Student Affairs

Evidence-Based Best Practices for Enhancing Student Retention at Community Colleges

Duration: 1 hour
Facilitator: Dr. Aaron Hughey
Price: $108.00

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“Community colleges are intended to be gateways to careers or to four-year colleges offering bachelor’s degrees. Unfortunately, they have very low graduation rates. Just 20 percent of full-time students seeking a degree get one within three years. That number rises to 35 percent after five years, but by then another 45 percent have given up completely and are no longer enrolled. With graduation rates that low, community colleges can be dead ends rather than gateways for students.” – The New York Times

Join your colleagues from across the country as we explore best practices in promoting retention to graduation for community college students -- and learn how strategies that work can be customized and adapted to your own campus. This will be an interactive webinar where you will learn current, evidence-based best practices associated with enhancing community college student persistence to graduation.

We'll explore successful programs and initiatives in student persistence to graduation, as well as concrete recommendations as to how these services and activities can be successfully implemented in a variety of higher education environments. The emphasis will be on the unique role of student affairs professionals in enhancing retention-to-graduation in the community college environment. Equal attention will be given to helping both institutions as well as individual students achieve their mutually-complementary objective: graduation.

Brief outline: 

  1. Community Colleges: An Overview
  2. The Problem
  3. The Populations
    1. Millennials and Beyond
    2. ‘At-risk’ Students
    3. Adult Students
    4. Veteran Students
    5. International students
  4. Students with Disabilities
  5. The Community College Culture
  6. Economics and Business Models
  7. Strategies and Interventions
    1. Before They Arrive
    2. After They Arrive
  8. The Big Four
    1. Academic Preparation
    2. Social Integration
    3. Institutional Support
    4. Creative Financing
  9. Summary and Conclusion

Learning outcomes: 

Participants in the webinar will learn:

  1. Why graduation is increasingly important for community colleges, the students they serve, and society at large.
  2. The various factors that contribute to community college student persistence to graduation (including academic preparation, social integration, institutional support, and financial considerations).
  3. What can be done prior to community college students' arrival on campus that will increase their probability of persistence to graduation, and how that should complement and reinforce what is done once they are on campus.
  4. How to identify potentially 'at-risk' community college students and how to effectively intervene with these students in an integrated and effective manner.
  5. Strategies that work – and those that don’t – with specific community college student populations.
  6. Methods that develop and foster institutional support for community college persistence initiatives, including how to enhance faculty support and participation in persistence to graduation initiatives.
  7. Ways to include parents in supporting their community college student toward a college degree and why this is especially critical to the current generation of college students.
  8. How to develop a comprehensive community college student retention plan that puts everyone at the institution on the same page with respect to their retention efforts.

Who should attend:

Everyone who works with community college students (especially student affairs professionals), including those who work in

  • All Areas of Student Services/Affairs
  • Enrollment Management
  • Admissions and Recruitment
  • Academic Advising and Retention
  • Career Services
  • Student Financial Assistance
  • Faculty

Presenter biography:

Aaron W. Hughey is a professor and program coordinator in the Department of Counseling and Student Affairs at Western Kentucky University. He supervises the master’s degree program in student affairs in higher education as well as graduate certificate programs in international student services and career services. He was head of the department for five years before returning to the faculty in 2008. Before joining the faculty in 1991, he was the associate director of university housing; he also served as interim director of WKU’s Knicely Institute for Economic Development where he coordinated outreach (training and development) services to business and industry.  He has degrees from the University of Tennessee at Martin, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Western Kentucky University, and Northern Illinois University. He has authored (or co-authored) over 60 refereed publications on subjects including higher education administration, student affairs, counseling and testing, diversity, leadership, teams, and management. College student recruitment, retention to graduation, and job placement are his specialties.

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