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Community Colleges Are Innovators. A New Effort Aims to Share Their Insights.

Community Colleges Are Innovators. A New Effort Aims to Share Their Insights.


Rebecca Koenig
May 17, 2021
With millions of students and a variety of programs that range from quick certificate courses to full bachelor’s degree pathways, community colleges have a lot going on. Yet all this teaching and learning isn’t always as well recognized or as thoroughly studied as the work taking place at four-year institutions.
To encourage more scholars to pay attention to open-access colleges, several advocates and experts created The Community College Practice-Research-Policy Exchange. The effort seeks to solicit ideas from the faculty and administrators who run community colleges day to day, convey those insights to higher ed researchers, and then deliver their analyses back to educators.
Starting with members of the National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges, the exchange plans to ask “what research do you think would be most helpful to you as campus leaders?” explains Lawrence Nespoli, co-founder of the effort and a retired president of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges. “We’ll take that in the aggregate and deliver it to people who study it at community colleges around the country.”
That may include research about programs that meet the needs of student parents; the benefits and challenges of using open educational resources; or the outcomes of using virtual reality to prepare students for jobs.
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