CCRC and the Chicago Civic Consulting Alliance are engaged in an action research and capacity-building project with City Colleges of Chicago (CCC). Recently, CCC has undertaken a major "reinvention" initiative to dramatically increase completion and transfer rates, a central component of which is a "guided pathways" curricular model for the system's more than 115,000 students. With this initiative, CCC places itself in the forefront of a national movement aimed at improving student learning and success by building more clearly defined, educationally coherent program pathways. CCRC's two-year applied research project has three strands, each designed to answer questions facing CCC and other colleges and universities that are implementing the guided pathways approach. CCRC will:
- Chart and analyze student progression into and through program pathways. This will help to guide and accelerate ongoing efforts by colleges to build strong program pathways for students.
- Better understand student program pathway decisions. This will be useful in efforts to improve advising and create more effective messaging that will help students make better choices.
- Measure program labor market returns and net benefits. This will allow CCC to document the economic returns of its programs to students and their families and to Chicago taxpayers. It will also allow CCRC to estimate how these returns can be enhanced by CCC's reinvention efforts.
The project will produce recommendations to City Colleges leadership, reports for the field, and a CCRC practitioner guide on strategies for more effectively guiding community college program decisions.