A new report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that 6.1 percent of students who earned bachelor's degrees in 2009-10 later enrolled at a two-year college, down from 6.5 percent in 2008-9. That decrease might be due to the economy's partial recovery, according to the center, a nonprofit group that collects data on 94 percent of college students. The pattern is most common among graduates of public institutions, according to the data.
Students at two-year institutions display "astounding variation" in their patterns of enrollment, according to a new study by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University's Teachers College. The research, which tracked more than 14,000 students at five community colleges over 18 semesters, showed that students often switch back and forth between full- and part-time status. They also regularly spent time away from being enrolled. Continuous enrollment was particularly linked to earning an associate degree, according to the research, while full-time enrollment was associated with transfer to four-year institutions.
The California Federation of Teachers and other employee unions have filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education over the actions of a regional accreditor, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. The unions had previously lodged their concerns directly with the commission, which accredits California's two-year colleges and is an arm of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. They alleged that the accreditor had acted improperly in slapping a severe sanction on City College of San Francisco -- which faces possible closure -- as well as in its oversight of other community colleges. The commission last week rejected those claims, saying it has followed procedures. So the unions this week asked the Education Department to force the commission to respond more fully to the complaint.
A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday says that Lone Star College's system for electing its Board of Trustees discriminates against minority citizens, The Houston Chronicle reported. Lone Star has at-large elections where the entire community college district's area is used to elect all board members for the community college system. The suit argues that no Hispanic trustees and very few black trustees have ever been elected, even though 30 percent of the district population is Latino and 16 percent is black. Subdividing the system district into areas would probably result in a more diverse board, the suit says. Lone Star officials said that they had not been formally served with papers, and could not comment on the suit.
Tenure-track faculty members at the City University of New York have voted overwhelmingly that they have no confidence in Pathways, a controversial curricular shift in the CUNY system designed to make it easier for students at its community colleges to transfer to four-year colleges and in two additional years earn bachelor's degrees. More than 60 percent of eligible voters participated in the no confidence vote, and 92 percent of those voted no confidence. While the goal of smooth transfer from community colleges to four-year colleges is one that is generally endorsed by faculty members and administrators alike, many professors have spoken out against the way this is being done. Some have complained about specific changes in requirements, while others have questioned whether too much control of curricular matters has shifted away from department and college faculties. "It should be clear now, if it was not before, that CUNY should not move forward with Pathways. A 92 percent vote of no confidence is a mandate for change," said a statement issued Saturday by Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress, the faculty union, which organized the vote.
CUNY officials have defended Pathways as a needed reform to help more students earn bachelor's degrees. The system maintains a webpage with information about the program here.
While a number of adjunct leaders at CUNY have spoken out against Pathways, some have also criticized the vote of no confidence for excluding their participation.
The agency that accredits California's two-year colleges says that its review of the process it followed in evaluating City College of San Francisco found no irregularities, rebuffing allegations made last month in a complaint filed last month by several employee unions. The massive complaint filed by the unions made a wide range of charges against the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, including that the review of CCSF by the two-year arm of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges was tainted by conflicts of interest and in violation of state and federal laws. The report said the review by the commission's executive committee found the complaint to be "without merit." A spokesman for the California Federation of Teachers called the accreditor's report a "non-response" that was "completely predictable," and said the union was weighing its next steps.