New ACE Paper Finds Faculty Members Key to Student Success at Community Colleges
September 30, 2019

To make a substantial difference in student persistence and completion, community colleges must involve those people on campus who have the most frequent contact with students: the faculty.

ACE's newly published paper, “Enabling Faculty-Led Student Success at Community Colleges," explores how faculty can use data to identify specific challenges and barriers to success for students in their own departments or disciplines.

“Situating this work at the departmental level is vitally important, as it allows colleges to employ a many-small-fires approach to student success, each one targeted to specific populations in specific corners of the college. One solution might make a difference in five students' lives, another in 1,500," writes the paper's author Carrie B. Kisker, an education research and policy consultant and a director at the Center for the Study of Community Colleges. “Collectively and over time, they will fuel student success in a sustainable manner."

She says college leaders can enable this work by creating and reinforcing a culture of data-derived student success efforts at the departmental level. Kisker suggests that if faculty are able to harness student outcomes data within their own departments, it is easier to understand any equity gaps that exist and how to close them.

The paper's other key takeaways include:

  • Over the long term, integrate faculty-led student success efforts into existing “service" requirements so they can become part of the faculty's everyday responsibilities.
  • Allow faculty to publicize their findings at all-college meetings; celebrate successes both within and across departments; and frequently report to the campus and outside communities.
  • Create forums for faculty to discuss what they have learned about student success barriers in their departments, what they plan to do about it, and what outcomes they have achieved.
  • Consider offering release time or stipends for faculty who are spearheading investigations into and/or finding solutions for student success barriers.

Click here to read the full paper.