The Role of Community Colleges in Improving Bachelor's Degree Completion

Tuesday 2:30pm - 3:30pm Norway 2

Valerie Sundby, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
Travis Kibota, Clark College
Melissa Haswell, Delta College
Kevin Asman, Mott Community College

Community colleges are playing an increasing role in, and thus have a growing focus on, bachelor's degree attainment. Nationally, community colleges serve more than a third of all undergraduate students. Nearly half of all students who complete a bachelor's degree have previously enrolled in a community college. Additionally, the students served by open-access community colleges are some of the most diverse in the nation – they tend to be older and more racially diverse than their university student peers. They are also more likely to be parents and to work while attending school. This session will highlight initiatives currently underway at community colleges to increase bachelor's degree completion in two states, Washington and Michigan, with a specific focus on the change process and partnerships necessary for successful implementation. Presenters will draw on representative examples of initiatives in STEM areas of study.

Workshop presenters represent two varying models of education. In Washington, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges represents the thirty-four public community and technical colleges of the state and serves as a liaison with K-12 and university partners that make up the full landscape of education in Washington State. In Michigan, the community colleges are loosely affiliated, but do not have a coordinating board leading statewide work. The challenges of implementing change process within these two types of systems will be explored using examples of initiatives focused on increasing bachelor's degree attainment. Presenters will highlight how each initiative required the engagement of faculty, staff, administrators, students, and community members from across the education system. They will also share learning about how initial implementation required substantial change leadership, as does the ongoing work that assures these efforts are sustained in a relevant fashion over time.

Presentation Media

Presentation slides