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Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (NM) collaborated with Bernalillo High School, a nearby high school with a high concentration of Native American students, to establish a career pathway to engineering. College and high school faculty introduced dual enrollment and developed an articulated curriculum so high school students would graduate college ready. e pathway extends to the baccalaureate degree level through a statewide articulation agreement. At SIPI, college student teams work on engineering projects, such as designing and manufacturing robotic kits that high school students use in statewide robotics competitions. e SIPI students identify their projects, research solutions, and collaborate with industry and government representatives to begin imple- menting their ideas. Preliminary results indicate some success. Since fall 2007, when the college began admitting students to its engineering degree program, 11 students — including four Native American women — have graduated and/or transferred to four-year engineering or engineering technology programs.

Faculty advisors at Bridgemont Community and Technical College (WV) help students organize community service activities related to academic elds of study. For example, dental hygiene students provide free oral health education, civil engineering technology students conduct stream monitoring for a local watershed, Cisco Academy students assist in running Internet cables for nonprots, and building construction students participate in Habitat for Humanity projects. roughout these programs, students are actively engaged in their learning while being mentored by their faculty advisors.

At Olive-Harvey College (IL), students enrolled in chemistry courses have the opportu- nity to participate in an out-of-class activity with the American Chemical Society. is event provides a supportive environment in which students interact professionally and socially with professors at research institutions, undergraduate and graduate research students, and their peers from Olive-Harvey College. Students are required to attend research presentations, interact with participants, and interview a professional chemist during the outing. ey then write papers that reect on their experiences. Students say this event expands their knowledge of chemistry, reinforces their career choices, and improves their communication skills. One participant wrote, “I am sure, now more than ever, that I am choosing the right path for my education.”

For more information about CCSSE and the 2009 surve , visit www.ccsse.org.

CCSSE Opposes Ranking

CCSSE opposes using its data to rank colleges for a number of reasons.

There is no single number that can adequately — or accurately — describe a college’s performance; most colleges will perform relatively well on some benchmarks and need improvement on others.

Each community college’s performance should be considered in terms of its mission, institutional focus, and student characteristics.

Because of differences in these areas (and variations in college resources), comparing survey results between individual institutions serves little constructive purpose and likely will be misleading.

CCSSE member colleges are a self-selected group. Their choice to participate in the survey demonstrates their interest in assessing and improving their educational practices, and it distinguishes them. Ranking within this group of colleges — those willing to step up to serious self- assessment and public reporting — might discourage participation and certainly would paint an incomplete picture.

Ranking does not serve a purpose related to improving student outcomes. Improvement over time — where a particular college is now compared with where it wants to be — likely is the best gauge of a college’s efforts to enhance student learning and persistence.

2009 Findings 17

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