Job Market Returns for Community College Remain High

The labor market returns for associate degrees remained strong throughout the recession, according to newly released research from the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE). Students who earned a two-year degree, or who transferred and completed a bachelor's degree, earned more and were less likely to be unemployed than were their peers who failed to graduate or transfer, according to the research.

The study was based on students who enrolled in North Carolina community colleges in 2002. It drew data from the National Student Clearinghouse as well as unemployment insurance wage data. Students in some disciplines fared better than others, particularly ones who earned credentials in health care.

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Accreditor looking into '7 Habits' course at Alamo Colleges

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Accreditor responds to Alamo Colleges professors' concerns about a new core curriculum course inspired by The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Transfer Degrees Catch on in California

California's community colleges and campuses in the California State University System both have made progress in encouraging the use of a two-year degree aimed at transfer, according to a new report from the Public Policy Institute of California. About half the state's community colleges now offer 10 or more versions of the transfer degree, the report found. And Cal State campuses have made "significant progress" in increasing the number of transfer degrees they accept in similar majors.

Challenges remain, however. The report said capacity constraints at Cal State may limit the degrees' promise. It also found that the lack of participation by the University of California means that the transfer degrees are not as much of a "statewide" pathway as intended by the ambitious legislation that led to their creation.

More work also needs to be done at two-year colleges, according to the report. Awareness among community colleges students about the degrees remains limited.

Last year California passed a bill to nudge community colleges and Cal State campuses to comply with the legislation's timeframe, which required all of the new transfer degree tracks to be completed this year.

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Connecticut Considers Reforms in Remedial Ed Law

Some Connecticut legislators are considering changes in the state's controversial new law on remedial education, The New Haven Register reported. The law makes it very difficult for colleges to offer remedial education; instead they are supposed to provide extra academic support to students in need of remediation while they take standard college courses. But many students and college officials have raised doubts about the new system, prompting some lawmakers to consider changes.

Essay on applying for faculty jobs at community colleges

Candidates need a different approach from what they may have learned in graduate school, writes Mark Connelly.

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Study on Minority Men at Community Colleges

Men of color attending community colleges are less likely to obtain an associate degree than are white males, despite being the most engaged in and out of the classroom, a new report finds. In "Aspirations to Achievement: Men of Color and Community Colleges," the Center for Community College Student Engagement reveals that even though black and Latino students at two-year institutions show more interest than their white peers in obtaining an associate degree or certificate, only 5 percent actually accomplish that goal within three years, compared to 32 percent for white students.

One of the reasons the gap might exist, the authors of the report say, is because of what they call stereotype threat. That’s the “fear of fulfilling a negative stereotype,” and it can be triggered unintentionally. That fear can affect a student’s performance in the classroom. Recommendations to help close the gap, they say, start with institutions first acknowledging the issue, because not enough of them are looking at how systemic disparities can affect a student of color’s educational experience. The report offers tools for leaders at these colleges to conduct focus groups, and questions to help guide campus-based and community-based discussions on issues such as aspiration, achievement and equity.

“Grappling with these disparities is a task for virtually every community college,” said Kay McClenney, the director of Center for Community College Student Engagement, in a press release. “Campus conversations and actions must address at least three factors: substantially different levels of college readiness across racial and ethnic groups, the demonstrated effects of stereotype threat on performance in higher education, and continuing impacts of structural racism evident in systems throughout American society,” she said.

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Judge Backs CUNY on Transfer Program

A state judge has backed the City University of New York on a challenge by its faculty union to the controversial "Pathways" program to align the curriculum to ease transfer from CUNY's two-year to four-year colleges. The Professional Staff Congress, the union, challenged the system's legal authority to institute a major academic change, arguing that faculty members needed to play more of a role. A state judge found this argument "devoid of merit."  The faculty union is vowing to appeal the judge's decision, and is also urging the New York City Council to intervene in the dispute.


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Economic Impact of Community Colleges

America's community colleges and their students generated $809 billion of income in 2012, which was 5.4 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, according to a report by the American Association of Community Colleges released this week. That figure includes the higher wages students earned that year, the increased output of business that employed the students and related multiplier effects. The report also found that students earn $4.80 in higher future wages for every $1 they invest in their community college education.

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Effort to Build Adults' Skills Called a 'Team Sport'

It will take significant cooperation among state and federal policy makers, traditional educational institutions and others to improve American adults' work force and literacy skills, the American Council on Education argues in a new report. The report examines data released last year as part of Survey of Adult Skills from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which showed U.S. adults lagging behind those in many other countries on literacy and numeracy, and asserts that colleges and others will need to adopt new approaches to change that picture. "Raising the literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving skills proficiency for adults in the United States will be a team sport, with policy and education leaders working together across federal, state, and institutional boundaries," it says.

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Luna Community College Eases Nepotism Rules

The board of Luna Community College, in New Mexico, has voted to ease the institution's nepotism rules so that board members' relatives may be hired, The Las Vegas Optic reported. Board members said that the policy was preventing qualified people from being hired. Under the new rules, the president must report to the board members on the hiring of any trustee relatives.


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