asianization; institutional invisibility

Yi, V., Nauk, V., Yang, K., Moua, K., & Vang, G. (2023). Falling through the cracks: The institutional invisibility of Southeast Asian American community college students and the need for data disaggregation. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 30(1), 47-60.

Equity in Action: Reconnecting Adult Learners to Community Colleges in North Carolina

Emily R. VanZoest, North Carolina State University

Dion T. Harry, North Carolina State University

Roshaunda L. Breeden, East Carolina University

As part of the myFutureNC initiative, the state of North Carolina has a goal of ensuring two million North Carolinians receive a high-quality post-secondary degree or credential by 2030. Intentionally engaging adult learners, particularly those from historically and systemically underserved communities at North Carolina community colleges, will not only help the state move toward this goal, but also create a more educated and prepared workforce for the state. This case study explores how North Carolina community colleges engage and support adult learners on their journeys to higher education in order to help community colleges become better equipped to serve adult learners. Our findings highlight strengths, opportunities, and challenges involved in five pilot institutions’ efforts to recruit and retain adult learners, including opportunities to approach adult learners through an equity-minded lens and use success coaches to support this unique population. We conclude with practical recommendations for community college stakeholders and researchers.

Keywords: adult learners; equity; community college; reconnect program

VanZoest, E. R., Harry, D. T., & Breeden, R. L. (2023). Equity in action: Reconnecting adult learners to community colleges in North Carolina. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 30(1), 61-76.

Gems Amongst the Coals: Exploring Humanizing Practices that Nurture Academic Success and Holistic Student Development at a Texan Community College

Claudia Garcia-Louis, University of Texas San Antonio

Javier Mateos-Campos, University of Texas San Antonio

Jasmine Victor, University of Texas San Antonio

Monica Hernandez, University of Texas San Antonio

Community colleges play a fundamental role in serving and providing access to higher education for large populations of first-generation, low-income students of color. Socioemotional learning (SEL) and the inclusion of mandatory ethnic studies classes have demonstrated positive outcomes for underrepresented students, such as intellectual growth, academic success, and an increased sense of belonging. In this study, we take Ladson-Billings’ culturally sustainable pedagogy and repurpose her theoretical concepts of death in the classroom and academic death to propose the inverse concepts of life in the classroom and academic flourishing to investigate humanizing practices at a South Texas community college. Three major findings emerged: instructional spaces are a way of sustaining culture and advocacy; investment and demonstration of care facilitates holistic student development; and there is a direct connection between intellectual growth and students experiencing quality investment from educators. We conclude with a series of recommendations for faculty and staff.

Keywords: ethnic studies; humanizing pedagogies; holistic student development; community college

Garcia-Louis, C., Mateos-Campos, J., Victor, J., & Hernandez, M. (2023). Gems amongst the coals: Exploring humanizing practices that nurture academic success and holistic student development at a Texan community college. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 30(1), 77-90.

Utilizing the Community of Inquiry Survey to Inform Student Satisfaction and Sense of Belonging in a Community College Environment

K. Page Moore, Blue Ridge Community and Technical College

R. Craig Miller, Blue Ridge Community and Technical College

Sebastian Diaz, Northeast Ohio Medical University

The abrupt shift in higher education following the COVID-19 pandemic restricted course offerings to distance education modalities, limiting learning and socialization to online environments. This study utilized the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework to investigate student experiences in a rural community college. The mixed-methods survey, containing 34 CoI items and questions introduced by the researchers, was administered to 196 humanities and social sciences courses during 2022, yielding (n=457) responses. The data revealed several distinct findings. Teaching Presence, Cognitive Presence, and Social Presence are associated with course satisfaction, with Teaching Presence as the largest predictor. Additionally, Teaching Presence and Social Presence are significant predictors of institutional-level sense of belonging. Furthermore, Teaching Presence and Cognitive Presence are significant predictors of course-level sense of belonging. Finally, Teaching Presence is the common thread between course satisfaction and sense of belonging.

Keywords: community college; student satisfaction; belonging; student isolation; instructional technology; community of inquiry (CoI)

Moore, K. P., Miller, R. C., & Diaz, S. (2023). Utilizing the community of inquiry survey to inform student satisfaction and sense of belonging in a community college environment. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 30(1), 91-108.

Using a Stereotype Threat Intervention to Improve Placement Test Scores at a Community College

Robert Hammond, Camden Community College

Michael Sparrow, New Jersey City University

Christine Harrington, New Jersey City University

John Melendez, New Jersey City University

Students of color are disproportionally placed into developmental education courses, especially when a high-stakes assessment, such as a placement test, is used for placement decisions. Stereotype threat has impacted performance on high-stakes assessments. Despite the extensive research on stereotype threat in many high-stakes assessments, this is the first study, to our knowledge, that assesses the effectiveness of a stereotype threat intervention with the college placement test. In this quasi-experimental study, we compared the placement test scores of community college students who received a brief, five-minute stereotype threat intervention to the placement test scores of community college students who did not receive the intervention. Results indicated that the intervention had a significant positive impact on placement scores for Black, White, male, female, and traditional-aged (aged 18–24) students. The only significant finding for essay scores was for male students, whose scores went up when exposed to the intervention. Practice recommendations are provided.

Keywords: stereotype threat; placement test; students of color; developmental education

Hammond, R., Sparrow, M., Harrington, C., & Melendez, J. (2023). Using a stereotype threat intervention to improve placement test scores at a community college. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 30(1), 109-128.

Gifted Black Homeschooled Students: The Potential Recruiting Windfall for Community Colleges

Mark Fincher, Mississippi State University – Meridian

Ksenia S. Zhbanova, Mississippi State University – Meridian

Black students are underrepresented among those identified as gifted and talented in grades K-12. This imbalance extends into collegiate honors programs. Community college efforts to recruit a diverse cohort of gifted freshmen are hindered by a lack of identified Black gifted and talented high schoolers. This lack of identification, participation, and availability of gifted programs in public schools encourages guardians of gifted Black students to homeschool their children. For community colleges, homeschooling families represent a potential treasure trove of gifted Black high school students ready to enter college. As more students are educated outside of the public K-12 system, reaching these students will become an increasingly critical part of college and university recruiting efforts. This trend is likely to intensify over time. This practice brief explores how widespread homeschooling is within the Black gifted and talented student population and provides actionable best practices for identifying and recruiting these students.

Keywords: gifted; talented; African American; homeschool; best practices; honors

Fincher, M., & Zhbanova, K. S. (2023). Gifted Black homeschooled students: The potential recruiting windfall for community colleges. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 30(1), 131-142.