With generous support from the Lumina Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) was developed in 2001 as a tool that community and technical colleges could use to systematically collect important information about experiences. education of their students.
Dr John E. Roueche, former director of the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin and current executive director of the Kansas State University Community College Leadership Program, said, “We were proud of the good work that has [the National Survey of Student Engagement] was doing with four-year institutions. Others began to think that we should do the same for community and technical colleges. What happens in an open-house college matters in terms of student success and graduation rates. ”
Dr Kay McClenney, founding director of the CCCSE; Senior Consultant to the President and CEO, American Association of Community Colleges; and senior fellow, National Center for Inquiry & Improvement, says, “We have sought to promote transparency, accountability and institutional improvement, and serve as a spotlight on the ground to identify educational issues facing community colleges. – those they already face and those who are coming to them – so that we can shed light on effective educational practices in a way that was not previously available to colleges.
The National Advisory Council (NAC) has been a major contributor to the growth of the CCCSE. From the very beginning, the NAB has provided guidance on the issues community colleges face when addressing student success. Dr. Dan Phelan, President of Jackson College and current Chairman of the CCCSE Board of Directors, says, “We come together with purpose and passion. We think about student engagement and helping students succeed. The board of directors is committed to this work.
Colleges across the country are also engaged in the work. The data collected from the CCCSE survey instruments has become something that many institutions depend on when creating strategic plans and working on improvement efforts. Dr Sunita “Sunny” Cooke, President of MiraCosta College, explains, “It is only by truly listening to students that we can truly be sure that what we intend to do and what our students are actually experiencing. are aligned. ”
Focus group work
In order to illustrate the “why” behind the “what” of the data and to remind colleges that the survey results represent real voices, CCCSE hosted focus groups with countless students, faculty and staff at the Center. over the past two decades. During a myriad of hours of focus group sequences, college participants across the country consistently spoke about several themes around engagement and success. Over the next few months, CCCSE will be sharing curated playlists that illustrate these themes:
● Engagement doesn’t happen by accident, but by design
● Students do not do optional
● Students don’t know what they don’t know
● What happens when expectations meet reality
● Relationships matter
● Active and engaged learning is important
● High expectations matter
● Student support services matter
● Having a plan is important
● Equity issues
Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at Syracuse University and a member of the NAB CCCSE, Dr Vincent Tinto says one of his favorite CCCSE focus group video clips is of a student who said the first day of his first class in college the professor told him that he was expecting her to get an A. And after that the student said he expected to get an A in every class he he followed and that he planned to fight for those A’s. After some thought, Tinto said, “His powerful statement reminds us that no one meets low expectations and why it is important for community colleges to wait and promote the excellence for all students, not just some. ”
Vice President of Development at Temple College and Executive Director of Temple College Foundation and former Executive Director of CCCSE, Dr Evelyn Waiwaiole says one of his favorite CCCSE music videos is of a student explaining how successful Students is the responsibility of everyone on the college campus “from the time you enter the parking lot to the person who is your financial aid advisor to your instructor. Waiwaiole continued,” He named all of these different people. didn’t even know he was talking about engagement.
What’s next for the CCCSE
While the CCCSE remains committed to providing colleges with important information about student engagement, it is also committed to evolving and growing to better support its partners who are fighting the good fight at institutions across the country.
One of the ways the CCCSE has expanded its offering on the ground is by producing national reports focused on topical issues of interest – most recently, a publication on the impact of COVID-19.
For several years, CCCSE has also been a strong advocate and partner of the Guided Pathways movement, assisting colleges across the country on their journey towards institutional transformation.
In 2020, the CCCSE recognized that it would be remiss if it did not offer colleges a stand-alone tool to collect vital information about their students’ experiences of racism, inclusion and belonging on their campuses. and in their communities – so with expert guidance, CCCSE staff developed such a tool. Dr Michael Baston, President of Rockland Community College, said: “You can’t talk about inclusive excellence if you don’t include people in a constructive dialogue – whether they are professors, staff members. or students who help us build bridges with each other. . ”
Throughout fall 2021 and spring 2022, CCCSE will host a series of longitudinal focus groups, designed to increase national persistence data from quarter to quarter and to help the field understand why more of students do not succeed.
The CCCSE team feels so fortunate to have been able to share the student experience and make positive changes in community colleges across the country over the past 20 years, and they plan to continue to do so as the organization is entering its third decade.
Dr Linda L. García is Executive Director, Dr Courtney Adkins is Assistant Director of Publications, and Dr Coral Noonan-Terry is Special Projects Program Manager at the Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE). The mission of the CCCSE is to provide “aha” moments on the student experience. Follow the CCCSE on Twitter: @CommCollSurveys.
Follow the CCCSE over the next year as it celebrates its anniversary.
The Roueche Center Forum is co-edited by Drs. John E. Roueche and Margaretta B. Mathis from the John E. Roueche Center for Community College Leadership, Department of Educational Leadership, College of Education, Kansas State University.
This article originally appeared in the September 16, 2021 edition of Divers. Read it here.