Community College Showcase:
Are You Student Ready?

The 2020 Community College Showcase, hosted by the Ed.D. in Community College Leadership program, was held on Tuesday, July 28. It was a free and virtual event in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. More than 1500 people from across the country attended to participate in presentations, collaborate, and network.

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Program of Events

9:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. (EST)-  Networking Conversations

Teaching and Supporting Students in Online Environments

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Actions at Our Colleges

Connecting with Student Affairs Professionals

Connecting with Academic Affairs Professionals

10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. (EST) - Welcome and Morning Plenary

Becoming a Student Ready College: Shifting Mindsets and Challenging Norms

Location: Multipurpose Room

Tia McNair

Imagine if the national conversation on college readiness and student success engaged in a reframing of the question "Are students college-ready?" to “Are our postsecondary institutions student-ready?” Becoming a Student-Ready College provides a new perspective on designing and leading student success efforts by asking the more pragmatic question of what are colleges and universities doing to prepare for the students who are entering our institutions? How can educators ensure that all students, especially underserved students, are fully prepared for life, work, and productive global citizenship? What changes need to be made in an institution's policies, practices, partnerships, and culture to make excellence inclusive for ALL students? Through a discussion of key principles from Becoming a Student-Ready College, session participants will identify key steps for examining and for establishing equity goals to promote student engagement and success, and to improve student learning and persistence toward completion.

Dr. Tia Brown McNair is the Vice President in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success and Executive Director for the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) in Washington, DC. She oversees both funded projects and AAC&U’s continuing programs on equity, inclusive excellence, high-impact practices, and student success. McNair also directs AAC&U’s Summer Institutes on High-Impact Practices and Student Success, and Truth, Racial Healing, & Transformation Campus Centers. McNair serves as the project director for several AAC&U initiatives: "Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Centers," "Strengthening Guided Pathways and Career Success by Ensuring Students are Learning," and “Purposeful Pathways: Faculty Planning and Curricular Coherence.” McNair also oversees AAC&U’s yearly thematic Conferences. She is the lead author of the books From Equity Talk to Equity Walk: Expanding Practitioner Knowledge for Racial Justice in Higher Education (January 2020) and Becoming a Student-Ready College: A New Culture of Leadership for Student Success (July 2016).McNair earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and English at James Madison University and holds an M.A. in English from Radford University and a doctorate in higher education administration from George Washington University. 

11:40 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (EST) BREAKOUT SESSIONS ROOM

Community College Leader Panel
Demond Hargrove, Vice President for Student Development, Union County College, Chris Shults, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Planning, Borough of Manhattan Community College, Bette Simmons, Vice President of Student Development and Enrollment Management, County College of Morris, Michael Sparrow, Dean of Enrollment Management and Retention, Northampton Community College.

During this session, community college leaders will share examples of how their institutions are becoming student-ready and will respond to questions posed by audience members.


What Should Taylor Do? Students Building Self-Efficacy Through Vignette Analysis
Jennifer Martin, Associate Professor of English, Salem Community College

“What should I do if I am struggling to pass a course?” “Where can I get advice on changing my major?” As hard as we may try, it is impossible to prepare all first-year students on how to seek answers to the myriad of questions they will ask. First-generation students are especially unfamiliar with where to find support on their campuses, and academic jargon and titles like “student affairs” and “registrar” often add to their confusion. A powerful way to familiarize new students with success strategies is through vignette analysis. Vignettes of “typical” students with common problems are easy to develop, and students can build self-efficacy through seeking solutions for others.


Steering Community College Students Towards STEM Careers
Yoel Rodríguez, Professor, Anna Ivanova, Assistant Professor, Hostos Community College of CUNY

Teaching General Physics and Chemistry to community college students represents a particular challenge as they come unprepared for the rigors of the science courses. Thus, we have introduced games; hands-on STEM activities; technology to improve the student learning process of STEM concepts; writing as a vehicle to improve student’s writing skills while learning science; and peer leaders. Here we will share gaming as the activity we use as a tool to enhance not only student learning outcomes, but also to increase their engagement and identity in STEM. The participants will engage in games geared towards learning Chemistry and Physics.


Making Students Real World Ready
Joe Falco, Executive Director, Student Success, Christina Merriweather, Senior Advisor, Nursing, Health, Wellness & STEM, Rockland Community College

Our Making Students Real World Ready presentation is the quintessential showcase concurrent session, unearthing, unpacking, and detailing the neophyte tiered services advising Student Success model at RCC. Through interactive, open and honest dialogue, and enthusiastic discussion, attendees will learn new academic, career, and transfer advising approaches and strategies, centered around appreciative, developmental, holistic, and proactive advising. Under our new advising model, all students receive holistic, wraparound supports through engagement with advisors, personal counselors, health and human services community connections and resources, and access to the appropriate accommodations and support services. As such, students stay enrolled on a purposeful pathway, achieve their desired completion goals, and become real world ready.


Steps to Launching Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Your Institution
Lilisa Williams, Director of Faculty and Staff Development, Yeurys Pujols, Executive Director of North Hudson Campus, Hudson County Community College

There’s much discussion today surrounding the importance of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) within a community college, often due to the changing demographics happening across our cities. While research supports the importance of colleges being equitable and inclusive, for all students, and many believe DEI work is important, there remains a great opportunity to do more to reach all students. This workshop will discuss lessons learned, steps to creating a President’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, launching a campus climate survey, facilitating a discussion forum, and collecting data that can support DEI work at your institution.


Reframing Student Readiness: Ocean County College’s Accelerated Learning Model for English
Samantha Glassford, College Lecturer in English, Veronica Guevara-Lovgren, Assistant Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, Ocean County College

In this presentation, participants will learn the process of how the School of Arts and Humanities reframed student readiness for English courses to make informed decisions regarding the English Accelerated Learning Program. This process involves a variety of perspectives, including researching national trends, applying qualitative and quantitative data from OCC Institutional Research and student feedback, and engaging faculty in reflective practice. From multiple perspectives, this process serves to support a culture of continuous improvement in working towards equitable outcomes for OCC’s students.


Challenges of Community College Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century
Janet Michello, Associate Professor, LaGuardia Community College/CUNY

Community College instruction requires the use of varied instructional strategies that are inquiry-based and support higher-order thinking. This is especially critical for non-traditional students who are frequently employed and pursuing a college education simultaneously. What is proposed is using an inquiry-based instructional model based on John Dewey’s philosophy and his five-stage “cycle of learning;” through collaboration, students assume responsibility to actively construct knowledge. This presentation consists of pedagogical strategies to assist in the process of engaging a diverse and sometimes at-risk student body in assignments and material that spark their curiosity and promote questioning and understanding.


Being a Student-Ready Faculty Member

Christine Harrington, Associate Professor, New Jersey City University, Martine Howard, Chairperson and Faculty, Languages and Communications, Camden County College, and Jonathan Weisbrod, Associate Faculty, Mathematics, Rowan College of Burlington County

During this interactive session, we'll explore strategies that faculty can use to get to know their students, create welcoming learning environments for all students, and strategies to support student learning and success throughout the semester. Walk away inspired and ready for the diverse student body we serve!


Developing Institutional Recovery Capital to Create a Trauma-informed, Recovery-sensitive Environment at Community Colleges
Eric Scott Klein, Coordinator of the Collegiate Recovery Program/Counselor, Northampton Community College

Often people in recovery from substance use disorder find a new calling. In my case, it was the desire to help underrepresented people gain access to higher education. With the growth of a national criminal justice rehabilitation model, drug courts and alternative/non-punitive sentencing for non-violent offenders, more people in recovery can attend college. The trauma that may be co-occurring in the recovery process requires a nuanced, solutions-forward approach to serve this population. Educators can lead this new systemic shift by creating a trauma-informed, recovery-sensitive environment, while concurrently educating and engaging their campus community.


R.I.S.E. for Student Success: Campaign 67!
Latoya Bond, Assistant Professor of Counseling, Diane Brisbon, Assistant Professor of Counseling, Gail Chinn, Assistant Professor of Counseling, Fred Dukes III- Associate Professor of Counseling, Lynette Luckers, Associate Professor of Counseling, Community College of Philadelphia

A significant threat to campus retention is academic probation that ultimately can result in loss of financial aid. To address this ongoing concern, the Counselors at the Community of Philadelphia developed a campus-wide prevention/early intervention initiative, called Campaign 67. Campaign 67 is specially designed to target new and first-time probation students. Through group and individual counseling, students learn about academic policies and develop practical, solution-focused skills essential for academic success. This workshop will introduce Campaign 67, the importance of campus-wide collaboration, and how to develop a retention program focused on academic progress while supporting the Guided Pathways model.


A Community College's Journey to Promote Equity, Completion, and Student Success through Multiple Measures
Michele Campagna, Assistant Dean, Learning Initiatives & Student Success, Scott Purtorti, Testing & Assessment Coordinator, Westchester Community College, Jonathan Reyes, Senior Analyst in Institional Research, Westchester Community College

This session highlights the transformation Westchester Community College underwent as the college transitioned from largely using a traditional single-measure placement exam to the use of multiple measures in varying forms, including a placement formula and a waiver system.  Session presenters will provide an overview of multiple measures, explain the process by which these reforms were operationalized, the challenges they encountered along the way, and the strategies that were used to overcome them.  Additionally, the presenters will share data to demonstrate the impact of these changes on our student outcomes, which suggest promise for the institution. 


How the Imposter Syndrome Relates to Financial Insecurity Among Marginalized Students
Theresa Dereme, Assistant Dean of Students, Julie VanNostrand, Financial Aid Counselor Suffolk County Community College/SUNY

The presenters will examine what the Community College Students experience when they attempt to navigate through enrollment process and financial aid services. Case studies will be presented to demonstrate the experiences many first generation students share as they enter college. The Imposter Syndrome will be discussed and referenced as we attempt to prepare ourselves, as professionals, to welcome new students. We hope to better understand their complex histories. Many students, indeed even professionals from all walks of life, can experience the Imposter Syndrome. Are we ready to address this in our institutions?


Opportunities and Limitations of Community College Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Programs
Theresa Sullivan, Associate Professor - Office Management/Montgomery County Community College

This session will help participants identify how Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) can serve as a student success strategy that supports community college adult learners. Using a PLA Assessment Framework, participants will consider if and how well their own institutions are supporting students in their pursuit of PLA credits. Finally, we will examine opportunities for community colleges to better position their PLA programming to ensure that it is truly student-ready.


Is Your Campus Undocu/DACA Student Friendly?
Rachele Hall, Associate Director of Student Involvement, Westchester Community College

After President Trump took office in 2017 there has been a shift in immigration and the rights of those who applied, qualified and received deportation protection and work authorization under former President Obama’s executive order: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The information provided during the session will inform participants of resources and historical context to support students who are either undocumented or DACAmented on their college campuses.

BREAK 1:30-2:15 (EST)  
2:15 p.m. - 3:05 p.m. (EST) BREAKOUT SESSIONS ROOM

Improving Community College Students' Sense of Belonging with the SPISE Model of Culturally Responsive Teaching
Dawn Levy, Dorina Tila, Kingsborough Community College/CUNY

Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) creates deep and meaningful connections by relating course content to students’ lives. By structuring assignments so that students choose and develop topics to which they have a personal attachment, the SPISE Model of CRT respects the life experiences of diverse student bodies at community colleges. This presentation explains how the model is being utilized at Kingsborough Community College and demonstrates the model’s applicability across disciplines. Student grades, retention rates, and questionnaires regarding feelings of inclusion, engagement, and connection to the course material, instructor and fellow classmates provide quantitative and qualitative measures of success of the model. 


Project Yellowstone:  Seeing the Natural World through an Interdisciplinary, Student-Centered Lens
John Soltes, Assistant Professor, Michelle Iden, Professor, Samantha Gigliotti, Professor, Maria Isaza, Professor, County College of Morris

Project Yellowstone is an interdisciplinary initiative at County College of Morris that combines the academic work of four professors, each representing distinct disciplines at the college.  The professors look at conservation, public lands, and Yellowstone National Park through multiple lenses and host a number of on-campus and off-campus events- always with the goal of connecting the lessons of the classroom with the lives of students and the wider natural world.  This high-impact practice, which utilizes several community and civic engagement standards, promotes student engagement and student success, all while keeping in mind issues of equity and diversity. 


Otherness as Asset: Building Confidence in Community College Writing
Karen Galli, Instructor of English, Eric Adamson, Instructor of English, Hudson County Community College

In thinking about equity in education, we cannot miss a beat about autoethnography in student work. This session discusses the design and implementation of otherness as one's voice in student writing. The presenters will focus on autoethnography and its dynamic role in composition courses at a Hispanic-Serving Institution. Participants will learn about the modifications to make writing assignments equitable with a primary focus on otherness as an asset.

Tailoring Learning Activities to Behavioral Styles
Neil Hwang, Bronx Community College

I propose course design principles and teaching strategies tailored to diverse learning styles of students using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®(MBTI), while meeting their motivational needs as indicated by Self-Determination Theory (SDP). I discuss the basic elements of SDT, followed by examples of how each was implemented in the form of course design at Bronx Community College. To increase student engagement, it is shown to be effective to consider MBTI profiles of students to get a better grasp of their perspectives and make design and teaching choices that more optimally suit students’ personalities.


Utilizing an Equity and Inclusion Conceptual Framework to Operationalize a Culture of Care and Student Success
Erika R. Carlson, Associate Director of Assessment, Christopher Shults, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Planning, Borough of Manhattan Community College

In search of a better way to serve students, this presentation will discuss the intentional effort to incorporate theory and empirical data to examine equity and inclusion at the college. We will be discussing the development of a conceptual framework to better understand equity and inclusion across the dimensions of climate, culture, and infrastructure.


Ready for the “Whole” Student: The Evolution of “Hudson Helps” to Provide Holistic Student Supports
Lisa Dougherty, VP for Student Affairs and Enrollment, Chris Reber, President; David Clark, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Hudson County Community College

Hudson County Community College (HCCC), recognizing the significant non-academic barriers our students face, has launched its “Hudson Helps” initiative. Learn how “Hudson Helps” began in March 2019 with food pantries and has evolved into the Hudson Helps Resource Center, a physical location where students can access assistance to the resources they need to be successful. At HCCC, we are committed to creating a caring and stigma-free environment, and through the creation of “Hudson Helps,” we are showing students that we are ready for them and committed to their success both inside and outside of the classroom.


Betting on Success: Using Strategic Initiative Funds to Develop a Successful Guided Pathways Advising Redesign
Eric Rosenthal, Dean, Student Success, Belinda Austin, Association Dean, Student Services, Mark Henry, Director, Advising, Transfer & Accommodations, and Elizabeth Fullop, Success Navigator/Advisor, Northampton Community College

How do you hire new advisors without operational funding? Northampton Community College utilized strategic student success initiative funds to hire twenty Success Navigators (academic advisors/ success coaches). Employing the Community College Research Center's SSIPP framework, a sustained, strategic, integrated, proactive, and personalized approach to advising has been brought to scale. Navigators adopt a Guided Pathways approach to advising and leverage technology to implement a case management strategy to foster student success. Seamless transitions to Faculty Advisors allow student to receive ongoing support until academic goal completion. Positive outcomes include significantly higher fall-spring, fall-fall, and spring-fall retention.

3:15 p.m. - 4:05 p.m. (EST) BREAKOUT SESSIONS ROOM

Reinventing the Community College Business Model: Designing for Organizational Success
Chris Shults, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Planning, Borough of Manhattan Community College

Community colleges were established to provide an accessible, affordable education and have largely met this charge. Access without success, however, does not benefit the student and traditional planning, operational and financial management, and infinite enrollment growth strategies have not produced positive student outcomes. The Great Recession, disinvestment in higher education, and increasing costs and competition have further exacerbated the inability to deliver better results. Community colleges need an operational framework structured for student success. The community college needs a redesigned business model.

Learn about an intentionally designed operational management approach that provides a comprehensive approach to understanding students and meeting student needs by providing an exceptional educational experience. This model is designed to restructure community colleges for delivery of a student value proposition built on learning and success. The philosophical underpinning of this model is that student success is the ultimate measure of organizational effectiveness.


Fostering Institutional Readiness for Student Success: The Transformation of Our Advising Model & Mandatory New Student Orientation
Heather Keith, Director of Advising, Career, and Transfer, Jessica Zuber, Associate Director of Advising, Career, and Transfer, Union County College

At Union County College, we began a massive overhaul of student services and in particular, advising to better meet our students’ needs and increase their success. With the changes that we made we increased our graduation rates more than six-fold over the course of this period and our fall to fall retention rates are at an all time high. This presentation will explain to the conference attendees’ changes that the institution made to educate and engage students from the point of entry into the college, leading to increased retention and graduation rates which lead to increased student success.


Institutionalization of AMP UP: Successful Interventions as Alternatives to Developmental Math
Mary X. Ho, Kessler McCoy-Simandle, Union County College

AMP UP, a Randomized Control Trial allowed students to skip developmental math courses and take college-level math courses by providing two specific interventions, a weekly tutoring requirement and access to online supplemental math programs. Outcomes measured include students’ college-level math completion, retention and graduation rates. Based on AMP UP data, Union County College has made credit-math Dev-Ed optional for students. Algebra, Elementary Statistics and a Liberal Arts math were redesigned by embedding co-requisite/foundational skills through an online-only component and the addition of a mandatory tutoring requirement, for all students, without changing the number of class credits.


Overcoming Adversity in the STEM Classroom: Examining Learned Helplessness in First-year Community College Students Using Salivary Cortisol, Surveys and Interviews
Diane P Banks, Assistant Professor, Bronx Community College

Learned helplessness is a behavioral phenomenon where some may become helpless as the conditions surrounding their success become adverse. Those suffering with learned helplessness simply gave up when they lack the desired outcome repeatedly. Classic signs expressed with learned helplessness include: lack of motivation, depression, poor social skills, absence of control and loneliness. STEM attrition rates have shown that 69% of the 20% of incoming STEM freshmen in associate degree programs, drop out or switch their majors to non-STEM curriculum within their first year of college (NCES, 2013). The study's results will be revealed and discussed during this season.


Preparing Your Community College to Address Food Insecurity
Alison Noone, Assistant Director of Student Life, Margaret Maghan, Chair, Psychology, Ocean County College 

Nearly 45% of community college students report experiencing low food security or long-term food insecurity.  In part this means, our students are having to choose between purchasing books or buying food.  Using creativity and collaboration, community colleges can develop programs to help affected students meet their basic needs and increase their likelihood of persistence.  This workshop will define terms associated with students in need, describe the implications of being hungry has on student success, introduce options to address hunger on your campus.  .


Using Academic and Nonacademic Factors to Inform Student Choice Regarding Course Placement
Jon Connolly, President, Cory Homer, Associate Dean of Enrollment Management, Sussex County Community College

Through consultation with representatives from Achieving the Dream, Sussex County Community College, implemented a revised system of course placement in which students discuss academic and nonacademic factors of academic achievement with advisors before ultimately making a decision to begin developmental or college-level coursework. It is intended that this process facilitates buy-in from students regarding their own future, increases access to higher education by requiring a high-stakes test, and improves time-to-completion for students.


The Launch of a Holistic and Contextualized First-Year Seminar in Six Months
Michele Campagna, Assistant Dean, Learning Initiatives & Student Success, Karen Taylor, Dean, School of Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences; Leonore Rodrigues, Director, Viking ROADS, Westchester Community College

There is great momentum at Westchester Community College to be a Student Ready campus. Indicative of this energy is the launch of a holistic and contextualized First-Year Seminar created in six months by a cross-divisional committee. The course uses a holistic curriculum and a teaching-and-learning application pedagogy to engage students in learning opportunities to help them achieve success. The FYS is a significant achievement since there had been several failed attempts in past years to launch the course. During this session attendees will learn about FYS, the strategies used to develop the course, and WCC’s plans to support continuous improvement.


4:15 - 5:00 p.m. (EST)  Closing Plenary 

Managing Change in 21st Century Community Colleges
Location: Multipurpose Room


Discover how Union County College has improved student success outcomes by re-focusing the entire institution on student success. Walk away with several practical examples and inspired to take action.

Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin is the President of Union County College, the 1st of New Jersey’s 19 community colleges, founded in 1933. Since her appointment as President in July 2010, Dr. McMenamin set forth an aggressive agenda centering on improving student success outcomes. She revitalized student services, strengthened academic advising, partnered with faculty to improve teaching and learning, and engaged the entire campus community in renewing their collective commitment to student success. During her tenure at Union, the College quintupled its IPEDS graduation rate.

Dr. McMenamin attended Temple University, and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy. She subsequently earned a Master of Science from the University of Scranton and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Lehigh University. Dr. McMenamin was previously employed as a professor and VP of Academic and Student Affairs Lehigh Carbon Community College and Executive Vice President of Educational Services and Acting President at Brookdale Community College.

In January 2019, Dr. McMenamin became Chair of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. She is chair of the American Association of Community Colleges’ President's Academy Executive Committee, a member of the executive committee of the New Jersey Presidents’ Council, the International Commission for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and the National Junior College Athletic Association Executive Committee. Dr. McMenamin is involved with numerous community organizations, including the Boards of Trinitas Hospital, Union County Performing Arts Center, Union County Crime Stoppers, Elizabeth Development Company, Union County Workforce Development, Montgomery Academy, and the NJTV Community Advisory Board. In 2015, she was honored to serve as the Grand Marshal of the Union County Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.


Take-Aways from the Conference

Student-Ready Student Affairs Actions

Student-Ready Academic Affairs Actions

Being a Change Agent:  The Ed.D. in Community College Leadership Program