The Mixed Methods Blog

Perspectives from our researchers, highlights from recent studies, and other news about CCRC

CCRC in 2021: A Year in Review

2021: A Year in Review in CCRC's blue color palette

Much like last year, 2021 ushered in more than its fair share of challenges and obstacles, forcing community colleges and their students to lean on their resiliency and strength time and time again. CCRC researchers continued to examine the pandemic’s impact on colleges and students, launch new work, and engage with policymakers and practitioners about our research and its applications. Read on to learn more about some of these highlights and more.

CCRC Continues Focus on COVID-19

The pandemic remained top of mind for community colleges across the country. As community colleges ended their second COVID-affected school year and embarked on their third, CCRC documented enrollment drops, students’ post-college trajectories, and developmental education reform during this difficult time. We also described how community college students’ experiences during the pandemic reveal inequities in higher education.

Center experts also continued to provide support and important context to journalists covering COVID-19 and community colleges. CCRCers were quoted in local and national outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, PBS NewsHour, and The Wall Street Journal.

Center Marks 25th Anniversary

When CCRC opened its doors in 1996, little was known about the community college sector, and two-year institutions were rarely discussed in conversations about higher education. That is no longer the case, due in no small part to the work of CCRC and other researchers. Director Tom Brock and Director Emeritus and Teachers College President Tom Bailey sat down in September to discuss CCRC’s evolution and consider what’s on the horizon for the center. We also chronicled highlights from the last 25 years in the latest iteration of the CCRC biennial report.

IES Awards Grant to Study Inequities in Online Learning in College

In June, the Institute of Education Sciences awarded CCRC, SRI Education, and Achieving the Dream $10 million to launch a new Research and Development (R&D) Center focused on how educational technology and instructional strategies can improve students’ self-directed learning skills. The Postsecondary Teaching with Technology Collaborative will also engage in helping colleges and universities strengthen instructional quality in online courses in ways that support students and promote educational equity.

Guided Pathways Summer Institute Unites Rural Colleges

CCRC’s summer institute on guided pathways brought together 22 teams from 27 rural colleges to jumpstart their efforts to undertake whole-college reform. The two-week program focused on using data to help rural colleges build on their institutional strengths and overcome their unique challenges in adopting the guided pathways framework. Participating colleges left the institute with new data-driven insights, a communication and engagement strategy to make the case for sustainable reform, and a plan to drive their work forward.

A second guided pathways institute is planned for summer 2022 and applications are due February 8. Related workshop materials for colleges focus on onboarding redesign and CCRC’s Ask-Connect-Inspire-Plan (ACIP) framework.

Fact Sheet Series Focuses on Federal Policy

CCRC published a pair of policy briefs on workforce training and guided pathways, along with a series of fact sheets, geared toward informing federal policymakers, advocates, and others on issues that affect community colleges and their students. The fact sheets cover topics including community college transfer, student debt, and developmental education, highlighting key research findings important for the crafting of effective policy, particularly at the federal level.

And in October, Tom Bailey and Tom Brock wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post explaining how lawmakers can still support community college students, despite the free college provision not making the final House version of the Build Back Better bill.

First PEAR Cohort Begins at TC

The first Postsecondary Education and Applied Research (PEAR) fellows began at CCRC and Teachers College in the fall. This group of doctoral students is taking coursework in advanced quantitative methods and participating in research apprenticeships to prepare for careers in applied postsecondary education research. The second and third cohorts will begin their studies in fall 2022 and 2023.

CCRC Publishes Popular Reports

CCRC released 20 reports, papers, articles, and briefs in 2021. Some highlights from the year include publications on:

We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season, and we look forward to sharing more research with you in the new year!

CCRC’s Guided Pathways Summer Institute: Insights ...
What Will Work Look Like for Community College Gra...