The Way Forward: Community Colleges Overcoming Obstacles to Help Underprivileged Students Shine

By Roach, Ronald | Diverse Issues in Higher Education, July 4, 2013 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

The Way Forward: Community Colleges Overcoming Obstacles to Help Underprivileged Students Shine


Roach, Ronald, Diverse Issues in Higher Education


As a veteran administrator at A Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College, Dr. Nathaniel Cruz has high hopes for the school's newly-launched Student Success Coaches Unit (SSCU) program. This past school year, the South Bronx-based community college assigned each of the 1,560 first-year students to an individual coach to advise him or her through the duration of the student's enrollment.

Cruz, Hostos' vice president for student development and enrollment management, says the initiative, which will cost between $2 million and $3 million to fully implement by the end of the 2014-15 academic year, will result in every Hostos student assigned a student success coach. As many as 30 full-time employees will serve as coaches, and each coach will be responsible for up to 250 students, explains Cruz.

The meetings, during which students sit down with their coaches, are intended to "address the students' interests, grades, goals and attributes" and "also include interventions to overcome academic challenges or to help the students find ways to maximize their learning experiences," says Dr. Felix Matos Rodriguez, president of Hostos Community College.

Ambitious efforts, such as the Hostos SSCU program, are increasingly being implemented at community colleges to help students improve their educational experiences, increase their chances of graduating with two-year degrees and help them transfer to four-year institutions. However, though 81 percent of students nationally who enter community college for the first time say they eventually want to transfer and earn at least a bachelor's degree, only 12 percent do so within six years.

As an institution serving a largely low-income and predominantly minority student population, Hostos represents a segment of two-year schools that has come under special attention in a widely-publicized national report on improving community colleges. The report, Bridging the Higher Education Divide: Strengthening Community Colleges and Restoring the American Dream, produced by the Century Foundation Task Force on Preventing Community Colleges from Becoming Separate and Unequal, calls attention to a "growing economic and racial stratification" in U.S. higher education.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"The increasing economic and racial stratification of colleges and universities is troubling because largely separate educational systems for mostly rich and White students, and for mostly poor and minority students, are rarely equal," according to the report.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

With community colleges on one side of the divide and four-year nonprofit colleges and universities on the other, the report calls for increased funding of community colleges and for policies that reduce the racial and economic stratification between two- and four-year institutions.

Performing at a high level

Many community college leaders at schools like Hostos have been hard at work demonstrating that, despite struggles with diminished resources to educate poor and largely underrepresented minority students, they can perform at a high level and help their students achieve academic success.

"I think you've got some shining examples of institutions that have large numbers of minority students that are doing well," says Dr. Walter Bumphus, president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges. "Leadership makes such a difference when you have challenges. [Overcoming obstacles is] what you're finding our enlightened leaders doing."

Century Foundation task force members cite Dr. Eduardo Padron, president of Miami Dade College and a task force co-chair, as a highly successful community college leader who is guiding an institution with more than 70 percent Latino student enrollment. With an enrollment of 166,000 in 2011-12, Miami Dade College has eight campuses and is one of the largest higher education institutions in the U.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

The Way Forward: Community Colleges Overcoming Obstacles to Help Underprivileged Students Shine
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?