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The Community College Research Center Hosts a Worksgroup Series

The Community College Research Center (CCRC), which was created in 1996 with a three-year grant from the Alfred E. Sloan Foundation, is holding a monthly workgroup made up TC faculty and scholars from a wide range of institutions in the metropolitan area.

The workgroup provides an informal atmosphere to discuss on-going research on the role of community colleges and to help answer questions on important issues confronting community colleges.

The CCRC is housed in the Institute on Education and the Economy and its purpose is to frame critical questions concerning the fundamental purposes, problems, and performance of community colleges and to strengthen scholarly research on the future of these important institutions.

Directed by Professor Thomas Bailey, the CCRC carries on a tradition at Teachers College, which was instrumental in shaping community college administration.

In the mid-March workgroup, Carolyn Griswold, New York University professor of higher education, discussed her ongoing research on "Community Colleges and Baccalaureate Attainment."

Griswold said that while "Community colleges have contributed much to U.S. society and students," they have not been able to meet an important goal--"ensuring access to students wanting to eventually complete a bachelor's program."

According to Griswold, "Troubling evidence has consistently indicated that attendance at a community college is negatively associated with baccalaureate attainment."

Professor Griswold added that the "background and educational experiences" directly impacts on whether a community college student goes on to receive the baccalaureate. "There continues to be an attainment gap," she said, for those community college students who attend "open admission, low tuition institutions."

"However," she concluded, "it is important to emphasize that our results suggest that academic attainment might best be encouraged by attending to the economic and other disadvantages facing many students in their high school and college experiences, and by considering the needs of all institutions serving these students--whether they offer two-year or four-year degree programs."

On April 7 the CCRC workgroup will participate in a national teleconference and local town meeting entitled, "Policy and Promise: Community Colleges and Technology," sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The teleconference will focus on the present and future use of information technology by community colleges to fulfill the promise of expanding educational opportunity throughout the country. You can find more information about the event on the Web at http://www.ed.gov/offices/OVAE/CCLO/Promise/.

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