Guttman Community College will take part in a study on
The chancellor’s office allocated $3 million for
an outreach campaign designed to expand the
number of students pursuing ADTs, particularly
those in historically underrepresented groups,
which included enhancements to the website
ADegree WithAGuarantee.com. The chancellor’s
office would like to continue boosting marketing
funds while examining how to solve the dilemma
that many S TEM disciplines have high unit requirements, which has made it challenging for two-year
colleges to meet the legislation’s 60-unit cap.
Raul Arambula, dean of intersegmental support
for the community college system, adds that the
marketing campaign has encompassed broadcast advertisements and websites, and that one
of the main communication challenges has been
explaining the difference between a regular
associate degree and the ADTs.
“It’s a huge benefit for the students,” he says.
“As long as you finish these guidelines, you don’t
have to worry about whether you’re going to get in
[to CSU]. It will be the same thing with the private
colleges, as long as we create those MOUs.” He adds
that admission is not guaranteed to a specific CSU
campus, nor are scholarships part of the program.
To date, Arambula says, students who receive
ADTs are performing better overall than students
who begin at CSU as freshmen, although the data are
incomplete, in terms of graduation rates and GPAs.
From the Cal State perspective, “The intent was to
reduce repetition of courses that traditionally may
have happened, and to be able to make sure that
students had taken the right sequence of courses
toward the associate degree,” says Karen Simpson-Alisca, associate director of undergraduate transfer
CUNY GRANT TO STUDY ‘LEAKS’ IN TRANSFER
The City University of New York will examine ways to diminish “leaks”
in its community college to bachelor’s degree transfer pipeline among
humanities students, thanks to a $550,000 grant from the Andrew W.
As low as the nationwide figures are for community college students
who receive a bachelor’s degree within six years, at CUNY the figures are
even more stark: about 11 percent. And most studies to date on how to
smoothly transfer to a four-year institution have focused on STEM majors,
which prompted CUNY to focus on the humanities side.
The first year of the three-year grant will focus on Guttman Community
College before widening to look at all seven CUNY two-year schools. Chet
Jordan, assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies at Guttman,
says the campus was founded for the expressed purpose of increasing
completion rates across the CUNY system; among other features, there
are no remedial, noncredit courses offered.
“There had never been a system-wide push to maneuver mass reform,”
he says. “Guttman was designed to be an incubator for radical possibilities
in community college education.” As a small school, he adds, “We can spend
time building relationships with students and understanding how their
desires are going to influence their educational pathways.”
The study will examine student demographic and socioeconomic data
and conduct surveys and focus groups to explore why students choose
humanities and why some steer away, as well as what kinds of resources
students need to make more informed decisions, Jordan says.
CUNY believes that many students either fall away prior to completing
their two-year degree or experience “transfer shock” because the
university does not provide enough supports, he adds.
“Community colleges have done a fantastic job of bringing in supports
like learning communities and block scheduling,” Jordon says. “But that
doesn’t materialize in the four-year system. It’s quite a jump, socially and
academically … It requires that the community college actively prepare
them, but we also need to make sure that four-year students adjust, ensure
they get proper advising and that they’re not lost in the process.”
The top major at CUNY’s community colleges is liberal arts and
sciences, likely because students are advised that’s the best transfer
major and foundation for a four-year school, Jordan says. “It also
houses disciplines that are an introduction to humanities,” he says. “But
the liberal arts community college major doesn’t transfer directly into
a specific major at the four-year level. We’re trying to understand how
we’re preparing students for discrete majors, like English or history. Is it
setting them up to make an informed decision into a pathway?”
The other plus in creating smooth pathways is that students are
less likely to run out of financial aid dollars before they finish, Jordan
says. “That forces them out,” he says. “They’ve earned excess credits
and spent time in classes they don’t need. We need to make sure the
pathways are smooth.”