ACE convened a working group of prominent community college scholars and leaders at its offices in Washington, DC, on Monday, leading to an enlightening and robust discussion of innovative strategies aimed at improving student access and completion.
Leading the discussion was Jonathan Turk, associate director of ACE’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy (CPRS), whose opening remarks centered on research focusing on community college student persistence and completion, closing equity gaps, and community college leadership.
“ACE is committed to promoting policies and practices that support student access and success,” Turk said. “One aspect of this commitment is ensuring the success of students who enroll at one of the nation’s community colleges. This convening was a chance to bring together a diverse group of experts to help us better translate current community college student success research to practice.”
The convening’s keynote speaker was Diane Auer Jones, the U.S. Department of Education’s principal deputy under secretary, delegated to perform the duties of under secretary and assistant secretary for postsecondary education. As part of her remarks, Jones expressed her support and encouragement for innovative modalities focused on closing the student achievement gap and addressing the needs of adult learners. The attendees spent the day in working groups brainstorming strategies to increase completion rates as well as identifying directions for future research.
The Convening on Community College Student Success and Completion was sponsored by Hobsons, a leader in education technology. CPRS, along with Hobsons, has recently produced a series of research briefs exploring outcomes for recent high school graduates who begin their postsecondary education in a community college, several of which were referenced at Monday’s event.
Three of the four briefs are completed and can be found below. The fourth brief is anticipated to be released in the fall of 2018 and will focus on community college student economic outcomes and the non-economic benefits of earning an associate degree.
“We are extremely optimistic that the ideas and strategies raised at this meeting will provide much-needed guidance to ACE as we explore ways to better serve community college leaders through action-oriented research,” said Turk.