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How Learning across Systems Supports Middle Leadership

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.

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What CSU Students Say about Advising

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.

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California’s Education Systems: A Sum of the Moving Parts

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.

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Using an Equity Lens to Inform Practice: Learning from the Middle Leadership Academy

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.

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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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Strengthening Education Partnerships, Data Sharing, and Equity-based Inquiry in the CSU

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.

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Education Leaders Discuss Big Visions to Connect K-12 and Higher Education

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.

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Working to Close Equity Gaps in the CSU: Interviews with Dr. William Franklin and Dr. J. Luke Wood

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.

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Should California develop a statewide student data system?

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.

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Supporting Transfer Students’ Education Goals: The Evolution of Cal Poly Pomona’s Transfer Program

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.

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Bottom-up Practice Reform Meets Top-down State Policy Change

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.

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Campus-wide Roles to Improve Student Success

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.

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A Two-Way Street: Building a Culture of Data Use by Engaging with Faculty and Staff

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.

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Understanding Professional Learning Opportunities in California’s Community Colleges: Emerging Themes from Institutional Effectiveness Evaluations

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.

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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.

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Finding a Balance between Local Control and State Guidance

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.

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Evaluations for Better Education Policy and Practice: What Do Students Say?

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.

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California’s “System” for Student Data Reporting Is A-maze-ing

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.

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