Who We Are

We are the Office of Community College Research and Policy (OCCRP) at Iowa State University. We create, share, and apply knowledge in the context of community college education. Our mission is "to articulate and analyze the issues affecting policy and practice by conducting rigorous research." We seek to assist community college practitioners and policy makers strengthen governance structures, develop leadership competencies, and make informed decisions to improve educational opportunities and academic success for students in community colleges in Iowa and nationwide.

NSF Dissemination Project Objectives

  • to develop media presentations in the form of educational videos that educate the public and college students about the pathway to a STEM baccalaureate degree from two-year colleges;
  • to develop a STEM Pathway: Transfer Student Guide (TSG) for prospective students attending two-year colleges that educates students about the transfer process; and
  • to develop a web site that will be used to disseminate educational resources to educators (two- and four-year institutions), academic counselors/advisors, Transfer Center coordinators, students in two-year colleges, business and industry, researchers, policymakers, and the public.

Community colleges enroll a significant number of women and ethnic minorities in American higher education. Over one half of all students enrolled in American higher education attend community colleges. These institutions play a prominent role in the educational experiences of college students. In particular, the transfer function in community colleges provides the vehicle to prepare pre-STEM majors in providing the first two-years of a general education prior to transferring to a four-year college or university.

The dissemination activities will advance knowledge and understanding within the field of education as well as other fields by utilizing current research and exemplary programs and practices. The Principal Investigator (PI) has over 10 years of experience studying college students and the impact of the community college on students' aspirations, self-concept, and transfer readiness. The primary objective is to provide students enrolled in community colleges with the tools to be successful academically in their pre-STEM preparation as well as the educational capital to be successful in the transfer process to the four-year college or university. These resources are not currently available.

This project will impact a diverse audience including community college administrators, faculty, academic counseling, retention coordinators, other college personnel, and students. Additionally, the products from this project will also have an impact on high school teachers in educating them about the role and function of community colleges in serving as a viable pathway to a STEM bachelor's degree for students. The dissemination project will provide valuable resources for a diverse audience and will increase understanding of women and minorities in community colleges and the factors that influence or impede students' self-concept, educational aspirations, and academic preparation to pursue a pre-STEM emphasis in the community college and to be "transfer ready" to pursue a STEM bachelor's degree.

National Science Foundation

This project is supported by the National Science Foundation.

Award Number: 0507882

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