The Mixed Methods Blog

Perspectives from our researchers, highlights from recent studies, and other news about CCRC

Year in Review: A Look Back at CCRC in 2023

Banner that reads: 2023: A Year in Review

Over the course of the past year, CCRC has released important study findings, developed new equity-focused projects, and worked hard to make our research more accessible to educators and policymakers. And with the addition of a third cohort of research fellows funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), CCRC’s staff has also grown. Before we ring in the new year, here’s a look back at some highlights from 2023.

CCRC Presents at U.S Department of Education Convening to Improve Transfer

As part of its Raise the Bar: Attaining College Excellence and Equity initiative, the U.S. Department of Education hosted a summit of higher education leaders in November with the goal of improving transfer and saving students time and money on their path to a bachelor’s degree. Among the 200 higher education leaders invited to the summit were CCRC’s John Fink and Tatiana Velasco, who both presented on state-level transfer outcomes as well as ways to measure institutional transfer performance. In addition to presenting, Fink and Velasco facilitated group discussions on ways attendees could improve transfer policies and outcomes at their institutions.

CCRC’s research proved integral to the conversation.

“Multiple leaders of the Department of Education referenced findings from CCRC’s ongoing research on transfer as evidence of the disproportionately low transfer outcomes among low-income students and students of color,” Velasco said.

Ascendium Awards CCRC a Major Grant

Ascendium Education Group awarded $7 million to CCRC in support of five projects that will allow the center to build on current research, expand into new areas, and share knowledge with the field. The projects include an investigation of corequisite remediation in City University of New York colleges, a study of how students choose programs of study, an examination of policy and practice reforms to support English language learners, and more.

“This grant gives us an unusual amount of flexibility to pursue important questions and carry out a suite of projects that are priorities for us and for the field,” said CCRC Director Thomas Brock. “It will also enable us to ‘connect the dots’ between projects. We deeply appreciate Ascendium’s generous investment in CCRC and in knowledge building for community colleges.”

Higher Education Leaders Join Advisory Board

Three new members joined CCRC’s National Advisory Board, bringing fresh perspectives to the 12-member body and bolstering the center’s connections with community college educators and other leaders in the field.

Erica Lee Orians, vice president of the Michigan Community College Association and executive director of the Michigan Center for Student Success; Yolanda Watson Spiva, president of Complete College America; and Lynda Villanueva, president of Lee College in Texas were welcomed to the board in January.

The ARCC Network Gains Momentum

The ARCC Network, led by CCRC, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, and Wheelhouse: The Center for Community College Leadership and Research, is an IES-funded network that brings together educators and researchers to work on pandemic recovery in community colleges. In January, we launched the ARCC Network website, which houses all ARCC projects, publications, blog posts, and more.

In February, CCRC hosted the first in-person ARCC Convening at Teachers College, Columbia University, in New York City. Over the course of two days, researchers from the three lead institutions and six project teams built a deeper understanding of the network’s projects, developed strategies to strengthen cross-team collaboration, and examined the latest national data on community college enrollment trends and subgroups most affected by the pandemic.

CCRC Researchers Dive Deeper Into Dual Enrollment

This year, CCRC released major reports on dual enrollment, a topic of growing interest among high school and postsecondary educators as well as policymakers for its potential to improve access to and success in higher education for underrepresented groups.

CCRC researchers introduced a framework for dual enrollment reform dubbed dual enrollment equity pathways (DEEP), which draws on years of research as well as new findings from fieldwork at strong community college–K-12 dual enrollment partnerships. In this emerging approach to dual enrollment, community colleges partner with middle and high schools to motivate and prepare underserved students to pursue a postsecondary degree in a field of interest directly after high school.

CAPR Releases Results of Long-Term Study of Multiple Measures Assessment

Findings from a long-term follow-up study in State University New York (SUNY) community colleges released this year suggest that multiple measures assessment (MMA), an alternative to relying on test scores to determine course placements for students, could improve student outcomes. The randomized controlled trial by the Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness (CAPR), which CCRC leads with MDRC, found that program group students who were “bumped up” into college-level math and English courses were much more likely to enroll in and complete a college-level course than similar students randomly assigned to the business-as-usual group.

Based on the study, the authors encouraged colleges to expand access to college-level courses by giving students the highest placement possible. They also advocated for coupling MMA with other reforms, such as corequisite support courses, to provide greater access to college-level coursework and improve long-term outcomes.

Webinars Fill the Fall

As part of an initiative to make our research more accessible to the field, CCRC hosted three webinars over the course of the fall semester: one that shared the latest data-informed recommendations for implementing guided pathways, another that wove together multiple strands of CAPR research on the latest developmental education reforms, and a third introducing the DEEP framework. Each webinar featured college leaders equipped with first-hand experience implementing innovations, providing valuable insight for researchers and practitioners alike.

Longtime CCRC Researchers Retire

After over fifty years of combined service, Elizabeth Barnett and Jim Jacobs officially retired this year. We extend a warm thank you to these two accomplished researchers, whose invaluable contributions to the field have advanced goals for improved educational equity and social mobility. Congratulations!

CCRC Applauds 2023 Graduates

In May, four CCRC researchers graduated with advanced degrees:

  • Selena Cho earned an MA in Education Policy from Teachers College
  • Aurely Garcia Tulloch earned an MA in Organization and Leadership from Teachers College
  • Daniel Sparks earned a PhD in Economics and Education from Teachers College
  • Ellen Wasserman earned an EdD in Community College Leadership from New Jersey City College

Cho, Garcia, and Wasserman continue their research at CCRC, while Sparks is completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.

Congratulations to this year’s graduates!

Teachers College Welcomes Third Cohort of PEAR Fellows

The Postsecondary Education Applied Research (PEAR) Fellowship trains PhD students at Teachers College in applied research. PEAR fellows pursue research interests relevant to postsecondary education, including career/technical and adult education, and work with CCRC researchers and others. This year, we welcomed the program’s third cohort, including Thea Dowrich, Pascale Mevs, Mindy Rosengarten, and Victor Sanchez. We look forward to seeing their contributions to the field!

On behalf of all of us at CCRC, we wish you a happy holiday season, and we look forward to connecting with you in the new year!

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