The American Honors (AH) program, which operates within participating community colleges, focuses on helping high-achieving, low-income students prepare for and transfer to selective four-year universities. This session presented preliminary research on the program’s operations and effectiveness within six community colleges.
The session presented preliminary results from the first year of the researchers' three-year evaluation, which includes both a quantitative and qualitative component. The first wave of quantitative analysis focuses on students who graduated from one of the six community colleges’ service areas in 2013 or 2014, and compares between similar students in three different groups (those who entered the AH program at their local community college, who entered the same community college but not the AH program, and who directly entered a four-year college) in terms of their college persistence and two-year graduation/transfer outcomes. The qualitative analysis is based on site visits to all six colleges during the spring and fall of 2016; this preliminary analysis of the data discussed how the program supports students in terms of transfer decision-making and planning. After researchers presented the key findings, Dr. Farakish (former Dean of American Honors at Union County College) led an audience discussion, answering questions about how the program works “on the ground,” and how lessons from the program could be applied to community colleges who do not operate an AH program.