Teachers College, Columbia University

Hechinger Institute Fellow Recognized for Community College Series

NEW YORK, NY (March 6, 2009) — Matt Krupnick, a reporter for the Contra Costa (Cal.) Times, received a special citation from the Education Writers Association in its 2008 National Awards for a series of articles on the challenges faced by California’s 2.6 million student community college system. Krupnick was among 15 participants chosen from more than 50 applicants for the first year of the Hechinger Institute’s Community College Fellowship program. The Institute is now accepting applicants for the third year of the program.

Krupnick’s series examined the academic difficulties community college students have, along with the obstacles they face when transferring to four-year-schools. The series is online at http://www.contracostatimes.com/communitycolleges.

“We are delighted that the Education Writers Association recognized this terrific project,” said Richard Lee Colvin, director of the Hechinger Institute. “We hope more journalists will be inspired to examine the rich and important stories on community college campuses, especially in these tough economic times.”

Krupnick came to the Teachers College campus in October 2007 as part of a weeklong residency aimed at encouraging journalists to learn more about community colleges, an area often ignored by the press. The week includes visits to community colleges and briefings from the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, as well as panels of national experts and community college presidents. Fellows receive a $7,500 stipend and go on to produce an ambitious reporting project on community colleges for their outlet.

“Before the Hechinger fellowship, I had only a vague idea about the roles community colleges play in the higher-education system,’’ Krupnick said. “The program really opened my eyes to the challenges faced by these schools and to the possible solutions to those problems."

Other journalists in the program have produced opinion pieces about minority enrollment in Texas, investigated a community college scholarship program in New Jersey, and produced a multimedia package on how tribal colleges in Montana are recording their histories. A full list of projects resulting from the Hechinger Institute’s fellowship program is available at http://hechinger.tc.columbia.edu/default.aspx?pageid=775

Applications for the third year of the Community College Fellowship are being accepted until April 30, 2009 at http://hechinger.tc.columbia.edu/default.aspx?pageid=773. The Institute welcomes questions about the program at Hechinger@tc.edu.

Support for the fellowship comes from the Lumina Foundation for Education, an Indianapolis-based foundation that aims to help individuals achieve their potential by expanding access and success in education beyond high school. Support for the fellowship also comes from The William and Flora Hewlitt Foundation in California.

The Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, named for former New York Times education editor Fred Hechinger, is part of Teachers College, Columbia University. Its mission is to promote fair, accurate and insightful coverage of education.