Teaching and Learning

August 2022
In 2012, the developmental reading faculty at Moraine Valley Community College (MVCC) began to take an honest look at their students’ grades. This introspection followed key changes in department leadership and faculty membership. The initial analyses uncovered three pertinent facts: (1) developmental reading faculty were not passing as many students as they thought they were; (2) students in the lowest level of reading were not persisting into credited courses; and (3) there was severe grade compression among the passing grades (i.e., most of the assigned grades were Cs with very few As...
August 2022
The Saginaw Academy for Excellence was created through a collaborative vision of leaders from Delta College and the Saginaw Public School District (SPSD). Dr. Michael Gavin, Delta College President, and Dr. Ramont Roberts, SPSD Superintendent, led their respective teams in designing a dual enrollment program for high school juniors and seniors which will provide students the opportunity to earn up to 30 credits toward an associate degree in two years. The goals of the Saginaw Academy of Excellence are to Provide a seamless route from high school to higher education at no cost to students or...
July 2022
Community colleges across the U.S. report declining enrollment due to the pandemic, changing demographics, and temporary assessment policy changes (California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office, 2021; National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 2021). In addition, 2019 data gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics (2021) showed that the percentage of students aged 22 or older, or adult learners, is increasing.  A variety of factors can explain the decline in student enrollment during the pandemic. The increase in technical requirements and digital literacy skills...
July 2022
In January 2018, 14 local school district superintendents and Jackson College’s (JC) President and CEO, Dr. Daniel J. Phelan, initiated the launch of Jackson County Early College (JCEC), designed to offer students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and an associate degree, certification, or up to 60 college credits. This article highlights the program’s successes since its first students walked through the doors in fall 2018. Cost Effectiveness Since the inception of JCEC, JC has reduced tuition and fees for early college students in a variety of ways. The college capped digital...
June 2022
Congratulations to the 2021-2022 Innovation of the Year Award-winning innovations and associated team members from 32 participating League Board and Alliance member colleges! The League initiated the Innovation of the Year award over 35 years ago to recognize local community college projects and initiatives that reflect the spirit of innovation and experimentation on which our organization was founded. The competition provides an opportunity for colleges to showcase their innovative programs, practices, policies, partnerships, and resources; to celebrate the dedicated educators who are...
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June 2022
Mesa Community College (MCC) and the Family Involvement Center (FIC) are collaborating to offer the Parent Peer Support Social Work Scholarship Stipend Program, an innovative program bolstering support for families overcoming past adversity and crisis while building careers in the profession of social work. Specifically, FIC and the MCC Social Work programs are piloting an education, training, and career pathway for parents with opioid/substance use disorder (OUD/SUD) and lived experience having a child involved with the Department of Child Safety (DCS). The social work stipend program was...
June 2022
Postsecondary institutions have long been expected to provide a quality education that entails both breadth and depth of knowledge and skills related to multiple aspects of life, such as workforce preparedness and the formation of well-informed citizens. In his 1852 book, The Idea of a University, Cardinal John Henry Newman wrote that higher education should encourage “the power of viewing many things at once as one whole, of referring them severally to their true place in the universal system, of understanding their respective values, and determining their mutual dependence” (Newman, 2008, p...
May 2022
Accessibility as a cultural and societal responsibility has been gaining momentum, but perhaps by most standards, not fast enough. Twenty-two percent of Canadians 15 years of age or older have at least one disability (Statistics Canada, 2018). Among persons with disabilities, 60 percent report having a mental health-related disability (Statistics Canada, 2018). Persons with mental health and learning disabilities comprise the two largest groups of students who employ Accessible Learning services at Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. Historically, postsecondary...
May 2022
Community colleges are uniquely situated to address the nation’s need for a highly innovative, adaptable, and skilled workforce. At the federal and state levels, funding is available for design and delivery of workforce-building programs combining academic excellence, technical training, and practical experience. Santa Fe College (SF) in Gainesville, Florida, has received a state grant to create a STEM-focused charter high school. The charter school will provide students with the tools needed to be successful in the 21st century workforce. SF’s vision is to ensure that each charter school...
April 2022
On February 3, 2021, I participated in a California panel discussion hosted by the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University that addressed the cost benefits of adopting a guided pathways model. The discussion focused on two CCRC reports: The Economics of Guided Pathways: Cost, Funding, and Value (Belfield, 2020) and Funding Guided Pathways: A Guide for Community College Leaders (Jenkins et al., 2020). Based on my experience as President of Bakersfield College (BC), I assert that both reports can be extremely useful for administrators responsible for budgets, best...
April 2022
Mesa Community College (MCC) launched its second Z Degree program, an Associate in Arts with an emphasis in communication, beginning in the spring 2022 semester. The college’s first Z Degree, an Arizona General Education Curriculum certificate and general associate’s degree, was introduced in 2019. A Z Degree is offered completely online with zero textbook costs, saving students time and money. “The Z Degree offers students greater flexibility, enabling them to take classes that fit their schedule. We built this program for the students who want flexibility, less distraction, and less cost...
March 2022
For over 100 years, the community college has been evolving as one of the most effective institutions of higher education in addressing the social and economic needs of the nation. During the 1950s and 1960s, there was general agreement that the community college was a comprehensive college designed to serve the multiple needs of a diverse student body through a variety of programs, including developmental, transfer, vocational, general, and community education. In the past few decades, that purpose has been changing as the developmental, general, and community education programs have been...
February 2022
Calhoun Community College and Drake State Community & Technical College officials have developed a partnership that will not only address learning obstacles for adult learners, but job training needs as well. Greater Opportunities for Adult Learners (GOAL) is a free program designed specifically for individuals who do not have a high school diploma and want to become more employable. Individuals who enroll in the program have access to educational resources focused on improving their reading, math, and language skills to obtain a GED, learn English as a second language, and/or earn a...
January 2022
Students are drawn to the arts through their desire to create, perform, express, and interact with other people. In March 2020, the give and take, central to creating art, was gone. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many students in the visual and performing arts to create in boxes on computer screens with spotty picture resolutions and sound distortions, depending on Internet speed, the weather, devices, and countless other factors. Kirkwood Community College, like numerous other institutions, scrambled to figure out how to get art materials, microphones, speakers, and Internet access to students...
November 2021
In the December 2020 issue of Innovation Showcase, Diane Janes and Lorraine Carter (2020a) described educational institutions’ pivot to “remote operations, quarantine, and technology-enabled strategies for working and learning” in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic (para. 1). In particular, the article described how Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) ensured the techno-resiliency of instructors. In response to the shift to fully online teaching and learning, the Centre for Academic Development and Innovation (CADI) created several initiatives, including the Teaching Online at...
November 2021
This summer, dozens of middle school students in Pittsburgh, including those from underserved communities, discovered that science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is fun, that it’s ok to be smart, and that education can offer a path to a brighter future. Through a partnership with Verizon and the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) hosted the Verizon Innovation Learning STEM enrichment program. The initiative is part of Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental, and...
October 2021
Johnson County Community College (JCCC) has partnered with Butler Community College (BCC) to offer expanded training in culinary arts. This opportunity allows JCCC to extend the benefits of its Chef Apprenticeship program to more Kansas students. In turn, the collaboration strengthens state and local workforce opportunities. Through this agreement, BCC is offering two additional certificates to students in South Central Kansas. The new certificate options use existing BCC culinary courses with the addition of practicum courses from JCCC. Along with invaluable industry training, students in...
September 2021
At Mesa Community College’s Thunderbird Tech Studio, students can receive one-on-one guidance and tutoring for using and mastering technology that supports their academic learning. The Tech Studio team provides support for common college-supported technology tools such as Windows and Mac operating systems, Microsoft Office, Google Drive Suite, Canvas, and other systems. The beauty of the Thunderbird Tech Studio design is that it will morph into an in-person service once the pandemic subsides, thus allowing students to choose when, where, and how they receive technology tutoring and assistance...
July 2021
For decades, Jackson College (JC) has been a U.S. leader in providing higher education access and opportunity to incarcerated students. The town of Jackson, Michigan, has long been known as a “prison city,” and three large correctional facilities are located less than 15 miles from JC’s Central Campus. In 1967, the college offered its first class “inside the walls.” In 1969-1970, a pilot prison education program for the Southern Michigan Prison was launched to provide qualifying inmates an opportunity to further their education. Jackson Community College (as it was then called) was one of 26...
June 2021
Congratulations to the 2020-2021 Innovation of the Year Award recipients from 32 participating League Board and Alliance member colleges. The League initiated the Innovation of the Year award over thirty-five years ago to recognize local community college projects and initiatives that reflect the spirit of innovation and experimentation on which our organization was founded. The competition provides an opportunity for colleges to showcase their innovative programs, practices, policies, partnerships, and resources; to celebrate the dedicated educators who are responsible for such exceptional...
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