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Community College Virtual Forum: Supporting Adult Learners

March 1, 2022
1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST

1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. EST
Keynote Presentation 

Understanding and Supporting the Success of Adult Learners in Community Colleges
Demand for skilled labor continues to increase in the United States.  Adults over the age of 25 were the most economically devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and they may be looking for ways to improve their job prospects long-term.  Enrolling in a community college is one of the most affordable and accessible ways for this population to improve their skills for the labor market. Adult students make up 38 percent of the national undergraduate population overall and, in the coming years, community colleges are likely to see an increase in adult learners’ enrollment (OCTAE, 2020). The purpose of this presentation is to use available research to describe the diverse population of adult learners who enroll in community colleges as well as their varying experiences and outcomes. This presentation will also highlight the gaps in knowledge around adult learners and the areas in which there is minimal research on this population. Learning from this presentation, practitioners and policymakers focused on improving outcomes for adult learners will take away important information on the challenges these students face as well as the practices and research that are required to address these challenges. Looking at the student trajectory through the Guided Pathways lens, the presenters will explore the supports and offerings that may be adapted to better serve adult learners, and particularly adult learners of color. The presenters will conclude by also providing examples of programs currently in community colleges that support the needs and success of adult learners.

Presenter Bios:

jessica brathwaite headshot

Jessica Brathwaite, Senior Research Associate
Jessica Brathwaite is a senior research associate at CCRC, where she conducts qualitative and quantitative research on system - and statewide developmental education, ESL reform, community college finance, and students’ transition to college. Her primary research interest is how practice and policy can eliminate or exacerbate inequities between students. She is also interested in exploring race and class as they relate to her primary research interest.

Brathwaite teaches Sociology of Urban Schools, Survey Research Methods, and Education Policy in the Education Policy and Social Analysis Department at Teachers College, Columbia University. She holds a PhD and an MA in sociology from Temple University and a BA in sociology from CUNY Hunter College.

julia raufman headshot

Julia Raufman, Research Associate
Julia Raufman is a Research Associate at CCRC, where she conducts qualitative research on system- and statewide developmental education reform, ESL reform, teaching and learning in ESL and developmental education classrooms, student support services, and the experiences of English Learners in community colleges. Raufman is a doctoral student in the Comparative and International Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She obtained her BA in anthropology and Spanish from Skidmore College and has an MA in international education from New York University. Her research interests include multilingual learners, and how school context shapes the negotiation of student identity, racial and ethnic identity socialization, and education in international and comparative contexts.

2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. EST
Networking Sessions

3:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. EST
Closing Session

4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST
Information Session on the Ed.D. in Community College Leadership Program