Tag Archives: community college

Social Involvement as a Retention Model

16 Jan

Students-Gospel-Choir

By:  The Curious Counselor

As an educator and student services professional, the recent onslaught of violence against African-American youth, particularly males, has created a quandary of sorts as we begin another academic year. I find it immensely important to critically examine the retention and persistence policies in community colleges as a solution to the harsh perceptions toward African American youth that has been ingrained in our country’s social fabric.

A number of researchers have developed theses and respective practices for promoting retention, persistence, and ultimately, student success. One of the most compelling and poignant ideas floating around the educational advising blogosphere is social involvement behaviors as a construct built into first-year student programming. Vince Tinto, a leading educational researcher, broadly defines social involvement behaviors as: relationships with staff; building peer relationships; personal experiences; using campus facilities; and extracurricular activities.

So…what should a successful first-year experience look like for African American students? Prestigious universities like University of California, Los Angeles and Fayetteville State University in North Carolina offer the Freshman Summer Program (FSP) and the Freshman Year Initiative (FYI) respectively. At both universities, students are provided comprehensive, student success driven programming which involve academic and personal support services tailored to individual student needs. Students are provided remedial math and writing services, peer advisors, and targeted course scheduling/patterns. Additionally, students are exposed to the campus environment in a way that promotes connections to the staff, faculty, current students, and surrounding communities.

These programs could be easily replicated to fit the demographics and environmental norms at community colleges across the country. Whether newly matriculating from high school, returning from combat, or retraining for vocational/career advancement, a strong first-year experience for new students is an integral facet of higher education programming. Hopefully this inspires other educational professionals to begin to develop and aim for social involvement as a key methodology in student engagement.

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California Community Colleges’ Smooth Pathway to HBCUs

20 Mar

HBCU PhotoIt has been a hard and long road to ensuring that students have a smooth transition from community colleges to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  In 2008, led by Dr. Yasmin Delahoussaye,  previous president of Southwest College and former vice chancellor of the Los Angeles Community Colleges District, and under the guise of the African American Outreach Initiative (AAOI), created 9 articulation agreements for the following HBCUs: Albany State University, Clark Atlanta University, Fort Valley State University, Hampton University, Howard University, Morehouse College, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University, Paine College, and Savannah State University.

More recently, Helen Young, Transfer Center and Honors Director at West Los Angeles Community College was part of the committee of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office that worked over the past 18 months to form state-wide articulation agreements to form a pioneering Historically Black Colleges and Universities Transfer Admission Guarantee Program with the following 9 HBCUs:

Because of this hard work, students will now have two pathways to these HBCUs.  They can either complete :

  1. Thirty (30) CSU/UC (Cal State University/University of California) transferable units with a minimum 2.5 GPA
  2. An ADT (associate degree for transfer) degree with min. 2.5 GPA  (IGETC/CSU GE Breadth Certification) 

Because these agreements are intended for all 112 California Community Colleges (CCCs), they have been kept simple to ensure easy pathways for students. These agreements do not replace any specific articulation agreements (course-to-course or program) that a CCC might have with a HBCU currently.  Both Young and Delahoussaye who attended the signing ceremony in Sacramento, discussed the need to work on updating LACCD’s HBCU articulation agreements.   The AAOI has already begun working on that undertaking scheduled for this spring.

For more information, visit the California Community Colleges website here:  http://extranet.cccco.edu/HBCUTransfer.aspx.  You can download a flyer here:  http://extranet.cccco.edu/Portals/1/SSSP/HBCUTransfers/HBCU_Handout.pdf.  Also, go to extranet.cccco.edu/HBCUTransfer/Resources.aspx for information and instructions on how to download buttons and promote this new agreement to students on your website.Download this document about effectiveness of HBCUs on student success: http://www.usccr.gov/pubs/HBCU_webversion2.pdf.

BFSA Members Featured in Aspirations to Achievement Men of Color Video

24 Jun

BFSA members, Dr. Marcia Wilson, Director of Workforce Development Programs and Grants and Elton Robinson, Department Chair of Cosmetology–both from Los Angeles Trade Technical College–are featured in Achieving the Dream’s “Aspirations to Achievement:   Men of Color and Community College” video, which brings together data about the engagement and attainment of Latinos and Black males in community colleges.

The video highlights the voices of students and faculty, drawn from focus groups conducted in six Achieving the Dream colleges–Austin Community College (TX), Tarrant County College (TX), Los Angeles Southwest College (CA), Los Angeles Trade Technical College (CA), Lansing Community College (MI), and Jackson Community College (MI)–as well as other institutions at the Phi Theta Kappa convention. Emerging from the multi-year project are urgent questions that must be addressed in every community college committed to equity in outcomes across diverse student groups. Perspectives vary on the answers to these questions.  View the video below noting Marcia Wilson at minute 17:01 and Elton Robinson at 18:14.


Conceived as an initiative in 2004 by Lumina Foundation and seven founding partner organizations, Achieving the Dream leads a comprehensive non-governmental reform movement for student success in higher education history. Together with their network of over 200 institutions of higher education, 100 coaches and advisors, 15 state policy teams, and numerous investors and partners working throughout 34 states and the District of Columbia, they are helping nearly 4 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.

Source:  http://achievingthedream.org/news/13019/aspirations-to-achievement-men-of-color-in-community-colleges-plenary