Streamlining Workforce Programs at California Colleges: Supporting the Needs of Students and Regional Economies
By Colleen Moore, Assistant Director
Among the devastating effects of the COVID-19 crisis is the expected impact on California’s state budget, as revenues decline with shrinking financial markets and expenditures increase to cover unemployment claims and other vital government services. As prior economic contractions have demonstrated, this situation portends a challenging time ahead for higher education. The Great Recession brought significant cuts in state appropriations to the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), and California Community Colleges (CCC). The UC and CSU replaced some of their lost revenue by raising tuition substantially, while the CCC cut class sections dramatically, making higher education both less affordable and less accessible at a time that the workforce skills gap was growing. State funding for higher education in California took a decade to fully recover.
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Pulling Together Across Roles and Sectors in a Time of Crisis
By Thad Nodine, Senior Fellow at EdInsights, and Andrea Venezia, Director of EdInsights
The annual meeting of the American Education Research Association (AERA) was to be held in San Francisco this week, but, like all events, the in-person conference was cancelled so that its members could stay safe and focus on urgent transformations in their lives and work situations during this crisis. One of the sessions was set to discuss how California has developed and implemented a different kind of K-12 policy framework than did the rest of the country—and that implementation approaches varied across the state. The proposed symposium would have viewed the California Way through the eyes of different groups: state policy, research, capacity building, and practice.
Data Use Drives Quality
By Colleen Moore, Assistant Director, EdInsights Center
The California Cradle-to-Career Data System Act created a process for developing a statewide longitudinal data system. As the design and planning move forward, EdInsights will weigh in now and then with thoughts about how the state can make progress with the data system. In this post, Colleen Moore shares findings from her recent policy brief on data quality considerations, and explains how creating a P20W data system could actually help improve the quality of the data the state already collects.
From Incarceration to College Graduation: How Colleges Can Support the Education Goals of Formerly Incarcerated Students
By Breaunna Alexander, Research Associate, EdInsights Center
California has made significant strides in improving access to higher education for incarcerated individuals. Now is the time for colleges to examine and expand their efforts to provide services for this population. In this post, Breaunna Alexander provides examples of on-campus re-entry and support programs for this population and she presents resources and strategies to help those looking for more information about examining, evaluating, and reshaping their own practices to better serve formerly incarcerated students.
Weighing Tradeoffs Requires Data
The California Cradle-to-Career Data System Act created a process for developing the state's first statewide longitudinal data system. As the design and planning move forward, EdInsights will weigh in now and then with thoughts about how the state can make progress with the data system. In this post, Colleen Moore calls attention to ways a data system can help policymakers, education officials, and advocates make informed policy choices, and to the importance of ensuring adequate research capacity to use a statewide data system to address important policy questions.
Laying a Foundation for Equity Work on Campus: A Profile of the Chico State Team at the CSU Network’s Middle Leadership Academy
By Thad Nodine, Senior Fellow, EdInsights
When a team from Chico State arrived at the CSU Network’s Middle Leadership Academy in 2018-19, the team members had ambitious plans but no specific project to address equity issues on campus. At the Academy, they examined student data and began to focus on correlations between equity gaps in graduation rates and DFW rates during students’ first two years. They found that historically underserved students, compared with other students, were more likely to get a DFW, even accounting for incoming high-school grade point averages. Back on campus, they decided that their first step was to lay a broad foundation to support equity work.
Mathematics and Equity: The Transformation of a “Middle Leader” in the CSU
Before David Zeigler became chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Sacramento State University, he had not considered how remedial education policies might be an impediment to student success.
“We had a very draconian system,” Zeigler said. “It was not friendly at all to students. The tragic story is that it was our system and so I supported it.”
Zeigler’s “enlightenment,” as he calls it, came about through a series of professional development experiences, research, and conversations with peers, including participating in the Middle Leadership Academy. As chair, he began to attend cross-disciplinary gatherings associated with teaching and learning generally. That’s when he began to shepherd the department through a major transformation in how it supports incoming students in math.
How Do CSU Advising Efforts Compare to National Approaches?
By Melinda Karp, Consultant, CSU Student Success Network, Founder, Phase Two Advisory
Earlier this year, the CSU Student Success Network released the second report from Destination Integration, its series on academic advising. The studies explore the perspectives of students, advisors, and administrators on advising and advising reform on CSU campuses. In reviewing the authors’ findings, I am intrigued by how closely they mirror the conclusions of national studies of advising and student services, which means that the CSU is not alone in the challenges it faces in seeking to make advising a more integrated experience for students. And if the challenges are not unique to the CSU, then neither are the solutions.
Classes, Cradles and Careers: How Data Can Address Equity Gaps for Parenting Students
by Madeleine R. Kerrick, Evaluation Director, EdInsights
More than one fifth of undergraduate college students in the U.S. are parents—or about 3.7 million students. While there is fairly robust national data on this population, in California, we know very little about our “parenting students,” whether at the state, system, or institutional levels. As California embarks on designing a new statewide Cradle to Career education data system, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to build in data that will aid in understanding the unique experiences and needs of these students.
Increasing Community College Workforce Diversity: Evidence from Evaluating Professional Learning Opportunities
by Jaquelyn Caro-Sera, Research Analyst, Education Insights Center
College enrollments in California have become more diverse as the number and share of students from underrepresented backgrounds attending college continues to increase, particularly in broad access postsecondary institutions.
EdInsights research associate Jaquelyn Caro-Sena explains that California Community Colleges have a unique opportunity to increase the diversity of their workforce over the next several years, as large numbers of personnel are reaching retirement age. Based on her findings from evaluating the Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative (IEPI), she asks, as this window opens, how can colleges reflect on and adjust their recruiting, hiring and retention practices, so that the diversity of their faculty, staff, and administrators better reflects the diversity of their students?
Making Progress toward a Statewide Education Data System
by Colleen Moore, Assistant Director, Education Insights Center
The California Cradle-to-Career Data System Act created a process for developing the state’s first statewide longitudinal data system. As the design and planning move forward, we will weigh in now and then with thoughts about how the state can make progress with the data system. In this post, Colleen Moore points to some of the critical questions we cannot answer until we have the data system in place and why researchers, policy analysts, policymakers and other stakeholders have long pushed for this critical tool.
How Learning across Systems Supports Middle Leadership
By Andrea Venezia, Executive Director, CSU Student Success Network; Rose Asera, Facilitator, CSU Student Success Network; and Bob Gabriner, Consultant, CSU Student Success Network
A new report by the Research and Planning (RP) Group of the California Community Colleges, struck a chord for several reasons. Not only was RP one of the inspirations for creating the CSU Student Success Network, the CSU Network’s Middle Leadership Academy is modeled after Leading from the Middle in the community colleges, and many community college colleagues generously helped get the CSU Network off the ground.
What CSU Students Say about Advising
By Cynthia Schrager, Senior Fellow, EdInsights
As large public universities, such as those within the California State University system, focus on increasing student success, efforts to improve student advising are front and center. As institutions endeavor to become more student-centered, it’s worth asking: do students perceive advising challenges and opportunities the same way as institutional leaders do?
This post draws from our two applied research studies on academic advising: Destination Integration.
California’s Education Systems: A Sum of the Moving Parts
By Andrea Venezia, Executive Director, EdInsights Center
When we started the California Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) in 2016, in partnership with the Center for California Studies, we knew that we needed a resource that laid out the major K-12 and postsecondary education issues in California all in one place. We could not find one document that provided all the background information we think systems thinkers need to have in public education in California. So we created our own.
By Thad Nodine, Senior Fellow, EdInsights
This is the third in a series of blogs about efforts to eliminate equity gaps in the CSU. Thad Nodine describes the equity work underway on CSU campuses, based on their participation in the Middle Leadership Academy, a professional learning program that is supporting teams of CSU faculty, staff, and administrators in addressing equity-based opportunity and outcomes gaps on their campus. The blog also describes the Academy's approach in creating a space where campus teams in the CSU come together to learn from colleagues and other campuses.
Why the Simplest Cradle-to-Career Data System May be the Best Place to Start
A long awaited window is opening. Governor Gavin Newsom’s first budget proposes $10 million to develop a longitudinal education data system that would “better track student outcomes and increase the alignment of our educational system to the state's workforce needs.” But the people who will decide whether and how to create a statewide data system face some critical choices—namely, what purpose would such a data system serve? Who would use it and which questions would it be designed to answer?
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In the second in a series of blogs about efforts to eliminate equity gaps in the CSU, Thad Nodine reports on the CSU Network's fall Convening focusing on regional education partnerships and the use of data sharing to support equity-based inquiry and outcomes on CSU campuses. Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen and Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jorge A. Aguilar spoke to the gathered teams about the role of partnerships in achieving reforms and improving outcomes at their institutions. Then the teams got to work, discussing how to use the external partnerships to increase equitable student outcomes at their respective universities.
by Thad Nodine, Senior Fellow, Education Insights Center
(Cross-posted on the Californiana Blog, a project of the Center for California Studies)
Three state education leaders—from K-12 education, the California Community Colleges, and California Competes, a nonprofit organization—welcomed a new cohort of 20 Fellows to the California Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) during its first three-day seminar of the year. Each of the speakers shared their thoughts on California's need to improve its ability to set and assess statewide goals across K-12 schools, postsecondary education, and workforce training programs. One obstacle stands in the way, California has no statewide coordinating body or data structure that spans its K-12 and higher education systems.
This is the first in a series of blogs to share information about efforts to eliminate equity gaps in the CSU. Thad Nodine separately interviewed two leaders in higher education who have dedicated their professional lives to understanding and addressing equity issues. Dr. William Franklin is vice president for student affairs at CSU Dominguez Hills. He currently spearheads a mentoring program for African American and Latino young men called the Male Success Alliance. Dr. J. Luke Wood is associate vice president for faculty diversity and inclusion and distinguished professor of education at San Diego State University. He also serves as co-director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab.
California’s system for reporting student data is, well, not really a system at all. Should California develop a statewide education data system? What purposes would such a system serve? What kinds of data would be tracked and shared, and with whom? These are some of the questions that the education professionals in the California Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) posed to each other and education leaders, in the final gathering of the 2017-18 Fellows.
by Cynthia Schrager, Senior Fellow, EdInsights
What makes efforts to improve student success rates at large public universities so challenging, particularly in light of committed efforts by faculty, staff, and administrators to improve student learning, progression, and completion?
by Norma Leon, Educational Assessment & Transition Coordinator, and Dr. Loren Márquez, PolyTransfer Coordinator, at Cal Poly Pomona
Transfer students at Cal Poly Pomona were historically perceived as needing less attention because they had successfully navigated the first years of their college journey. Over the past few years, CPP began to question this mindset and confront the unique challenges facing transfer students. In this blog, Norma Leon and Lorena Márquez trace the rise of the PolyTransfer Program and the efforts to foster a transfer-receptive culture on campus.
Colleen Moore, Assistant Director, Education Insights Center testified before the Senate Education Committee on April 11, 2018 as the committee debated SB 1224 (Glazer) Statewide longitudinal education and workforce data system. These are her prepared remarks.
What a difference a year can make. In February 2017, Katie Hern, co-founder of the California Acceleration Project, spoke with the inaugural cohort of the California Education Policy Fellows Program about the challenges of reforming developmental education statewide from the bottom up—after working campus by campus for almost a decade to spur changes in a system of 114 California Community Colleges. When she met with the second cohort of EPFP Fellows a year later, the policy landscape had completely changed.
Campus-wide Roles to Improve Student Success
by Elizabeth Boretz, Assistant Vice President for Student Success, CSU Fullerton
Many CSU campuses over the past few years have created senior-level campus-wide positions charged with improving student success. The trend is not unique to the CSU or to California, and the number of online job postings for senior-level positions focusing on “student success” has more than tripled nationally since 2010. No matter which university you call home, refocusing campus structures and culture around student learning and success can be challenging. In the following story, Elizabeth Boretz shares some of her experiences helping CSU Fullerton strengthen its campus-wide approach to student success.
A Two-Way Street: Building a Culture of Data Use by Engaging with Faculty and Staff
by Adam Petersen, Student Success Analyst, Office of Undergraduate Studies, CSU San Marcos & Cameron Gage Stevenson, Assistant Director, Institutional Planning & Analysis, CSU San Marcos
In May 2017, the CSU Student Success Network convened, and Fresno State hosted, a one-day meeting focused on data use. The convening drew participation from teams of faculty and staff from ten CSU campuses. Afterwards, the team from CSU San Marcos (CSUSM) decided to create a data fellows program to improve their campus’ capacity to use data in decision-making. This is their story of why—and how—they created their program.
Understanding Professional Learning Opportunities in California’s Community Colleges: Emerging Themes from Institutional Effectiveness Evaluations
by Su Jin Jez, Faculty Fellow, Education Insights Center, California State University, Sacramento
EdInsights has been evaluating the sweeping changes in the California Community Colleges for the past five years. “That’s an exciting lens for us,” says EdInsights Faculty Fellow Su Jin Jez, “helping community college educators examine the effects of their work and ways to refine it, while also contributing to the state’s own understanding of its investments.” In our newest blog post, Dr. Jez shares key themes that surfaced from these evaluations and signals ways that other capacity-building efforts in higher education can improve student learning, engagement, progression, and completion.
Opening "Windows of Opportunity" in Education
A new cohort of California Education Policy Fellows met recently at Asilomar for three days of conversations about challenges facing education. The 20 Fellows, all education policy professionals in California, heard from luminaries in the field who shared their wisdom about the conditions necessary for effective policy change and new ideas about competition in the marketplace for ideas.
Finding a Balance between Local Control and State Guidance
by Andrea Venezia, Executive Director, EdInsights & Laura Jaeger, K-16 Research and Policy Director, EdInsights
When it comes to implementing College and Career Readiness (CCR), our research over the past two years tells us that educators do not want to reinvent the wheel. They want local control of key decisions, but they also want guidance from the state about which models to consider. In this blog, EdInsights Executive Director, Andrea Venezia, and K-16 Research and Policy Director, Laura Jaeger, consider the challenges that Educators are facing as they try to find a balance between local control, on the one hand, and state guidance on the other, so as to support equitable opportunities for all students statewide.
Evaluations for Better Education Policy and Practice: What Do Students Say?
by Connie Tan, Evaluations Director, EdInsights
Student voices can provide powerful insights to inform education improvement, and yet too often evaluations of education programs overlook students’ perspectives and experiences. In this blog Connie Tan, Evaluations Director at EdInsights, shares her observations from four years of evaluating a range of education programs. Rather than craving a college experience full of academic and career exploration, students are hungry for guidance in identifying a suite of courses that match their interest, followed by supports and structure that puts them on a path to graduate or transfer. These lessons can serve as an impetus for action and improvement at the campus and system levels.
California's "System" for Student Data Reporting Is A-maze-ing
by Colleen Moore, Assistant Director, EdInsights
California collects expansive data about students in its systems of public education, but the data are collected and maintained in systems that are not connected, were designed for different purposes, are subject to different regulations, and often use different data definitions. Colleen Moore, assistant director at EdInsights and author of California’s Maze of Student Information: Education Data Systems Leave Critical Questions Unanswered, writes about how these disjointed systems contribute to fragmented education programming and policy making.
A New Core Commitment in the Community Colleges: Partnering Across Systems
by Andrea Venezia, Executive Director, EdInsights
In the new vision statement of the California Community Colleges—adopted last month by the Board of Governors—Chancellor Eloy Oakley committed to lead the work of partnering across systems. In this blog, Andrea Venezia, Executive Director of EdInsights, reflects on the importance of this commitment and suggests that it could signal new ways in which California's education system can work together—and that students could reap the benefits.
Using Networks to Build Cross-System Capacity in California Education
by Jodi Lewis, Communications Director, EdInsights
California's K-12 and postsecondary systems have little connection through governance, finance, or data systems, and few incentives to develop, track, or meet cross-system goals for students. There's a powerful role for networks to bridge gaps in education, which is why EdInsights launched two this year: California EPFP and the CSU Student Success Network.
In this blog, Jodi Lewis, co-director of California EPFP, reflects on the value of network-based approaches to build capacity to improve student success.
A Season of Change in California Education
by Andrea Venezia, Executive Director, EdInsights
It’s a remarkable springtime in California, and not just because of the historically vibrant blooms. A flurry of new education policies are being implemented, and the public schools, the California Community Colleges, and the California State University (CSU) are undergoing large-scale shifts. What’s exciting about these changes is their focus on student learning and success and their potential to advance educational attainment and reduce opportunity gaps among Californians.
In this blog—the first in monthly series—Andrea Venezia highlights a few reforms that we think warrant attention, challenges that might lie ahead, and how EdInsights is addressing these and other issues to help improve student learning, engagement, progression, and completion.
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