If you could wave a magical wand and instantly change one thing about your community college, what would it be? Would you increase or decrease the course options? Create a maker space? Hire additional guidance counselors? Partner with more local industries? In Redesigning America's Community Colleges: A Clearer Path to Student Success, the authors argue that to increase student completion, our nation's community colleges must go through a fundamental redesign. Below are two changes this book recommends:
Take a more directive approach and offer fewer options. Students would then be able to better discern what they need to do and have a higher likelihood to complete their programs. As discussed in this Inside Higher Ed article, "Getting the options down to a manageable number makes the act of choosing much less intimidating."
Increase the amount of human connections that actually matter for community college students. This does not come at an inexpensive cost. This book recognizes that oftentimes colleges are faced with the blessings and challenges that grant funding brings. They are wonderful for helping a program get started, but probably will run out after a few years resulting in budget cuts or a scramble to find extra money.
Are you interested in hearing more about what this book suggests? We are happy to have one of the authors, Shanna Jaggars Smith, joining us at our upcoming annual conference. If you can't make it to the conference, make sure to follow along on social media with the #NACCE2015.