Belk Center Conducts Research Study on the Strategic Plans of Community Colleges in North Carolina
The Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research works with North Carolina’s community colleges and leaders to improve student success. To measure progress, it is critical to first capture a snapshot of activities that guide current practices, policies, and procedures at each of the North Carolina community colleges.
Research Brief by Dr. Sarah A. Deal on College and Career Promise Leading to Transfer Outcomes
This research brief by Dr. Sarah A. Deal is the second of a series that addresses the relationship between North Carolina’s dual enrollment program, Career and College Promise (CCP), and community college attainment in the state. The purpose of this study is to understand participation trends for one of the two pathways within CCP - the College Transfer Pathway.
Research Brief by Ashley Swing, Ed.D. on Low-Income Transfer Students: Paths to Bachelor’s Degree Completion
Ashley Swing, Ed.D, Graduate of the Adult and Community College Education Ed.D. Program, developed a research brief based on her dissertation about the experiences of low-income students, defined as those who received a federal Pell grant, who successfully transferred from a North Carolina community college to a University of North Carolina System university.
Our research efforts to institute systemic change centers on a transition from the more traditional approaches – which are often jargon-laden and slow to reach decision-makers — to modes of scholarship that are timely, accessible and digestible. The research we conduct addresses community college practitioner needs and provides actionable data that leaders can use to make informed improvements at their institutions. Further, the broader practice-focused research agenda we develop dovetails with continuous institutional improvement efforts at North Carolina community colleges. Our current body of research focuses on key areas:
Finish Line Grants
In September 2019, we co-hosted the Finish Line Grants Symposium program. The support the implementation of a program is designed to provide emergency aid to community college students facing financial challenges.
We examine NC Community Colleges’ processes for using the CARES Act student emergency funds. Current reports:
We conduct research exploring the types of international education programs and experiences happening at community colleges. Current reports:
Transfer is vital to ensuring the state of North Carolina meets in the statewide attainment goal to increase the number of North Carolinians with credentials. Our research is focused on the experiences and outcomes of students earning credits at North Carolina community colleges and how those credits are transfer into 4-year institutions. We look a policies such as Career and College Promise, a policy that allows high schools students to earn credit while in high school as well as the impact of articulation agreements, such as the comprehensive articulation agreement.
Along with our research we are also supporting Transfer Working Groups made up of representatives from the NCCCS, UNC System, the Transfer Advisory Committee, and other key stakeholders around transfer in the state to improve the experience of transfer for students. The groups met for the first time in fall of 2020 and will be sharing more details about their priorities in the upcoming months.
Briefs & Reports:
- The Role of North Carolina’s Comprehensive Articulation Agreement in Transfer Efficiency (October 2020)
- Baccalaureate Degree Completion in North Carolina: Through a Dual Enrollment Pathway (October 2020)
- The Relationship Between Participation in Career and College Promise and Community College Attainment (December 2020)
- College and Career Promise Leading to Transfer Outcomes: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis(December 2020)
Understanding Who Studies Abroad at Community Colleges
Belk Center Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Melissa Whatley, Ph.D., shares the findings of a survey administered by the North Carolina Community College System Office during the 2019-2020 academic year to explore how NC community colleges “develop a globally and multi-culturally competent workforce” (NCCCS, 2020).
Postsecondary Participation in SkillsUSA
Dr. Laura G. Maldonado, Lead Research Associate with the Belk Center, has developed a research brief about her qualitative case study which explored how participation in SkillsUSA, a career and technical student organization (CTSO), influenced community college students’ preparedness for the workforce and connection to campus.
How do community colleges improve student outcomes? Department chair communication with faculty plays an important role.
This study explored the ways department chairs communicated with faculty during key moments of change in two colleges that have seen improvements in student retention and completion.