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Journal of Applied Research in Community Colleges


“Why Do I Have to Prove My Credentials to You?”: Women of Color Community College Faculty and Intersectional Aggressions

Rebecca Cepeda, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Scholarship demonstrates that Women of Color faculty experience interlocking systems of oppression within academia. While these research findings express alarming issues within higher-education spaces, this area of scholarship focuses explicitly on university contexts. Limited published research exists on the experiences of Women of Color community college faculty. The disdain for and inattention paid to community college systems illustrates the institutional hierarchy and exclusivity that higher education was built upon and still upholds. Using testimonios as a methodology and intersectionality as a theoretical framework, I explored Women of Color community college faculty’s experiences related to intersectional aggressions from colleagues and students. This study centered the voices of 10 Women of Color community college faculty from across U.S. institutions, disciplines, and social identities. Findings from this research recommend community college administrators listen to and protect Women of Color faculty members through institutional policies and practices.

Keywords: community college faculty; Women of Color; intersectional aggressions; intersectionality

Cepeda, R. (2024). “Why do I have to prove my credentials to you?”: Women of color community college faculty and intersectional aggressions. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 31(1), 3-17.

Embedded Tutors Support Community College English as Second Language Students

Marcela Reyes, Irvine Valley College
Joshua Dorman, Saddleback College
Loris Fagioli, Irvine Valley College

Community colleges throughout the country are serving an increasing number of English as a Second Language (ESL) students who want to complete a transfer-level English program to earn a certificate or degree or transfer to a university. Some colleges offer embedded tutors in the classroom to improve students’ success, but there is little causal evidence of the effectiveness of the program, particularly in ESL and transferlevel English courses. In this study, we used data from a community college in Southern California to estimate the effects of tutor usage on the probability of course success using a propensity score weight, a quasi-experimental method. The results indicate that students in ESL courses who utilized embedded tutors were more likely to successfully complete their ESL and transfer-level English courses.

Keywords: English as a Second Language; embedded tutors; community college

Reyes, M., Dorman, J., & Fagioli, L. (2024). Embedded tutors support community college English as Second Language students. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 31(1), 19-36.

Muslim Students and Their Sense of Belonging: How Islamophobia Shaped Their Overall Community College Experience

Dustin French, Moraine Valley Community College

Islamophobia continues to persist in higher education and impair institutional efforts to provide a welcoming and inclusive campus environment for Arab and Muslim students. In order for academic institutions to address this concern, it is vital that campus leaders, faculty, and staff understand the social, cultural, and educational experiences of their Arab and Muslim student population. This study explored the impact of Islamophobia on the college experiences of Muslim students and their sense of belonging on a community college campus. Phenomenology was used to deeply examine the lived experiences of the participants and how Islamophobia shaped their overall community college experience. The following themes emerged from the study: (a) Fear of Islamophobia, (b) Invisibility on Campus, (c) Feelings of Being Detached from and Ignored by Other Peers, and (d) Encountering Islamophobic Microaggressions. Recommendations were offered to strengthen the relationship between Muslim students and the campus environment.

Keywords: community college; Islamophobia; Muslim students; belongingness

French, D. (2023). Muslim students and their sense of belonging: How islamophobia shaped their overall community college experience. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 31(1), 37-51.

Student Interest in Research Roles: Barriers and Benefits

Lynne N. Kennette, Durham College
Amanda Cappon, Durham College

This article describes students’ perceived benefits and barriers related to participating in research as part of a research team (e.g., as research assistant) in a Canadian technical community college that offers primarily two- and three-year technical diplomas. An anonymous online survey was administered to students in an introductory psychology class at a technical community college. Students identified a number of barriers, including time constraints and lack of knowledge. They also identified the benefits that engaging in a research role might provide, particularly related to developing so-called soft skills that could help them secure employment in the future. This was a descriptive study, and it is the first of its kind to investigate students’ perceptions of benefits and barriers at a technical community college. Future research should attempt to apply these findings in a way that encourages student engagement in research roles in an equitable way.

Keywords: community college students; research; benefits; barriers

Kennette, L. N., & Cappon, A. (2024). Student interest in research roles: Barriers and benefits. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 31(1), 53-70.

Exploring the Summer Melt Phenomenon at CUNY Community Colleges

Shannon N. Lund, LaGuardia Community College
Masha Krsmanovic, University of Southern Mississippi

The term summer melt refers to the phenomenon in which students apply to college, are admitted, and then fail to matriculate, or melt away from the enrollment process, during the summer months following their high school graduation. The purpose of this study was to explore the knowledge and practices of admissions and recruitment officers at seven community colleges within the City University of New York (CUNY). The findings were obtained using qualitative phenomenological research and interviews with 21 participants. Results present unique insights into participants’ perceptions of the causes of the phenomenon and the strategies they employ, desire, or recommend to address this phenomenon. This research expanded scarce scholarly knowledge on summer melt and offers actionable recommendations for practice.

Keywords: summer melt; community colleges; CUNY; enrollment

Lund, S. N., & Krsmanovic, M. (2024). Exploring the summer melt phenomenon at CUNY community colleges. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 31(1), 71-83.

Employer Perspectives of Community College Career and Technical Education Programs

Thomas Gauthier, Florida State College at Jacksonville

Community colleges are the leaders in developing and facilitating career and technical education (CTE) and workforce development (WD) programs. This study utilized a focus group to explore employer perspectives of these programs. Using purposeful sampling techniques, seven employers from Palm Beach County, Florida, were recruited to participate. Three themes emerged from the data: soft skills, contemporary curricula, and authentic learning opportunities. Findings concern community college and industry engagement, lack of soft skills integration, and the need for more authentic learning opportunities, such as internships and work-based learning. Employers are interested in community colleges’ CTE and WD programs, and this should inspire educators to learn about and prepare students for employment holistically. While technical knowledge and application are essential, data revealed that soft skills, emotional intelligence, professional development, growth, and succession are equally important.

Keywords: postsecondary education; community college; workforce development; qualitative research

Gauthier, T. (2024). Employer perspectives of community college career and technical education programs. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 31(1), 85-100.

The Bolstering Effect of Psychological Capital on Community College Students

Kyle Gamache, Roger Williams University

Community colleges have an important mission: to serve the educational needs of the public. Unfortunately, community college students experience lower levels of academic success. Research into psychological capital (PsyCap) suggests that the construct may positively influence academics. This study explored the influence of PsyCap on academic achievement in community college students. A total of 209 students were recruited to participate in this study, and were given a series of scales related to PsyCap and intrapersonal factors, and then had their grade point average (GPA) at the end of the semester recorded. Mediation analysis was conducted on the data to investigate the effects of PsyCap on GPA. Evidence for a complete mediation effect between PsyCap and academic distress was discovered. This could suggest that PsyCap has a positive influence on GPA. The limitations and implications of this finding are discussed, and recommendations for practice and future research are offered.

Keywords: community college students; psychological capital; student success; academic distress

Gamache, K. (2024). The bolstering effect of psychological capital on community college students. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 31(1), 101-119.

Recruitment and Retention of Active Military and Veteran Students at Community Colleges

Christen H. Duhé, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College
Masha Krsmanovic, University of Southern Mississippi

The purpose of this study was to identify the strategies for improving access and recruitment practices for active military members and veterans at one of the largest community colleges in the southern United States. Participants in this study included community college employees who either have worked or currently work with active military and veteran students in some capacity. The results revealed that all participants were passionate about the active military and veteran student population and were invested in how their college could improve efforts to attract this student group and successfully orient them. Participants presented cost-effective and moderately straightforward recommendations for accomplishing these goals. This study portrayed the firsthand experience of these employees and their interactions with military and veteran students and discussed valuable observations to aid community colleges in efforts to increase enrollment and retention of this population.

Keywords: military and veteran students; recruitment; enrollment; retention

Duhé, C. H., & Krsmanovic, M. (2024). Recruitment and retention of active military and veteran students at community colleges.Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 31(1), 121-135.

Meditation and Community College Students’ Self-Efficacy, Sense of Belonging, and Coping

Melissa Krieger, Bergen Community College
Sarah Coppersmith, Maryville University

This mixed methods action research study examined the relationship between faculty-led meditation sessions and students’ perceptions of their self-efficacy, stress, and sense of belonging at one community college, via interdependence with a faculty member. This study used the Zajacova et al. survey, which is a 10-point Likert scale measurement of the factors studied. Quantitative data from 17 participants’ pre- and postsurveys revealed their perspectives. Pre- and poststudy means were evaluated. Qualitative data were collected through field notes, which were taken about responses to open-ended questions asked during postmeditation discussion sessions. Triangulation of the data supported the analysis of meditation, faculty–student interaction, and students’ perceptions of self-efficacy, self-awareness, and ability to cope with stress. Recommendations for community college leaders include development of faculty-led meditation sessions as extracurricular activities.

Keywords: meditation; stress; faculty-student interaction; self-efficacy

Krieger, M., Coppersmith, S. (2024). Meditation and community college students’ self-efficacy, sense of belonging, and coping. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 31(1), 137-156.

Leveraging Human Resources in Community Colleges: Strategies for Improving Institutional Performance

Mandel G. Samuels, University of Arkansas
Michael Miller, University of Arkansas
Jim Maddox, University of Arkansas

Community colleges are experiencing rapid change due to many factors, including changed perspectives about in-person education that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. One important change has to do with how degrees are designed and delivered, including the growing use of part-time faculty. This study explored how community college human resource offices work to recruit, retain, and serve their faculty and staff positions, with an emphasis on the retention of these employees. Using a research-team-developed survey instrument, the population of community college human resource officers in a Central and Southwest U.S. four-state area was studied. The results of the survey indicate that although senior institutional leaders frequently place a great deal of importance on the human resource functions of their institutions, these offices have diffuse ideas about how they spend their time and how they serve their employees.

Keywords: community college human resources; human resource development; faculty retention; staff retention; faculty recruitment; staff recruitment

Samuels, M. G., Miller, M., & Maddox, J. (2024). Leveraging human resources in community colleges: Strategies for improving institutional performance. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 31(1), 157-179.

Linking Street-Level Bureaucracy & Funds of Knowledge to Identify Core Competencies for Community College Admissions Counselors

Marquez D. Young, University of Dayton
Matthew A. Witenstein, University of Dayton

Community college (CC) admissions counselors (ACs) are essential employees who serve as ambassadors of the institution. Their role involves providing valuable information to potential students and their families, leading to CC admissions. However, there is a lack of research exploring their work and how they cope with and adapt to the demands of their job. ACs juggle college fairs, campus visits, and reviewing application materials, which can be physically and emotionally challenging. To maintain stable student enrollment, CC leaders must find ways to keep ACs engaged and motivated. This study identified core competencies needed for communally engaged ACs by examining the alignment between position descriptions and the expectations of community college recruitment to assist students in the college decision-making process. By improving position descriptions and policies, this research sought to enhance ACs’ ability to cope with and adapt to their work and reduce high turnover in CC admissions offices.

Keywords: community colleges; admissions counselor; funds of knowledge; street-level bureaucrats; core competencies

Young, M. D., & Witenstein, M. A. (2024). Linking street-level bureaucracy & funds of knowledge to identify core competencies for community college admissions counselors. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 31(1), 181-195.

Leveraging Faculty Learning Communities to Spark Entrepreneurial Mindsets Across Career and Technical Programs

Rosemary McBride, University of Wyoming
Anthony Perry, University of North Dakota
Bradley Kinsinger, Kirkwood Community College, Iowa

As career and technical education (CTE) evolves to meet shifting career demands, community colleges have recognized the imperative to foster creative problem-solving skills. However, most CTE curricula lack intentional entrepreneurial competency development. This analysis shows that faculty learning communities (FLCs) enable collaborative, contextualized innovation integrating entrepreneurship into CTE. Our guided cohort fostered strengthened self-efficacy to attempt classroom experiments tailoring entrepreneurship to local sectors. Ultimately, cross-disciplinary partnerships facilitate efficient expertise diffusion and essential implementation support. Recommendations equip leaders to recruit diverse peers, facilitate visioning sessions, encourage idea exchange, nourish localized efforts, and motivate sustained risk-taking.

Keywords: entrepreneurial teaching; faculty development; career and technical education (CTE); faculty learning communities (FLCs)

McBride, R., Perry A., & Kinsinger, B. (2024). Leveraging faculty learning communities to spark entrepreneurial mindsets across career and technical programs. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 31(1), 199-213.

Improving Dual Enrollment Equity by Rethinking Eligibility and Recruitment

Melinda J. Moos, University of Dayton

Although dual enrollment (DE) programs were originally created as a means of improving equity, the programs themselves prove problematic from an equity lens. DE programs could be vastly improved by rethinking student and teacher eligibility as well as recruitment strategies. Current eligibility routes are inequitable; student recruitment is likewise inequitable. Combining theories by Freire and Gandhi, school leaders can put theory into practice by introducing state-approved eligibility waivers and novel DE recruitment strategies. In this vein, Columbus State Community College is working with local high school teachers to create a new pathway for DE eligibility called Third Space. When combined with improved marketing techniques, this Third Space has the potential to improve equity for students by increasing student awareness of DE options and adding a new avenue for students to achieve DE eligibility.

Keywords: dual enrollment; equity; college access; guided pathways

Moos, M. J. (2024). Improving dual enrollment equity by rethinking eligibility and recruitment. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 31(1), 215-228.