UPDATEOn Research and Leadership
Cantarell: Dark Backgro
Fall 2017 Vol. 28, No. 2
Topics Featured in this Issue:
Supporting Reverse Libraries Engaging Diverse
Adult Learners Transfer in and College Views
UPDATE, Fall 2017
The Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL) was established in 1989 at the University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign. OCCRL is affiliated with the Department of Educational Policy, Organization, and Leadership in the
College of Education. Projects of this office are supported by the Illinois Community College Board and the Illinois State
Board of Education, along with other state, federal, private, and not-for-profit organizations. The contents of publications
do not necessarily represent the positions or policies of our sponsors or the University of Illinois. Comments or inquiries
about our publications are welcome and should be directed to [email protected] The UPDATE is prepared pursuant to a
grant from the Illinois Community College Board (Federal Award Identification Number: Grant Number: D6008). ©2017
Board of Trustees, University of Illinois
The month of December is a time when we close out the calendar year, reflect on the past 12
months, and look forward to the new year ahead. This year illustrated many of the perennial
challenges facing higher education such as access, affordability, declining federal funding and
state support, college and career readiness, sliding enrollments, completion rates, and degree
value. It has been a turbulent year for higher education relative to cultural divides and defending
diversity, with the battle over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), sanctuary
campuses, activist athletes, student protests, free speech versus hate speech, and freedom of
expression that produced racially polarizing campus climates as evident at the University of
Virginia. This year-end issue of Update on Research and Leadership touches on some concerning
matters and trending topics. Community colleges have long been the postsecondary contexts
that seek to meet the needs of diverse student learners, in particular supporting adult learners
in receiving high-quality training that leads to gainful employment and further education. The
National Skills Coalition (NSC) has advocated for bridging the gap in student skills, employment opportunities, and local
community needs. OCCRL Assistant Director Dr. Anjale’ Welton spoke with Amanda Bergson-Shilcock, the Director
of Upskilling Policy at the NSC regarding resources to support adult learners and policy trends that affect their career
trajectories and postsecondary award/degree completion.
Problems with time to degree and with increasing completion rates continue. One response to the completion challenge
at community colleges has been reverse transfer. During 2017, OCCRL explored the implementation of reverse transfer
in the state of Illinois. Reverse transfer allows students transferring prior to degree conferral to apply credits earned
at their baccalaureate institution toward associate degree completion. The article by Marci Rockey, Heather Fox, and
me presents results that extend the knowledge gleaned in Project Win Win and Credit When it’s Due by furthering
understanding of student participation in reverse transfer and institutional processes employed by Illinois 2- and 4-year
colleges to support students near completion in earning associate degrees.
One skill set that is critical to students successfully navigating postsecondary education to completion is information
literacy. Bronx Community College Librarian Carl R. Andrews and Chemistry Professor Dickens Saint Hilaire share their
take on college readiness by highlighting the partnership between Bronx Community College (BCC) with area high
schools. Highlighted are BCC’s efforts to aid students in leveraging library resources, developing literacy skills necessary
for navigating college-level courses and providing students with tools to do well academically. Academic success is
also linked to social integration. Hence, academic and social engagement of students occurs within and external to
the classroom. Student affairs units are essential in retaining students; however, it is commonplace for student affairs
practitioners to be afterthoughts among those considered to advance the institutional academic mission. Francena Turner,
Fredrick Douglass Dixon, and I discuss the emergence of student affairs practice in community colleges. In particular,
we highlight the evolution of student affairs into a profession, graduate programming in student affairs and community
college leadership, as well as avenues for community college student affairs professional development.
The final article of this issue centers on the racialized campus climate. While racial tensions are increasingly bubbling
up post-2016 election, so too are race relations strained on college campuses. Yet, much of the media coverage and
the scholarly literature is largely situated in 4-year colleges and universities. Chaddrick Gallaway and I discuss how
community colleges are not exempt from racialized realities, and we contend intergroup dialogue has utility as one
means of how community colleges can uphold inclusive climates that foster racial parity. Educational inequality is not
mitigated but often exacerbated by marginalized group membership. The tenor of conversation in 2017 from the highest
government ranks trickled down producing exasperation on campuses regarding prevailing disparities across many
postsecondary concerns (e.g., financial aid, Title IX, immigration, etc.). In short, there is much work to do. We hope that
you continue to engage with us as allies in promoting equity across the educational pipeline. Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher
UPDATE, Fall 2017
02 Table of Contents
Policy Trends and Resources that Support
06 Exploring the Implementation of Reverse Transfer in
20 Libraries and College Readiness: The Bronx
Community College Library High School
Student Affairs in Community College
24 Community Colleges, the Racialized Climate,
and Engaging Diverse Views Through
Editor-at-large Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher
Managing Editor Heather L. Fox
Copy Editor Julie King
Our mission is to use research and evaluation methods to improve policies, programs,
and practices to enhance community college education and transition to college for
diverse learners at the state, national, and international levels.
The UPDATE on Research and Leadership is a bi-annual newsletter featuring articles on programs,
policies, and research highlighting transitions to, through, and out of postsecondary education. Was this newslet-
ter forwarded to you? Sign up for the OCCRL mailing list to receive news and updates our work.
UPDATE, Fall 2017
Policy Trends and Resources that Support Adult Learners
by Dr. Anjalé Welton Associate Professor of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, and OCCRL
Assistant Director of Strategic Initiatives and Research Partnerships
The National Skills Coalition (NSC) was founded more than 15 years ago by a coalition of advocates including community
college leaders, workforce boards, adult educators from community-based non-profit organizations, business leaders,
labor unions, and labor management partnerships—really a broad array of advocates. What they all have in common was
the belief that access to high-quality education and training opportunities is important in helping individuals gain access to
middle-skill jobs. Equally important is insuring that businesses have workers who are trained to meet the skill needs that
actually exist in local communities. Dr. Anjalé Welton interviewed Amanda Bergson-Shilcock, the Director of Upskilling
Policy at the National Skills Coalition, about policy trends and resources that support adult learners. The summary below
highlights this interview; the full interview is available as the debut episode of the Democracy’s College podcast series.
What are some supports and resources they provide, and what is
the role that community colleges play in supporting the work of the
National Skills Coalition?
Amanda Bergson-Shilcock: Community colleges sort of had a home in our work right
from the very beginning, because of our focus on middle-skill jobs, jobs that require more
than a high school diploma but not a 4-year degree. Throughout NSC’s history, community
colleges have really been a crucial part of our coalitions. We work primarily at the state
and federal level as a policy advocacy organization. We are advancing strong policies. We
are not ourselves providing direct services, although of course many of our thousands of
members nationwide are serving students and adult learners directly.
Amanda Bergson-Shilcock A couple of key things to know about how NSC approaches this work: We have a strong
commitment to ensuring that voices in the field, people who are doing the work on the
ground, are able to take their expertise and share it with policymakers and help inform policies that are being developed at
the state and federal level. So from a community college perspective that is of course critically important, not just in terms
of traditional higher ed., but also in terms of the workforce development side of the house and the noncredit side of the
house, because we know that to create effective career pathways for adults, particularly those who have been marginalized
for whatever reason, because of economic circumstances, because of disability, because of status as people who have
criminal records, because of limited English proficiency, because of race or ethnicity, community colleges have long been
absolutely crucial in providing those onramps, both to help people build their foundational skills in adult education and
literacy in English language, but also in allowing them
to gain access to opportunities to build higher-level
academic skills and to acquire workplace-specific skills
for particular industries or occupations. So, right from
the get-go, community colleges have been part of the
mix at NSC, a part of our work.
The NSC works on a handful of fronts. We work to National Skills Coalition Mission
raise public awareness about the importance of these
issues; we work to advance strong public policies; National Skills Coalition organizes broad-based coalitions
and we develop public policy recommendations. seeking to raise the skills of America’s workers across a
For example, we have a national advisory panel on range of industries. We advocate for public policies that
skills equity that has a number of community college invest in what works, as informed by our members’ real-
members. The recommendations that are developed world expertise. And we communicate these goals to an
within our national advisory panel and vetted by our American public seeking a vision for a strong U.S. economy
national advisory panel then go forward as part of our that allows everyone to be part of its success.
state and federal advocacy. We also mobilize in support
of policy. Let’s say a state coalition wanted to increase
the amount of money devoted to adult education in
their state budget, or let’s say that a group of advocates
wanted to advocate for a better stackable credential
Policy Trends and Resources: Adult Learners 2
UPDATE, Fall 2017
policy in their state, or a more job-driven financial aid policy, or a stronger integrated education and training policy such as
the I-Best model; NSC provides support to those state coalitions as they identify who are the partners they need to have
at the table. They figure out how to mobilize those partners, they figure out what policymakers and influencers they really
want to target, and then they roll out their campaign.
At the federal level we work similarly; we develop policy recommendations, we had a whole set of bi-partisan recommendations
that we released in the end of 2016 that were directed around a policy agenda for the new president. We also work there
around building public awareness, strategic communications, policy development, and vetting of policies, but also working
to bring the practitioner voice, folks at community colleges in states doing the work on the ground, to Washington to make
sure the policymakers are hearing directly from people who actually are doing the work. We exist to lift up good work that
is happening at the state and local level, to make sure that policymakers are hearing about it, and to advance strong policies
that can help adult learners and help jobseekers and workers to really build the skills they need so they can earn family-
What specific tools does NSC have to support adult learners?
Amanda Bergson-Shilcock: We’re a policy advocacy organization. We are not ourselves focused on direct provision of
services, but we do have a number of materials that are really designed to help adult education advocates make the case
for the importance of adult education and to advance policies, whether those are formal policies like a piece of legislation
or a governor’s administrative policy, or more informally, perhaps even within their own institutions if they are a community
college, for what we know works. Research and evaluation are so important, and there is this growing base of knowledge
in the field about what does work. What does NSC have to offer? We have fact sheets, reports, and toolkits that either
provide a quick distillation in just a page or two of what are the issues facing adult learners, what are the issues facing
community colleges, and what policy levers or what interventions are most effective in helping folks advance or address
those issues. We have fact sheets around important federal legislation, like the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity
Act, the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, the Higher Education Act, that sort of make the case to policymakers
why those are important from the perspective of adult learners. We have more general ones. For example, we have a short
fact sheet on adult education and middle-skill jobs that makes the case for connections between adult education and those
onramps that allow adult learners and workers to access those good family-wage jobs.
The reports, the most recent example is: Foundational Skills in the Service Sector. It’s a report that really looks at workers
in the service sector, so retail, hospitality, and entry-level healthcare, who have skill gaps. What are the interventions that
can help those adult learners and those workers? How are businesses partnering with community colleges and partnering
with training providers to help their workers upskill and advance to better jobs? This report is a perfect example of marrying
the data with the advocacy. There are some examples of strong state and local partnerships between community colleges
and employers, and here are some policy recommendations for how we can really bring these strong examples to scale.
Then the last area where we have resources is something I’m really excited about; it’s state policy toolkits. This came out of
our conversations with a lot of community college folks and others in our network who said: We care about these issues,
Selected National Skills Coalition Resources
Visit the National Skills Coalition’s Publications webpage. 3
Policy Trends and Resources: Adult Learners
UPDATE, Fall 2017
Here are examples of four or five states that have strong policies, and here is model language that
you can use in your state. You can literally copy and paste this if you wanted to advance a strong
policy either of state legislation or policy with your governor’s office, or even at the local level with
your mayor’s office.
we know about interventions like integrated education and training or the I-Best-like models, and we know they work for
many of our learners, but we are stuck making the case on an individual basis. We might make the case within our institution
to try to get a grant proposal written or to launch an individual program, but it would be so much better if we had broad-
based support. Could we get a state policy, or could we get state funding to support this kind of work? So, we developed,
for example, a half a dozen of these toolkits.
I am going to focus on the Integrated Education and Training 50-State Scan, because that is the one I worked on that’s
directly connected to adult education. It is a 50-state scan that says: What is the current status for every state in the U.S.
and the District of Columbia, [and] do they have a state-level policy about integrated education and training? Not just
“Are there isolated examples at the local level?,” and not just “Are they doing what the feds say they have to do around
WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) implementation?,” but “Do they actually have a state level policy?”
Then accompanying that 50-state scan is a policy toolkit that says: Here are examples of four or five states that have
strong policies, and here is model language that you can use in your state. You can literally copy and paste this if you
wanted to advance a strong policy either of state legislation or policy with your governor’s office, or even at the local
level with your mayor’s office. Our goal was to make it as easy to use as possible for advocates at the community college
level and elsewhere, who are busy people. They are practitioners, they are doing research, they may be engaged in policy
conversations, but they aren’t funded, typically, to do policy development in an intensive way. Our toolkit is a way to give
them an off-the-shelf “take this document.” I like to say, steal this resource and use it in your state and with your partners
to help move forward the kind of interventions that we know really work.
Related to policy context and adapting to policy changes, let’s talk about policy trends.
What do you think community colleges need to know about what policies are coming down
Amanda Bergson-Shilcock: At the federal level it’s no surprise to anybody to say that we are in a very uncertain time
with regard to the federal budget. There are competing agendas on the hill and from the President’s administration with
regard to what is the vision for federal spending and what are the prospects. One thing that is really not disputed is that
there is strong support for an education and skills agenda on both sides of the aisle. When the Workforce Innovation and
Opportunity Act was reauthorized 3 years ago, it was overwhelmingly bipartisan. If folks are really interested in staying
up to date in the ups and downs of what is happening on the federal landscape, NSC does offer regular free webinars, and
other updates, including action alerts and sign-on letters. If you go to our website, you can sign up for our newsletter right
on the front page of website in the top corner and find out about our webinars and find out about our action alerts.
We also know that at the state level there are issues going on there too. Let me talk a little bit more about the federal piece.
We’ve heard some back and forth in Congress about whether the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act or the Higher
Education Act is likely to come up for reauthorization next. Both of them are due for reauthorization. In both cases we see
a couple of overarching trends at the federal level. The first is tighter connection between business and education sides of
the house. What is the feedback loop so that folks who are developing curricula, developing programs, know that they are
helping adult learners and participants really prepare for jobs that actually exist in their local communities? Many community
colleges have been doing this on an individual basis for a long time, making connections with those local employers, with
those local industry sector partnerships, but this is really amping up at the federal level. How can we tell that the kind of
education and training programs that people are participating in are really preparing them for jobs that actually exist? Our
former labor secretary used to say, “We don’t just want to train and pray.” Right? We don’t want to train people for a job
and then pray they get the job. We really want there to be some confidence that the job actually exists in their communities.
The second trend we see is around data. Community colleges gather a wealth of data. They are subject to a wide range of
privacy safeguards to ensure that that data is collected in a responsible way. But something that both state and federal
policymakers have been increasingly curious about is: How do we know what happens to folks after they go through a
degree program, or get a certificate, or get a short-term occupational credential? There has been work at the state and
federal level to say: Let’s fund these state longitudinal data systems, so that with appropriate privacy safeguards in place,
Policy Trends and Resources: Adult Learners 4
UPDATE, Fall 2017
we can track and see what happens when somebody graduates from a K-12 system, enters into a community college or
other higher education system, and then ultimately enters into the workforce. What can we learn about the earnings that
people have, about how long it takes them to find a job, or how long they stay unemployed? So, that’s just an increasing
trend both at the federal level and the state level, and I think it’s only going to get more intense. The third trend is: How
do we provide appropriate supportive services to people to allow them to be retained and to persist in their educational
goals? We know that for a lot of folks on the ground, they are parenting, they have caregiving responsibilities, [and] they
are holding down jobs. How do we provide, whether it is childcare assistance, transportation assistance, other supportive
services, or navigator positions as some people call them, to really make sure that adults get the support they need so they
can persist in their education and complete their education? That’s been the third trend that we see really coming up over
and over again at both the state and the federal level.
What do you see community colleges advocating for in terms of policy and trying to make
sure that policymakers are paying attention to?
Amanda Bergson-Shilcock: I see community colleges as having a couple of really unique roles to play in the policy
conversation. The first and most straightforward of course is that community colleges are on the ground doing the work. I
think that just cannot be overemphasized. You have policymakers, who often have the best of intentions but may not have
come out of the world of community colleges, or the world of education and workforce, so hearing directly from folks on
the ground is critically important in saying: This works well, this needs to be tweaked, and this we have some concerns
about. This is really important in helping those policy proposals get improved so that they can be as good as they possibly
are. The second thing is that community colleges often identify trends earlier than policymakers. Again, community colleges
knew probably ten years ago that the “traditional college student” was no longer the “traditional student.” That is, some
people say we are in a “post-traditional student phase,” that most community college students, at this point, are adults,
many have kids, and many are juggling paid work along with their classes. So this fantasy that everybody is an 18-24 year
old who is living on campus and supported by their parents is just absolutely a fantasy. Community colleges have been on
the ground and they’ve seen this happening. So recommendations around things like supportive services and more flexible
financial aid, those are coming straight out of community college expertise on these issues. To say: Hey policymakers, we’re
in a new world here. It’s not 1950; it’s not 1970; it’s not 1990; it’s 2017, and these are the issues that are confronting the
adults that we are working with, and these are the policies interventions that we think can help those adults to succeed. So
that’s a really interesting and important thing.
The last area where I think community colleges really have a lot to offer is curiosity. Community colleges are question
askers. They ask questions of their own data through their institutional research arms. They ask questions about sort of
iterating their own curricula and say: Okay how did that work last semester and how am I going to change it this semester?
Being curious and asking those questions, and having that sort of lens that says: How do
we improve? What’s the next step? That’s what leads you to your next policy advocacy
goal. Because you don’t know what you want to advocate for until you understand
what works well in your current system and what needs to change. I really see
community colleges as being that fount of creativity and questions that say:
Alright, we’re here now, but where could we be in the future if we asked a Being curious and asking
few more questions, if we got a little more creative, if we were a little more those questions, and having
innovative in thinking about the people we serve and where we’re trying to that sort of lens that says:
help them get, where we are working with individuals in our programs and in How do we improve? What’s
our classrooms to achieve their educational and vocational goals? the next step? That’s what
leads you to your next policy
Anjalé Welton may be reached at [email protected]
Amanda Bergson-Shilcock may be reached at [email protected]
Policy Trends and Resources: Adult Learners 5
UPDATE, Fall 2017
Exploring the Implementation of Reverse Transfer in Illinois
by Marci Rockey, Project Coordinator
Heather L. Fox, OCCRL Assistant Director of Operations, Communications, and Research
Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher, OCCRL Director
The Reverse Transfer Illinois project was an exploratory study of the implementation of reverse transfer in the state of
Illinois. This article serves as an executive summary for the study, highlighting the primary findings from the study. These
findings draw on interview and survey data from 2- and 4-year postsecondary institutions engaged in reverse transfer
throughout Illinois. Building on what was learned through Credit When It’s Due (CWID), the Office of Community College
Research and Leadership (OCCRL) investigated how and to what extent reverse transfer has been implemented in Illinois, a
state that did not receive funding as part of the CWID project. The goal of this project is to bridge research and practice to
improve transfer processes and promote positive outcomes for students. The study’s guiding framework was informed by
the results of Project Win Win (PWW) and CWID. The framework incorporates themes integrated from existing research
and practice related to reverse transfer processes, including: a) engaging potential students, b) conducting audits and
communicating results, c) guiding and supporting students near completion, and d) awarding credentials.
The Reverse Transfer Process
Overall, reflections on the implementation of reverse transfer from survey and interview respondents revealed the following
barriers, areas of strength, and areas for improvement.
• Non-Linear Pathways. Institutions struggle with addressing the complexity that comes with students’
non-linear educational pathways that often include attending multiple institutions concurrently,
consecutively, or in a swirl pattern. This creates complexities in identifying the most important partnerships
to pursue, collecting and integrating transcripts, determining who is eligible for a
credential, and determining which institution should award the credential. This is
especially notable in highly urban areas where students have access to multiple
institutions, both within and out of state, located within a relatively small distance
of each other.
Exploring Reverse Transfer 6
UPDATE, Fall 2017
• Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ”Because the one challenge that I think
is the biggest barrier to trying to award
(FERPA), Consent, and Transcripts. Complications
and questions around FERPA regulations, methods for these degrees to eligible students is
collecting consent, and the impact of these processes on the fact that they’re not reading the
the timely sharing of transcripts were common barriers comunications, they’re not acknowledging
experienced by institutions engaging in reverse transfer. the benefit that it provides to them, and
therefore they’re rejecting our offers of
• Localized and Inconsistent Partnerships. Current
reverse transfer processes rely on localized institutional -Community college interview participant
partnerships, with each partnership requiring different
processes and practices to be successful. Participants
highlighted the lack of a statewide framework and
guidance as a notable barrier to both implementing and
scaling reverse transfer.
Areas of Strength
• Student-Centered. Reverse transfer is a student-centered practice that recognizes and places value on
students’ coursework, including coursework they took at other institutions.
• Low Student Burden. Fully implemented institutional reverse transfer practices are streamlined, with
limited burden placed on the students who benefit from the process.
• Stronger Partnerships. Implementing reverse transfer helped to develop and maintain strong internal
and external partnerships.
• Improved Transfer. Reverse transfer practices both benefit from and encourage improvements to
transfer in general (e.g., improved course articulation processes and equivalency data).
Areas for Improvement
• Low Levels of Student Participation. Students’ lack of awareness, follow-through, and overall
participation is a key limitation of reverse transfer processes highlighted by many institutions.
• Staffing and Professional Development. Reverse transfer processes require the integrated efforts of
departments across different areas of the college. This creates challenges around clarity of roles, staffing,
• Developing Strong External Partnerships. Identifying and developing relationships with potential
partners is a challenge for many institutions. Respondents shared that this includes challenges in identifying
potential partners, gauging the interest of potential partners, and managing inconsistencies across various
reverse transfer partnerships.
The following outlines key findings for the themes in the study’s guiding framework.
Engaging Potential Students
• Reverse transfer initiatives in Illinois primarily focus on currently enrolled students with varying residency
requirements at the state’s 2-year institutions, creating nuances for individual partnerships and individual
• Existing data and technologies have led institutions in Illinois to rely on an opt-in consent process for
• A perceived lack of communication and understanding surrounding reverse transfer is identified as a
challenge to increasing participation, as institutions in Illinois experience low response rates from current
Exploring Reverse Transfer 7
UPDATE, Fall 2017
“. . .most of my time is spent building transfer course equivalencies in a very proactive way. What
I mean by that is that I don’t wait for a transcript to land on my desk. . . I basically build the
infrastructure up every day. That is where most of my work is done.
-Community college interview participant
Conducting Audits and Communicating Results
• Determining course equivalencies is a complex and time-consuming process; however, the development of
a course equivalency database necessary for reverse transfer has benefits for transfer in general.
• Trends in students attending multiple institutions necessitate practices that account for multiple institutional
homes and for equating coursework across different transcript and course formats.
• New strategies are needed to communicate audit results with potential graduates. Further data is needed
to understand the reason(s) that some students who are eligible for an associate degree do not pursue
Guiding and Supporting Students Near Completion
• Institutional definitions of students near completion vary, ranging from 20-61 credits earned.
• 86.2% of respondents report providing students who were near to completing their degree information on
how to complete their degree.
• Academic advisors within both institutional contexts are integral to efforts to guide and support students
who are near completion.
• While many colleges are investing in reverse transfer, the impact on graduation rates to date is minimal.
• Automatic awarding of credentials could help to increase completion rates.
• Collaborations built through implementation of reverse transfer are supporting institutional efforts to
improve pathways, transfer, and completion for all students.
While the reverse transfer process employed at institutions was described as moderately effective by 40% of the survey
respondents, and the number of degrees awarded through reverse transfer has been modest, most respondents highlighted
the positive impact implementing the process has had on the college. There are substantial challenges and costs associated
with implementing reverse transfer programs in Illinois. One of the most notable challenges has been in engaging potential
students, a challenge magnified by varied interpretations of FERPA and other challenges to gaining student consent.
Conducting record audits for reverse transfer and communicating the results of these audits to students posed several
challenges for Illinois institutions; however, many respondents shared how engaging in the process of implementing reverse
transfer processes has positively impacted their transfer processes and practices. While there is a desire to provide students
who are near completion with the support necessary to complete their degree, this part of the reverse transfer process
was often underdeveloped. Based on the low graduation outcomes associated with reverse transfer, questions were raised
about the return on investment associated with reverse transfer and the need to have policies and resources to support this
work. Facing these challenges without a state mandate or external funding has required colleges to be innovative in their
approach to building reverse transfer partnerships and practices and appears to have limited the scale and scope of the
implementation of reverse transfer in the state. Specifically, respondents referenced the need for systematic and statewide
support for engaging in reverse transfer that would facilitate partnerships, provide guidance on best practices, facilitate
networking, and encourage peer-to-peer learning across institutions.
Marci Rockey may be reached at [email protected]
Heather L. Fox may be reached at [email protected]
Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher may be reached at [email protected]
Exploring Reverse Transfer 8
UPDATE, Fall 2017
Libraries and College Readiness: The Bronx Community College
Library High School Collaborative
by Carl R. Andrews, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Bronx Community College
Dickens Saint Hilaire, Chemistry Professor, Bronx Community College
In today’s information-rich global economy, City University of New
York (CUNY) graduates need strong critical thinking skills. Over three
quarters of the students who enroll across CUNY’s 24 campuses are
drawn from schools in the New York City Department of Education
(NYCDOE) (Strang, 2014). The NYCDOE is the largest public school
system in the United States, serving over 1 million students (Strang,
2014). Unfortunately, many of the students who matriculate to
CUNY’s college and universities are underprepared for college-level
work. This is especially the case with students who attend high schools
throughout the Bronx, one of New York City’s five boroughs. Most of
the high schools throughout the Bronx are within the Bronx Community
College (BCC) district. One area in particular that many students
need additional support and development in is information literacy
skills, a set of literacy skills known to be essential for their academic
success. Information literacy skills include students’ abilities to think
critically about the information they encounter online and in print; to
evaluate information for its authority, timeliness, accuracy, bias, and
appropriateness; and to evaluate the ethical use of information.
Bronx Community College is considered a minority-serving Carl R. Andrews (Reference and Instruction
institution. The majority of students who matriculate into BCC are of Librarian) and Dickens Saint Hilaire (Chemistry
Hispanic, Afro-Caribbean, West African, or African American descent; Professor)
our student population reflects the demographics for the Bronx.
According the United States Census Bureau, as of July 2016, the
estimated population of the Bronx was 1,455,720. Of that population
Blacks or African Americans represented 43.7% of the total population. Hispanics or Latinos represented 56.0% of the total
population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2016). A strong number of our students (both high school and college) face financial
hardships. The median household income in the Bronx (in 2015 dollars) was $34,299. Persons living in poverty represented
30.3% of the total population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2016). For many of our students, having the opportunity to graduate
high school and enroll into college is an important milestone. For some, they are the first in their families to attend college.
BCC offers programs designed for students who are on public assistance and are working to become self-sufficient. We
also assist students who wish to obtain their high school diploma. In all of the Bronx Community College Library High
School Collaborative (BCCLHSC) workshops, the teachers indicated that many of their students struggle academically,
often due to issues rooted in socio-economic hardships. If a student is living in a shelter or struggling economically, this can
impact their ability to focus on their school work. BCC and the high schools that feed our college are committed to serving
all students regardless of their circumstances, heritage, or means, which is why collaborations like the BCCLHSC are so
important. Our work together supports teaching and learning for all our students across the K-16 continuum.
The NYCDOE/CUNY Model
The NYCDOE/CUNY Model was designed to allow the collaborative to meet five times for two hours, during which the
participants share their educational values, identify teaching challenges, identify curricular revision opportunities, design
pedagogical activities and materials, and offer suggestions on how to implement the revised curricular unit. (See Figure 1.)
Building on the work of the NYCDOE/CUNY Library Collaborative, the BCCLHSC is a series of workshops that bring
together high school and college teaching faculty to redesign secondary curricula by infusing information literacy, research,
and critical thinking skills. In this article, we share the work done to support the development of information literacy
through the BCCLHSC, a collaboration between high school and college educators based on the model developed by the
NYCDOE/CUNY Library Collaborative. BCCLHSC’s work that speaks directly to the important role libraries play in college
readiness, curriculum development, collaborative teaching, and pedagogical communities of practice.
Libraries and College Readiness 9
UPDATE, Fall 2017
Figure 1. NYCDOE/CUNY Library Collaborative
The BCCLHSC used a collaborative framework to support their work towards the following four goals:
• Revise high school curriculum units to be more robust to better prepare high school students to meet the more rigorous
demands of college level research.
• Develop and nurture permanent communities of practice among Bronx high school teachers, librarians, college
instructors, and education administrators.
• Provide a map for supporting changes in how high school and college educators work together with librarians as part
of Communities of Practice.
• Highlight the important role that librarians play in supporting teachers to develop rigorous and robust curriculum units.
Aligning Secondary and Postsecondary Frameworks for Information Literacy
The American Library Association has two divisions that provide frameworks and standards for information literacy that
guide the work of the BCCLHSC, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and the Association of College and
Research Libraries (ACRL). The goal is to align these standards, through the work of the BCCLHSC, so that our students
leave high school and enter college with stronger research skills. The first set of standards is provided by the AASL, which
published the Standards for the 21st-Century Learner in 2007. The report defines and outlines detailed standards for
information literacy education around the following four areas of literacy:
• Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge.
• Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge.
• Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society.
• Pursue personal and aesthetic growth. (American Association of School Librarians, 2007, p. 3)
Further, in their report the AASL detailed standards based on the skills, beliefs and attitudes, common behaviors, and self-
assessment strategies associated with each area of literacy. Across the four areas of literacy, the BCCLHSC has identified
nine learning outcomes from this comprehensive list that they anticipate for the secondary learners impacted by the project.
The ACRL is the professional association for academic and research librarians in higher education. The information literacy
standards that librarians have used to support higher education curricula were established and implemented through
ACRL. On January 11, 2016, the ACRL adopted the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (Framework,
Association of College and Research Libraries, 2016). The Framework is a set of “interrelated core concepts” that have
been adapted to complement the “changing dynamics of the world of information” (Association of College and Research
Libraries, 2016, p. 2). These concepts allow more flexibility in implementation than sets of standards, skills, or learning
outcomes. The Framework is organized in six frames that are anchored to the following concepts:
Libraries and College Readiness 10
UPDATE, Fall 2017
• Authority Is Constructed and Contextual. Information resources reflect their creators’ expertise and credibility,
and are evaluated based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used. Authority
is constructed in that various communities may recognize different types of authority. It is contextual in that the
information need may help to determine the level of authority required.
• Information Creation as a Process. Information in any format is produced to convey a message and is shared via
a selected delivery method. The iterative processes of researching, creating, revising, and
disseminating information vary, and the resulting product reflects these differences.
• Information Has Value. Information possesses several dimensions of
value, including as a commodity, as a means of education, as a means to “Students need
influence, and as a means of negotiating and understanding the world. to be taught literacy
Legal and socioeconomic interests influence information production and skills: reading, writing,
dissemination. comprehension, how to
conduct research and write
• Research as Inquiry. Research is iterative and depends upon asking reports. Also, they need
increasingly complex or new questions whose answers in turn develop
additional questions or lines of inquiry in any field proficiency in mathematics.”
• Scholarship as Conversation. Communities of scholars, researchers,
or professionals engage in sustained discourse, with new insights and BCC faculty participant on
preparing students to
discoveries occurring over time as a result of varied perspectives and enter college
• Searching as Strategic Exploration. Searching for information is often
nonlinear and iterative, requiring the evaluation of a range of information sources
and the mental flexibility to pursue alternate avenues as new understanding
develops. (Association of College and Research Libraries, 2016, pp.4-9)
Recruiting participants for the BCCLHSC was not difficult; most teachers (high school and college) generally have an
interest in supporting the academic success of the students they work with. The high school teacher had to be willing to
share his or her curricular unit with the group and be open to constructive criticism. She/he did not have to be a certified
teacher, but the ideal candidate would have at least 3 years of secondary teaching experience with grades 11 or 12. For
the initial project, our goal was to recruit a high school teacher from one of the STEM disciplines; since Professor Saint
Hilaire is a college chemistry professor, we aimed to recruit a high school teacher that would complement his expertise.
The teacher could specialize in any of the Common Core subjects (STEM, social studies, and English) as long as they
were sharing a curricular unit they were currently implementing, or planned to implement in the following academic year.
Of course, having a willingness to work with librarians and an interest in supporting the high school to college transition
were also essential. Professor Saint Hilaire played the role of the college professor in all three iterations, with two in
social studies (the Progressive Movement and the American westward expansion), and one in physics. Despite the varied
disciplines, the workshop outcomes turned out to be rewarding experiences for both him and the high school participants.
Although we had to make a slight deflection from the original model, the same principles remained in place. The college
professor in the collaborative ideally will teach in a subject that complements the secondary curricular unit. If the high
school teacher teaches global history, the college professor ideally will be an instructor in one of the history courses
offered at BCC. The same is true for a chemistry high school teacher and a chemistry professor, or in English courses.
Moreover, we designated the workshop meeting times for five 2-hour sessions; we could have easily extended the group-
work time to 20 hours, but we did not have the budget to pay the participants beyond 10. We say this to prove that the
model is not etched in stone; what is important are the relationships that are established between the institutions and the
libraries that serve them.
At BCC, outreach and collaboration are supported by the school’s administration, so we were lucky to have administrative
support throughout the project. In addition, the original model included a project manager who handles all of the logistical
matters, including the recruiting of group participants. We did not have a budget for a project manager; we were responsible
for managing all of the behind-the-scenes things, such as corresponding with the business office and ensuring all of the
participants (once recruited) were paid on time, the refreshments were delivered on time, the vendors were paid, the space
we used was reserved, and there were no meeting conflicts.
We were also responsible for drafting the announcements to recruit a documentarian, a group facilitator, and the high school
educators. We reached out to the BCC teaching faculty, specifically the Education and Academic Literacy Department, for
Libraries and College Readiness 11
UPDATE, Fall 2017
“Challenging students on a regular basis to form reasoned opinions which they can back up with
real research; encouraging critical thinking strategies on material/content being taught; stu-
dent-centered discussions; peer editing.”
-High school librarian in BCC district comment on integrating research into course curriculum
our group facilitator; to the English department for our documentarian; and to multiple academic departments for the
candidate who would fill the role of the college professor. We had three different facilitators for the three iterations of
the project. Each iteration of the project required extensive marketing. Professor Sharmila Mukherjee of the BCC English
department became the group’s documentarian, and we are deeply grateful for the work she has done for us. To recruit the
high school participants, we reached out to the school librarians first, and they in turn recruited interested teachers from
their respective campuses.
The curricular units revised throughout the collaborative all offered plenty of opportunities to increase student research
and library collaborations. The first unit presented was developed for a 12th-grade American history class and was entitled
Lessons for the Progressive Movement. Among the list of assignments included, one required students to evaluate the
roles of prominent social reformers from 1880-1912. We recommended literary reviews of primary sources retrieved
from Infobase. We shared a number of biographical encyclopedia articles of prominent African Americans and women.
All of the recommended content addressed themes related to social reform, education, women’s suffrage, social gospel,
labor reform, immigration and eugenics, political corruption, conservation, political reform, African American rights, and
economics. The group brainstormed ideas on how to engage students by using CQ Researcher reports with progressive
themes like the Occupy Movement, the Living-Wage Movement, fighting urban poverty, and human rights. After introducing
the recommended resources to enhance his unit, the teacher suggested having students use the CQ Researcher reports as
a model for them to create their own report on the Progressive Movement. Creating a report similar to the ones indexed
in CQ Researcher requires math, writing, art, reading, and research. The idea of having students form debate teams in
class was considered, using gentrification as the theme to engage students. This teacher follows up with his social studies
class every semester by bringing a group of students to the BCC Library to retrieve content for their research projects. We
recommended a number of scholarly journal articles and advised that he ask students to develop an annotated bibliography.
The second unit presented to the collaborative was developed for a ninth-grade physics class and was entitled University
Heights High School: Ninth Grade History of Engineering and Inquiry. There was concern about the grade level, but the
group worked with the theory that college readiness can begin as early as the primary level. We had fun brainstorming ideas
to enhance this unit. Professor Saint Hilaire was heavily engaged since his specialty is chemistry; chemistry and physics
deal with the behavior of matter. The unit was aimed at enabling students to conceptualize “models.” The core concepts of
engineering like precision, conservation of energy, and momentum that are required to be built into mathematical models
would help students answer the following questions: How do scientists create models? How can learners develop and
use mathematical models and diagrams to describe and predict the motion of an object? Can there ever be an absence of
energy? The group strongly advised that the teacher incorporate more writing into the unit. We suggested including an
assignment in which students would use a scientific database to select a biographical encyclopedia article or a scholarly
journal article, then write a summary about what was addressed in the text. The group agreed that this was something both
secondary and college students struggled with.
Both Professor Saint Hilaire and the high school teacher gave demonstrations on how they teach a specific lesson in their
disciplines. The librarians presented teaching scaffolds from multiple sources that could be used to enhance the unit. It was
suggested, through a simulated library lesson, that students be taught how to differentiate between a credible source and
a “fake” source of information on the Internet. Professor Saint Hilaire discussed his thoughts on the importance of sharing
his college syllabus in the physics workshop: “Sharing my syllabus with the group showed what my expectations from the
students are. I learned that not all students have the same level of skills (reading, writing, and math.)” The collaborators
knew the importance of those skills in college readiness and graduation rates. The librarians emphasized using the AASL
“Wish it [library supports and curriculum] were more integrated. The support is there but needs
both faculty and library faculty to collaborate to make the support a real success story.”
-BCC faculty participant on library supports and curriculum at BCC
Libraries and College Readiness 12
UPDATE, Fall 2017
Standards for the 21st-Century Learner (American Association of School Librarians, 2007) as a tool to promote “wonder”
and “curiosity” in ninth-grade students. It was suggested that the librarians’ services be maximized to bring the high school
student into the fold of the 21st-century learner.
The third and final unit for the collaborative was developed for 11th-grade social studies and was entitled American
History of Social Justice Unit 3 - Westward Expansion. This was an especially emotional unit to revise, because the teacher
wanted to engage her students by analyzing the Trump presidency and Trump’s controversial statements about Mexican
Americans and Muslims. The group came up with plenty of ideas to get the students to utilize library resources for their
research projects. For this unit, we reached out to one of the history professors at BCC and requested he share his
course syllabus with us. The syllabus was used as a teaching tool to give high school students an idea of what to expect
upon entering college. In addition to usingthe BCC history syllabus we scanned and printed out graphs and charts from
Infobase. The recommended research topics for this unit were manifest destiny, Native American territory losses, growth
of the railroads (1850-1860), the Louisiana Purchase, the California gold rush (1848-57), the Trail of Tears, Indian
Reservations in the Midwest (1840), transfer of Indian land (1850), western expansion of the United States (1787-1867),
and the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882). The group brainstormed and proposed developing research assignments about
police brutality throughout the country. Students would be tasked to visit the U.S. Department of Justice’s web page to
retrieve statistical data on police misconduct throughout the United States; they would then schedule a day and time to
visit a police precinct in their neighborhood to interview a law enforcement official. Once the work was completed, the
students would present their findings in a PowerPoint presentation. The issue of gentrification was also discussed in this
unit; group members associated the term with modern day ethnic cleansing. The librarians shared several scholarly journal
articles and recommended assigning annotated bibliographies. Primary and secondary sources were retrieved from journals
and databases such as CQ Researcher, EBSCOhost, and Opposing Viewpoints.
The group also discussed two resources the teacher used for her class: the Stanford History Education Group and the
Debating US History Curriculum Project, which is a CUNY college readiness initiative; once users create an account
they have access to lessons, PowerPoint presentations, primary sources, quizzes, and a host of other tools to enhance
instruction. The librarians offered suggestions for using the ACRL Framework to enhance the unit and to develop an
information literacy rubric.
The librarian used a collection of resources to enhance the curricular units. Starting with the NYCDOE’s Office of Library
Services, the resources supplied by this office were
developed to support bibliographic instruction and
library/teacher collaborations. College readiness is a
team effort that requires input from both secondary
and post-secondary institutions. LibGuides are
content management tools that libraries use to share,
organize, and classify information. Leanne Ellis,
Coordinator for the NYCDOE’s Office of Library
Services Bronx Schools, and one of the original
committee members of the NYCDOE/CUNY Library
Collaborative, developed a LibGuide dedicated to
college readiness. (New York City School Library
System, 2017). The guide indexes content for
secondary librarians and educators, including
information literacy skills tutorials. This LibGuide
was referenced throughout the collaborative; all of
the high school teachers indicated that the LibGuide
contained practical resources for developing their
curricular units. The BCC Library
Libraries and College Readiness 13
UPDATE, Fall 2017
BCC Library Databases
Most academic libraries subscribe to databases designed especially for undergraduate research; some of these databases
are also appropriate for high school research. New York Public Library (NYPL) subscribes to more online resources than
New York Online Virtual Electronic Library (NOVEL), but as an academic library, BCC Library subscribes to a large selection
of online resources not available through NYPL or NOVEL. Long after the workshops have ended, we were able to share
scholarly and peer-reviewed content, specialized encyclopedia articles, primary sources, and teaching aides that would
otherwise not be available to the BCCLHSC participants or their students. The following are examples of the databases and
resources that contribute to this work.
• CQ Researcher is a social science database that • Infobase Learning Databases (Infobase) is another
indexes comprehensive reports that are made up of database made up of subject-specific databases,
guiding questions, primary sources, statistics with which users are able to search collectively for
charts and graphs, rhetorical commentary, timelines, encyclopedic content, primary sources, teaching
bibliographies, and lists of discipline-specific scaffolds, and a host of other features developed to
organizations and agencies. CQ Researcher is one support secondary and post-secondary education.
of the best resources to use for teaching because it These databases are also good for helping students
promotes inquiry-based learning, it supports literacy connect the classroom to the real world. Both provide
and writing, and the reports include content designed users with videos, interactive learning activities,
to complement multiple learning styles. experiments, biographies, dictionaries, timelines, and
• EBSCO/EBSCOhost is a scholarly literature database
• Health Reference Center Academic is a database that
made up of specialized databases that cover all academic
disciplines. It is designed for novice researchers and is designed for both nursing and allied health students.
is an ideal resource for teaching information literacy Many of the high school seniors who matriculate into
concepts and the scholarly communications process. BCC aspire to major in the health sciences: nursing,
Some of the features in EBSCO include a citation medicine, radiologic technology, pharmacy technician,
tool, search narrowing options, a citation page that biotechnology, and even forensics.
includes an abstract of the article, subject terms that
can generate new search results, and links to the • World Book Encyclopedia (World Book) is one of
journal the article is published in.
the most recognizable library resources today. Most
• Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center (Ferguson’s) is people can recall seeing the print version of World
Book in the reference section of their public library
a dynamic database that supports career readiness. when they were growing up. Today, the electronic
In addition to providing encyclopedic information on version of World Book has evolved to complement
industries and careers, it allows users to download all learning (and teaching) styles: there are multi-
sample resumes and cover letters, and it provides soft media resources, hands-on activities, and interactive
skills tutorials, information on apprenticeships and maps and atlases. World Book provides users with
internships, a career interest assessment, a college writing prompts for every step of the writing process.
planning timeline, and a professional development For librarians and educators, World Book provides
section complete with lists of professional tutorials on how to teach information literacy skills.
organizations and agencies. Ferguson’s engages
students and allows us to connect curricula to the • Learning Express/PrepSTEP (EBSCO) (Learning
professional world and support experiential learning
initiatives. Express) is a database that supports both college and
career readiness in secondary and post-secondary
• GALE Virtual Reference Library is a database made students. Learning Express is available free through
the NYPL; BCC subscribes to the 2-year college
up of encyclopedias. Encyclopedias are essential version. In the college success skills module of
resources for instruction in high school and college. Learning Express, students can work at developing
Many students come to the library with research a number of essential skills needed for academic
assignments on a breadth of topics, lacking prior achievement, like organizational strategies, classroom
knowledge on the subject. They will know what police success, information literacy, and seeking academic
brutality or human trafficking are on the surface but support. There are also modules on ACT and SAT
won’t be familiar with the history or the background preparation. Learning Express allows users to practice
of the topics, and thus may not understand the for civil service careers like nursing, law enforcement,
significance of learning about the issues. Encyclopedias teaching, and several others. There are also modules
present information that is comprehensive, factual, designed to help students develop their literacy and
and current. mathematics skills.
Libraries and College Readiness 14
UPDATE, Fall 2017
With the exception of two books in print, the majority of resources used for the BCCLHSC are in electronic format.
This does not mean that traditional print resources are obsolete or irrelevant; whenever the opportunity presents itself,
librarians teach and encourage students to utilize traditional print resources for their class work, as well as for leisure. For
our project, the use of electronic resources made sharing content with the high school participants easier.
Online research databases. In today’s libraries (school, academic, and public), research databases are varied and abundant.
For the purposes of our work, we chose databases we thought were best suited for secondary and post-secondary research.
Most research databases are created to support teaching and learning, but not all are ideal for bibliographic instruction.
JSTOR, for example, is an excellent database with strong scholarly content; however, JSTOR assumes the user has prior
knowledge with academic research and is familiar with the scholarly communications process. The BCC Library, the New
York Public Library, and New York Online Virtual Electronic Library (NOVEL) are the access points for the databases
referenced throughout the collaborative. In the interest of supporting college readiness in secondary and undergraduate
students, the participants in the collaborative felt it was best to utilize databases with the following “college readiness”
• supports language and literacy development in secondary and undergraduate students
• provides scaffolds that support critical thinking and inquiry-based learning
• has email and export features
• contains tools to help students with the writing process
• contains tools to help students with citation and avoiding plagiarism
• complements multiple learning styles and reading levels (read-aloud and language translation)
• provides hands-on and interactive features that support learning
• provides multi-media resources, images, maps, charts, graphs, and timelines
• is easy to access on or off campus
• allows users to download content onto their mobile/handheld devices
For all three iterations, the librarians in the group extracted curriculum-supporting content from each of the access points
and databases listed below. For our project, the recommended resources support teaching, learning, and research related
to the Progressive Era, physics and engineering, and the westward expansion. The resources included a variety of scholarly
journal articles appropriate for multiple reading levels, such as in-depth social science reports that teachers can break
up into segments throughout the school year, lists of professional organizations relevant to the coursework, a variety
of specialized encyclopedia articles, newspaper articles, primary sources, and, in one instance, a chapter from a print
encyclopedia available only in the BBC Library.
New York Online Virtual Electronic Library (NOVEL). NOVEL is a free online resource developed by the New York
State Library (a division of the New York State Education Department) for schools in New York State that do not have
libraries. NOVEL indexes databases designed especially for K-12 bibliographic instruction, like Academic OneFile, Opposing
Viewpoints in Context, and Scholastic GO! We introduce NOVEL to the high school teachers throughout the collaborative
and demonstrate how to access and retrieve content from selected resources. The teachers return to their classes and
demonstrate the steps for their students. The students are able to access NOVEL from school, home, or on their mobile
New York Public Library databases. The New York Public Library (NYPL) databases are another free resource available
to high school students and their teachers. The number of NYPL’s online resources surpass what is available through
NOVEL, but if a student misplaces their library card, they can use NOVEL as a backup. For the westward expansion unit,
we referenced two NYPL databases: The American Indian Experience: the American Mosaic, and Indigenous Peoples: North
America. As is the case with the databases available through BCC, these resources are designed for middle school, high
school, and undergraduate research instruction. Both contain primary sources, archives, timelines, interactive tutorials,
research paper writing guides, and citation tools to help students avoid plagiarism. The NYPL is an important component
to the collaborative. Most high schools students in New York City own library cards with NYPL. This not only allows them
to borrow books; it also allows access to NYPL’s electronic databases. Unless they are on the BCC campus, these students
cannot access BCC’s databases. In the interest of expanding the number of library resources available to the high school
students, we established a line of communication with the public librarians at NYPL branches near the schools we worked
with. We reached out to the public librarians, connected them with the teachers, made arrangements for the librarians to
visit the schools to sign students up for library cards, and demonstrated how to access the databases from home.
Libraries and College Readiness 15
UPDATE, Fall 2017
The Big6™. Big6™ is a research model co-developed by Michael Eisenberg, Professor Emeritus and Dean Emeritus at the
University of Washington’s Information School; and Bob Berkowitz, author of the Big6™ Research Notebook (Eisenberg,
2008). In a 2008 article, Eisenberg discusses how the scaffold can be used to help students with the research and writing
My own approach, the Big6, is the most widely used model in K-12 education, world-wide (www.big6.com).
With six major stages and two sub-stages under each, the Big6 covers the full range of information problem-
solving actions. The Big6 is an approach that can be used whenever people are faced with an information
problem or with making a decision that is based on information. Students -- K-12 through higher education --
encounter many information problems related to course assignments. However, the Big6 is just as applicable
to professional or personal life. (Eisenberg, 2008)
One of the most essential resources that we used in all three iterations of the BCCLHSC is a research paper organizer. As
we have indicated, students are entering college lacking writing and critical thinking skills. The research paper organizer is
a graphic organizer, a critical thinking guide, and an information literacy scaffold all in one. Based on the Big6™ research
process, the organizer is divided into six distinct sections that guide students through the research and writing process:
1) task definition, 2) information-seeking strategies, 3) location and access, 4) use of information, 5) synthesis, and 6)
evaluation (Eisenberg & Berkowitz, 2017b). Carl Andrews took the Big6™ concept and adapted it to be used with our
freshmen students at BCC. The BCC Library research paper organizer can be found on Dr. Andrews LibGuide under the
information literacy tools tab.
The great thing about Big6™ is that it can be adapted for any discipline. It is a teaching
scaffold used primarily in K-12 settings, but after Eisenberg’s first year working as an
academic librarian, he discovered that the Big6™, although developed for K-12, also
“Students need could be used with college freshmen. College instructors from multiple disciplines
to be well versed in have praised the research paper organizer for its ability to help students to think
research and writing and write like scholars. Librarians from K-16 use it because it is based on the
skills. They need a firm model of Bloom’s taxonomy and because it promotes metacognition.
grasp on technology, besides
Facebook, etc.” Color-Coded Know Your Information Sources is a color-coded graphic guide,
derived from the Big6™ collection of bibliographic instructional tools (Eisenberg
High school librarian in & Berkowitz, 2017a). Most secondary and college librarians will agree that
BCC district on preparing visuals are a great way supplement bibliographic instruction, especially since
students to enter much of jargon we use can be foreign to young adults. This resource isolates all
college of the possible information sources into colors and summarizes the information’s
type, purpose, and audience. There is not a lot to read; it’s simple and to the point.
This is the ideal resource to use when time is of the essence. We reference this guide
for all three units, and, in following up, all of the teachers are using it with their classes.
The C.R.A.P. Website Evaluation Checklist is a graphic organizer that teaches students how to think critically and to
view information with a skeptical eye (Dolinger, n.d.). The acronym stands for currency, reliability, authority, and
purpose and point of view. The C.R.A.P. Website Evaluation Checklist opens the door to
plenty of learning opportunities. All of the teachers in the BCCLHSC spoke highly of
this resource because of its ability to prompt students to fact check, especially in the “Students need
era of “fake news.” to have more high
Sample research papers. Sample research papers are an excellent teaching quality instruction
tool for writing. MLA, APA, and Chicago Turabian are foreign languages to many that encourages them to
incoming freshmen, who not only have to master the content in their classes, think critically, rather than
but also need to familiarize themselves with the library’s jargon. In all three regurgitate information.”
iterations, the issue of students’ writing ability (high school and college) was a High school librarian in
concern. The sample research papers give students something tangible to refer BCC district on preparing
to. We referenced sample research papers throughout the collaborative, and the
teachers strongly approved of their use. This resource supports the collaborative students to enter
because it models what writing at the college level looks like. college
Libraries and College Readiness 16
UPDATE, Fall 2017
Topic, Hunt, Information Evaluation, New Knowledge, and Quote
The BCC Library developed a brochure to market information literacy concepts to students and faculty titled THINQ, an
acronym for topic, hunt, information evaluation, new knowledge, and quote. Students are encouraged to use the brochure
as a reference tool for their research and writing assignments. Teaching faculty are encouraged to use the brochure to
infuse information literacy skills into their courses.
Topic • Identify and define research topics and keywords drawn from course discussions,
Determine the syllabi, and assignments
• Recognize and articulate research questions
• Develop a concise statement or problem of inquiry
• Extract the key ideas or topics from his or her statement or problem of inquiry
• Identify academic disciplines and their subject categories
• Demonstrate an understanding of matching topics and key words with official Library
of Congress subject terms
Hunt • Identify the type, status, mission(s), audiences, and purpose(s) of the author providing
Access information information
and efficiently • Identify a variety of information from authors and the value of the type of information
• Perform a general search using the key ideas drawn from his or her statement or problem
• Understand how to apply search strategies (e.g., Boolean logic, truncation, etc.), how to
identify specific subject headings in the general search results, and then how to perform
more focused and targeted searches
• Identify and use the various methods of access to and use of information in libraries and
• Perform basic and advanced searches in the CUNY libraries online catalog, and read
CUNY+ holdings information
• Search for authoritative information across the internet
• Know when to extend a search beyond our library through the use of the CLICS service,
interlibrary loan, other library catalogs, guides, or the professional expertise of librarians
Information • Distinguish between different types of resources
Evaluation • Differentiate between scholarly and non-scholarly resources
• Select the most appropriate resources based upon reliability, validity, accuracy, authority
Critically evaluate the
information and its (who wrote or authored the work), timeliness (the date the work was produced), and
objectivity (purpose or intent of the website or published work)
• Identify the intended audience, scope/coverage, and purpose of resources (e.g.,
scholarly/popular, primary/secondary, expert/lay)
• Articulate and apply initial criteria for evaluating both the information and its sources
New Knowledge • Summarize and organize the main ideas from the resources
• Synthesize main ideas to construct new concepts
Incorporate chosen • Compare new knowledge with prior knowledge to determine the value added,
information into your
own knowledge base contradictions, or other unique characteristics of the information
and learning results
• Determine whether the initial query should be revised
• Apply new and prior information to the planning and creation of a product or performance
Quote • Identify social, ethical, and economic impact provision of information sources
• Be familiar with ownership, plagiarism, and fair use concepts that impact academic
economic, legal, scholarship
and ethical issues
regarding your • Name and define the elements of citation
information use and • Identify the appropriate citation guidelines used in the discipline
access • Demonstrate correct attribution of information resources in their research products
Libraries and College Readiness 17
UPDATE, Fall 2017
Tracking a Cohort
As of now, we rely heavily on the high school participants to remain in touch with us and to keep the lines of communication
open between the BCC Library and the participant’s school. Mr. Jeffery Ellis-Lee, the social studies teacher from the first
iteration and teacher at the High School For Arts, Imagination and Inquiry (another BCC feeder), follows up every semester
by bringing a group of his 12th-grade students to the BCC Library with a research assignment. Unlike University Heights
High School, Mr. Ellis-Lee has a campus librarian who works with him to infuse the recommended scaffolds and readings
for his unit on the Progressive Era. He is an ongoing participant of the BCCLHSC, and many of the students who visit BCC
on their research field trip do plan to attend BCC upon graduation. Unfortunately, it is not a guarantee that they will in
fact matriculate into BCC, and we have no way of tracking the students who graduate from the participating schools. This
means we cannot determine if they are entering college with stronger research skills as a result of being exposed to the
Sustainability and Measurability
Implementing a collaborative that is permanent, sustainable, and measurable is another challenge. The only sure way to do
this would be to hire a college librarian designated as the high school library liaison. These librarians that work for colleges
have high schools attached to the college. In some instances the school is physically on the college’s campus. In this case,
the students have full access to the library’s research databases on and off campus 24/7. The high school library liaison’s
job, to reach out and market the library’s services to the high school, is simplified. Compiling statistics on the work she/
he does with the students and teachers is easy because they are embedded into the school’s curriculum development and
As noted earlier, we had to select teachers from disciplines other than STEM, specifically chemistry. When surveyed, both
high school teachers and librarians indicated that a college readiness program that focused on information literacy was
important, and if presented with the opportunity, they would be willing to participate in such a collaborative. The most
significant issue with recruiting the participants was their availability; most of the teachers we reached out to were not
available after school between the hours of 3:30pm - 5:30pm, and many worked at schools with extended days. One of
our potential candidates went as far as filling out the paperwork, but at the last minute had to decline because of childcare
Adding a monetary incentive certainly increased interest in the project, and as we move forward, we will continue to seek
out grant opportunities to continue implementing the BCCLHSC. The documentarian and facilitator roles require a specific
skill set. Compensation for these jobs is warranted; although unlikely, some people may enjoy doing the work without
being compensated. At CUNY, junior faculty (non-tenured) are required to be involved in service activity as part of the
tenure-track process, so they’re constantly looking for opportunities to enhance their CVs, and participation in a project
that speaks to college readiness may look attractive to teaching faculty. Recruiting secondary teachers and librarians to do
the work for free is another story.
During the last iteration of the BCCLHSC, we administered three surveys to gage our colleagues’ thoughts on the importance
of libraries, information literacy instruction, working with our high school/college counterparts, and participating in
pedagogical communities of practice, as well as their perceptions on how all of these factors relate to college readiness. The
surveys were administered to BCC teaching faculty, NYCDOE high school teachers, and NYCDOE high school librarians.
Although the survey for high school teachers was shared via email listserv to dozens of secondary teachers throughout
the Bronx, only seven teachers participated; what’s more, they (the seven) provided very few answers for the open-ended
questions. Forty BCC college faculty and 52 high school librarians participated in our survey. The survey responses speak
directly to the important work we are doing at BCC, as well as the work done at other CUNY campuses through the
NYCDOE/CUNY Library Collaborative. Responses from these surveys are highlighted throughout this article.
Libraries and College Readiness 18
UPDATE, Fall 2017
Costs and Funding
The initial work of the BCCLHSC was funded through two grants, which combined totaled $11155.00; the awards were
dispersed over three semesters. Group members were compensated for 10 hours at rates that reflected their expertise
and the role they played in the collaborative. The high school teachers and librarians were paid $50.00 per hour, the group
facilitators were paid $65.00 per hour, and the documentarian was paid $25.00 per hour. The authors did not receive
compensation since the workshops took place during our normal working hours. We also purchased supplies from Staples™
in the amount of $559.00, which lasted for all three iterations, and refreshments (coffee, bottled water, and cookies) for
$222.00 each iteration. We do plan on applying for other grants in the future but would like to try implementing the model
without grant funds. Most of the participants are genuinely interested in supporting college readiness and the work done
provides professional development for community college educators and secondary common core teachers.
The BCCLHSC has opened the door to further teaching and learning partnerships. Since the spring 2017 iteration, we have
been offered the opportunity to collaborate with other college professors who are interested in supporting this college
readiness initiative. We look forward to implementing the collaborative in the not too distant future. Currently, we are in the
process of editing a paper that details all of the work done. There is a growing body of scholarly literature that addresses
the role libraries play in the high school to college transition. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to the
American Association of School Librarians. (2007). Standards for the 21st-century learner. Washington, DC: American
Association of College and Research Libraries. (2016). Framework for information literacy for higher education.
Washington, DC: Association of College and Research Libraries.
Berkowitz, R. E., & Berkowitz, M. B. (2006). The Big6 research notebook. Worthington, OH: Linworth.
Dolinger, E. (n.d.). C.R.A.P. website evaluation checklist. Keene, NH: Author.
Eisenberg, M. B. (2008). Information literacy: Essential skills for the information age. DESIDOC Journal of Library &
Information Technology, 28(2), 39-47.
Eisenberg, M. B., & Berkowitz, R. E. (2017a). Know your information sources.
Eisenberg, M. B., & Berkowitz, R. E. (2017b). Research project organizer.
Hacker, D. (2006). The Bedford handbook. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
New York City School Library System. (2017). College readiness. New York, NY: Author.
Strang, T. (2014, November 6). The New York City DOE/CUNY library collaborative: Bridging the gap between high
school and college [Blog post].
U.S. Census Bureau. (2016). QuickFacts Selected: Bronx County (Bronx Borough), New York. Washington, DC: Author.
Copies of the curricular units, surveys and survey responses, are available by request from the authors.
Libraries and College Readiness Carl R. Andrews may be reached at [email protected]
Dickens Saint Hilaire may be reached at [email protected]
UPDATE, Fall 2017
Student Affairs in Community College Contexts
by Francena Turner, Research Assistant
Fredrick Douglass Dixon, Research Assistant
Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher, OCCRL Director
The Evolution of Student Affairs Practice
Student affairs as a field began to take cogent shape during the late 19th - early 20th century and falls into three movements
and nomenclatures: student personnel work (early 1900s - 1950s), student development (1960s - mid-1990s), and
student learning (mid-1990s - present). The early 20th century saw the rise of several professional organizations for
student personnel workers at 4-year institutions. Deans of women formed the National Association of Women Deans
(NAWD), which later became the National Association of Women in Education (NAWE) in 1916. The National Association
of Deans of Men (NADM), founded in 1919, merged with an organization for deans of students to form today’s National
Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). Still later, the National Association of Placement Secretaries
became the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). Today NASPA and the ACPA are the leading student affairs
organizations in the United States. A 1929 conference eventually lead to the first official professionalizing document for
the student affairs field. Clothier offered an early formal definition:
Personnel work in a college or university is the systematic bringing to bear on the individual student and all
those influences, of whatever nature, which will stimulate him and assist him through his own efforts, to
develop in body, mind, and character to the limit of his powers so developed most effectively to the work of
the world. (as cited in Hinton, Howard-Hamilton, & Rentz, 2011, p. 46)
Essentially student personnel work concerned itself with holism—the condition of the whole student and not solely the
student’s classroom pursuits.
In order to further define key terms and efforts in the field, a group of scholars, some from the previous conference,
produced the Student Personnel Point of View, five guiding principles that defined the field as an organization that is
holistic, is student-centered, and is an integral part of the education process (Hinton, Howard-Hamilton, & Rentz, 2011).
Here, Cowley offered a more succinct definition:
The personnel point of view is a philosophy of education which puts emphasis upon the individual student and
his all-around-development as a person rather than upon his intellectual training alone and which promotes
the establishment in educational institutions of curricular programs, methods of instruction, and extra-
instructional media to achieve such emphasis. (as cited in Hinton, Howard-Hamilton, & Rentz, 2011, p. 47)
With the advent of the 1944 GI Bill, college enrollment
exploded and community colleges grew in both
relevance and importance as student bodies swelled.
As such, student personnel workers had to expand
their views and their methods to accommodate an
ever-growing and diversifying student body that was
increasingly of color and varying levels of academic
preparation. In 1949, with the devastation of World
War II in mind, the field responded by revising the
Student Personnel Point of View to include efforts
that should lead to a global democratic citizenship and
an acknowledgement of the age, nationality, marital
status, and veteran status of student bodies (Hinton,
Howard-Hamilton, & Rentz, 2011).
1Student affairs professionals have been referred to a 20
number of ways over the years, and I use the terminology of the time in this piece.
UPDATE, Fall 2017
The Civil Rights Movements of the 1950s and 1960s further increased student, governmental, and industry expectations,
and colleges responded by shifting their focus to student development. Community college student personnel professionals
began to confer and publish articulations of their work toward that end. C. C. Collins’ 1967 report, Junior College Student
Personnel Programs—What They Are and What They Should Be, represents one of the earliest publications dedicated
to evaluating community college student affairs work. In doing so, student personnel work at the community college
level needed to be defined and the degree to which community colleges were doing that work needed to be determined.
Furthermore, the level of preparation of student personnel professionals needed to
be assessed, and appropriate policy suggestions needed to be made. In addition
to defining 21 key functions of community college personnel programs and
finding that most community colleges were not adequately performing
Student affairs comprises a those functions, the study found that there were little to no adequate
diverse array of services that graduate programs that specifically centered on community colleges as
can make a student’s educational a discrete specialization. Student personnel coursework that focused
trajectory a meaningful and swift on the traditional-aged residential student was the norm, and this
experience, including resource location, affected senior student personnel leaders’ ability to train staff from
counseling, crisis intervention, housing a student services background adequately. The team suggested
and resident life, and minority student that graduate programs offer either community-college-centered
affairs. When students’ interactions courses and or majors. It would be nearly two decades before the
with administration, faculty, and staff, next statement piece.
particularly with student affairs In the early 1980s, community colleges were experiencing more
professionals, are positive, it shapes local and national oversight amid an ever-expanding and diversifying
student body, and student development services were often working
and heightens their desire to with ever-shrinking budgets. The Traverse City Statement, the work of
succeed academically and student development leaders from community colleges from the United
States and Canada, revisited the needs and tensions in community college
student development work (Keyser, 1985). It gave local and national level
suggestions for improvements in areas such as creatively managing resources,
integrating student affairs into instructional and administrative decision-making, and
evaluating programs. In 1989, community college scholars revisited the initial recommendations in Toward the Future
Vitality of Student Development Services: Traverse City-Five Years Later (Keys, 1989). Both documents addressed
graduation programs and the academic/professional preparation of student affairs professionals.
The current movement, student learning, began in the 1990s with an increased focused on measurable outcomes. In
this movement, student affairs administrators and practitioners represent a valued entity in the success of a burgeoning
student population. Student affairs comprises a diverse array of services that can make a student’s educational trajectory
a meaningful and swift experience, including resource location, counseling, crisis intervention, housing and resident life,
and minority student affairs. When students’ interactions with administration, faculty, and staff, particularly with student
affairs professionals, are positive, it shapes and heightens their desire to succeed academically and socially. In addition, a
growing sentiment regarding the potential of student affairs to provide additional career tracks that encourage graduating
students to become higher education professionals continues to expand.
On-Ramps to the Community College Student Affairs Profession
Student affairs professionals remain responsible for creating an atmosphere that requires a connection to a vast knowledge
base of human needs. According to Ashley Knight,
Excellence is developed in community college student affairs professionals through consistent application of
the kinds of actions that are termed best practices or promising practices. Taking it one step further, evidence-
based practices are the gold standard, and these are found in institutions that habitually measure and assess
the results of their actions. (Knight, 2014, p. 6)
Student affairs professionals address pressing social justice issues imperative to student success. The profession attracts
individuals from diverse worldviews and widens the potential graduate student candidate pool (Latz, Ozaki, Royer, &
Hornak, 2016). Attracting graduate students on pathways to student affairs careers is necessary, as nearly half of all
undergraduates enrolled in postsecondary education attend community colleges (American Association of Community
Student Affairs 21
UPDATE, Fall 2017
As individuals move from early career to senior student community college context or subsume it under general
affairs positions they possess a host of experiences across practices (Biddix, Giddens, Darsey, Fricks, Tucker, &
diverse departments that correlate to the institution’s Robertson, 2012; Lunceford, 2014).
mission (Nadler, Newman, & Miller, 2011). Prior
community college leadership research shows pathways As preparation for playing a leading role in composing a
to community college student affairs positions began with competitive global workforce, community colleges in
varying levels of graduate training. However, the more concert with the field of student affairs will bear the acute
popular pathways to graduate studies in student affairs burden of widening their complex networks of servicing
and subsequent careers as student affairs professionals the unique needs of community college students. (Owens,
for many often occur from deep engagement in student Thrill, & Rockey, 2017). One means of addressing student
organizations as undergraduates (Helgot & Culp, 2005) persistence in the current college completion era is through
and/or via serendipity. advancing student affairs within 2-year contexts (Cooper,
2010; Helgot & Culp, 2005). Like Collins (1967), we see
Many student affairs and higher education administration merit in fueling the pipeline well before the graduate level
graduate programs generally offer courses that reinforce to introduce students to the importance of student support
and norm-reference 4-year collegiate contexts, and little services to the value of community college education.
if any exposure to student development and nuances of
campus life at community colleges (Kelsay & Zamani-
Gallaher, 2014). Although some higher education and
student affairs administration programs offer graduate-
level coursework specific to the community college
sector, more often than not, there is a single course
offering, and it is elective not required. There also
should be intentional partnering of student affairs and
higher education graduate programs with community
colleges that provides administrative and research
internships that place graduate students in positions
in student affairs units to gain pragmatic skills and
experience working in community college contexts and
serving community college students.
Institutions that invest in and bolster student services
will reap rewards and set the pace for community
college student success if actively working in concert
with student affairs and acknowledging student
affairs as co-curricular partners in advancing the
academic mission. While student affairs professionals
in community colleges are essential, there is a dearth
of organizations founded explicitly to meet the needs
of community college student affairs professionals.
Among the few is the National Council on Student
Development (NCSD) that advocates for and provides
professional development for community college
student development professionals. There are a few
select states that have student services organizations
to meet the professional development needs of
student affairs professionals: Iowa Community College
Student Services Association, Michigan Community
College Student Services Association, College Student
Personnel Association of New York State, and the
Texas Association of Community College Student
Affairs Administrators. Additionally, pathways to
student affairs in community colleges need to diversify
the leadership pipeline to add perspectives that aid in
better engaging the whole student while also finding
richer ways to evaluate and improve current practices.
Graduate programs in student affairs often ignore the
UPDATE, Fall 2017
American Association of Community Colleges (2017). Fast facts. Washington, DC: Author.
Biddix, J. P., Giddens, B. M., Darsey, J., Fricks, J. B., Tucker, B. D., & Robertson, J. W. (2012).Career paths and choices
leading to the senior student affairs office (SSAO) for women at community colleges. Community College
Journal of Research and Practice, 36(9), 713-732.
Collins, C. C. (1967). Junior college student personnel programs -- What they are and what they should be. Washington,
DC: American Association of Junior Colleges.
Cooper, M. (2010). Student support services at community colleges: A strategy for increasing student persistence and
attainment. Washington, DC: Institute for Higher Education Policy. White House Summit on Community Colleges.
Helfgot, S. R., & Culp, M. M. (Eds.). (2005). Community college student affairs: What really matters. Jossey-Bass.
Hinton, K., Howard-Hamilton, M., & Rentz, A. (2011). A historical perspective of higher education and student affairs:
Transitions and transformation. In N. Zhang (Ed.), Rentz’s student affairs practice in higher education, 4th edition
(pp. 30-62). Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher’s LTD.
Kelsay, L. S., & Zamani-Gallaher, E. M. (2014). Preface. In L. S. Kelsay & E. M. ZamaniGallaher (Eds.), Working with
students in community colleges: Contemporary strategies for bridging theory, research, and practice (pp. xv-xvi).
Sterling VA: Stylus Publishing.
Keys, Robert C. (1989). Toward the future vitality of student development services: Traverse City-twenty-five years later.
Traverse City, MI: National Council on Student Development.
Keyser, J. (1984). Traverse City statement: Toward the future vitality of student development services. Traverse City:
National Council on Student Development.
Knight, A. (2014). Excellence in community college student affairs. New Directions for Community Colleges, 166, 5-12.
Latz, A. O., Ozaki, C. C., Royer, D. W., & Hornak, A. M. (2017). Student affairs professionals in the community college:
Critically examining preparation programs from a social justice lens. Community College Journal of Research and
Practice, 41(11), 733-746.
Lunceford, C. (2014). It takes a village: The role of the individual, organization, and professional in the preparing new
professionals. New Directions for Community Colleges, 166, 13-20.
Nadler, D. P., Newman, R. & Miller, M. T. (2012). Leadership development on the college campus: The student affairs
conundrum. e-Journal of Organizational Learning and Leadership.
Owens, D., Thrill, C., & Rocky, M., (2017, June). Equity and student services. FEATURE on Research and Leadership,
Student Affairs Francena Turner may be reached at [email protected]
Fredrick Douglass Dixon may be reached at [email protected]
Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher may be reached at [email protected]
UPDATE, Fall 2017
Community Colleges, the Racialized Climate, and Engaging
Diverse Views Through Intergroup Dialogue
by Chaddrick Gallaway, Research Assistant
Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher, OCCRL Director
Following the 2008 election of President Barack Obama, the United States’ first Black president, many questioned whether
we entered a post-racial society (Bonilla-Silva, 2015; Hurtado, Alvarado, & Guillermo-Wann, 2015). However, the murder
of Trayvon Martin on February 12, 2012, placed a spotlight on salience of race, racial inequality, and racism. A national
conversation ensued as President Obama expressed his concern and how it resonated with him, stating, “If I had a son he’d
look like Trayvon; when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids.” Acts of violence and police brutality resulting in
the deaths of unarmed people of color are a national issue, increasingly commonplace, and not isolated events, as evident
in the deaths of Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Eric Gardner, Sandra Bland, and countless others.
Race Matters: Changing Demographics and College Campuses
Systemic racism permeates every facet of society. The how “chilly” campus climates and racially charged obvious
issues that people from marginalized communities face and subtle encounters can be harmful to members of
do not disappear when they step on a college campus. marginalized, racially minoritized communities in particular
There is a racialized reality on campuses. From the killing to transitioning to higher education, student outcomes,
of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown that launched and faculty/staff satisfaction and retention (Hurtado &
the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and sparked the Ponjuan, 2005; Locks, Hurtado, Bowman, & Oseguera
galvanizing of the Concerned Student 1950 group at 2008; Smith, Allen, & Danley, 2007; Stevenson & Zamani-
the University of Missouri to protest racism on campus, Gallaher, 2016). These conditions amount to what Branch
to open displays of racists acts as white supremacists (2001) labels a discriminatory campus climate.
penetrated the University of Virginia doing Nazi salutes
while chanting, “White Lives Matter,”, “You will not replace In consideration of the legacy of racism and discrimination
us,” and “Blood and Soil.” In recent years, the growing endured in society and postsecondary contexts, the
racial antipathy that has surfaced on college campuses has tenets of critical race theory (CRT) are an instructive
resulted in student activism (e.g., BLM) to challenge framework to use to examine the environment and
hostile hallways and chilly campus climates. experiences of faculty, staff, and students of
There is mobilization among student groups color at community colleges. CRT’s approach
on all sides of the racial divide that has There are a range of engages in exposing patterns of racial
come to the surface. Hence, a heightened compelling interests exclusion and exploring more subtle, but
discussion of racial issues is occurring on and cause to discuss just as deeply entrenched, racism that
campuses across the nation. race, racism, and race manifests in postsecondary contexts
relations, especially at (Bowman & Smith, 2002; Delgado &
Educators must be ready to understand community colleges Stefancic, 2017; Parker & Lynn, 2002).
how to have conversations about given the critical mass Additionally, racial battle fatigue as a
race and other social identities and be of students of color practical extension of CRT (Smith, 2010;
prepared for them when they occur. Smith, Allen, & Danley, 2007; Stevenson
As over half of all African-American enrolled. & Zamani-Gallaher, 2016) reflects the
and Latinx students in higher education subtle and overt discrimination experienced
are enrolled in community colleges, policies by students, faculty, administrators, and
and programs that promote racial parity are staff of color and how the manifestation of its
crucial. Previous research illustrates that one means ongoing impact results in psychological, behavioral, and
to affirm diversity is by diversifying faculties to be more physiological racialized strain on marginalized groups. The
representative of the student population (Bower, 2002; vast majority of 2- and 4-year institutions of higher learning
Harvey, 1994; Smith, 2015). Yet, African American and are historically and predominantly white institutions with
Latinx faculty remain disproportionately underrepresented campus climates that create racial battle fatigue for many
on 2- and 4-year college faculties (Harvey, 1994; Kelly, people of color (Smith, 2010).
Gayles, & Williams, 2017; Turner, 2015). Faculty and
students of color contend with racism and discrimination in There is a need to center the institutional climate for
academia as a microcosm of society, resulting in differential diversity and the racialized environment at community
racial ideologies and strained race-relations (Bowman colleges given the noticeable gap in the literature. There
& Smith, 2002; Orelus, 2013). The literature documents are a range of compelling interests and cause to discuss
Engaging Diverse Views 24
UPDATE, Fall 2017
race, racism, and race relations, especially at community colleges given the
critical mass of students of color enrolled. Hence, how are community college
educators dealing with issues of diversity emerging on campus, and how do
they address unrest as exhibited in society and on campuses? The topic of
campus diversity, student unrest, and activism has been scant in the 2-year
college literature. Intergroup dialogue (IGD) could possibly mitigate such
conditions at community colleges. However, little to no attention has been paid
to studies or community college programs that incorporate IGD in response to
addressing campus climate concerns and race relations at the 2-year college
Creating Critical Social Awareness through IGD
IGD is a practice used in higher education that encourages student engagement across cultural and social differences to
stimulate/promote students learning about social-identity based inequities, while showing the importance of everyone’s
role in social justice issues (Gurin, Nagda, & Zúñiga, 2013; Zúñiga, Nagda, Chesler, & Cytron-Walker, 2007). IGD has
grown into its own facet of diversity education due to the need to prepare college students to live and work in a diversifying
world. It is predominantly defined as an approach used to get students from different social identity groups to communicate
using face-to-face facilitated interactions over a sustained period of time (Zúñiga, Nagda, Chesler, & Cytron-Walker,
2007). During IGD sessions students work to understand their similarities and differences based on their social identity
makeup, along with understanding how inequalities exist for certain groups of people, and also how the students should
work together in order to improve relations between privileged and minoritized groups.
Identity, Privilege, and the Foundations of Intergroup Relations
The Program on Intergroup Relations was founded at The University of Michigan in the late 1980’s (Gurin, Nagda, &
Zúñiga, 2013). Its focus is to provide students with tools to dialogue and investigate their own social identities as well
as other social identities and their role in institutionally and structurally based oppression, power, and privilege by taking
diversity-of-education-based courses (Schoem & Hurtado, 2001; Zúñiga, Nagda, Chesler & Cytron-Walker, 2007).
Diversity-of-education-based courses, known as IGD classes, are offered in a litany of topics such as race/ethnicity,
gender, socioeconomic class, religion, sexual orientation conflict, etc. IGD provides a structured environment for students
to dialogue on social identity while earning college credit. During IGD, students are expected to complete weekly academic
and anecdotal readings about that week’s topic, while also participating in multiple exercises that are used to garner personal
experiences that are related to the dialogue topic.
Educational Goals of IGD
An overarching goal of IGD is to close gaps of conflict between diverse social identity backgrounds by building common
ground between groups of people (Zúñiga, Lopez, & Ford, 2014). Bringing IGD to a college campus is one way in which we
can bring people (college students) together in order to communicate and hold conversations about issues that showcase
why it is difficult for people of different social identity groups to coexist, bridge, build, or find common ground. IGD seeks
to raise consciousness, aid in finding common ground across differences, and promote social justice through individual
practice. Consciousness raising within IGD seeks to raise the consciousness of all dialogue participants when it comes to
understanding their own privilege and oppression as well as that of others. For a true dialogue to occur everyone in the
dialogue must understand how their own social group plays a role in privilege or oppression (Cabrera, 2014; Zúñiga, Lopez,
& Ford, 2014). In terms of relationship building, bridging people across differences is important to building relationships
across two or more social identity groups that have historically been in conflict (Zúñiga, Nagda, Chesler, & Cytron-Walker,
2007). For example, this could be students bridging a connection across race (white people and people of color), gender
(men, women, and gender nonconforming), or religion (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Atheism). Due to IGD’s focus
on people’s individual learning, along with their social identity group membership, how participants interact positively
or negativity to each other affects the relationship of bridge building. It is important to note that IGD recognizes the
IGD seeks to raise consciousness, aid in finding common ground across differences, and promote
social justice through individual practice. Consciousness raising within IGD seeks to raise the
consciousness of all dialogue participants when it comes to understanding their own privilege and
oppression as well as that of others.
Engaging Diverse Views 25
UPDATE, Fall 2017
relationships people forge based off their social identity group memberships (Zúñiga, Nagda, Chesler, & Cytron-Walker,
2007). The most important factor in bridge building is building a strong magnitude for sustainable communication. This
means that in order to have a strong, dialogue filled, rigorous conversations around social identities there has to be a
stamina built up for these conversations.
IGD is also designed to strengthen individual and collective capacities to advocate for social justice (Zúñiga, Nagda, Chesler,
& Cytron-Walker, 2007; Zúñiga, Lopez, & Ford, 2014). This goal is made possible because of dialogue participants opening
themselves up and challenging their preconceived notions around privilege and oppression through consciousness raising,
along with building bridges across differences. After completing the dialogue process participants should have a raised
awareness around social identity issues and because of their consciousness raising a commitment to social change. The
importance of bridge building is that it provides participants inside and outside of social identity groups with the capacity
to not only challenge and improve intergroup relations within systems/structures but also promote the importance of
sustainable and equitable outcomes. All of these goals inside of IGD are reached by the use of a sequential model that is
based on working through multiple stages of social identity development:
Stage 1 - Group Beginnings: Forming and Building Relationships,
Stage 2 - Exploring Differences and Commonalities of Experiences,
Stage 3 - Exploring and Dialoging about Hot Topics, and
Stage 4 - Action Planning and Alliance Building (Zúñiga, Nagda, Chesler, & Cytron-Walker, 2007).
While this model is framed in stages, social identity development is not static and stepwise but fluid in nature. IGD attempts
to raise awareness of personal identity, oppression, and privilege through critical conversations about social justice and
social identities across difference. IGD has many implications for practice, programming, policy, and future study in relation
to the community college context as it can offer insight into the conditions that generate and maintain racially hostile
conditions not directly addressed or overlooked. IGD is one strategy that may illuminate institutional inequities and campus
climate concerns and may aid in informing what approaches could mitigate race-related stressors for racially minoritized
communities on campus.
What are the consequences of little faculty diversity at 2-year institutions? What strategies can community colleges
implement to reduce the racialized role strain and racial microaggressions faced by people of color on campus? How can
IGD be incorporated to facilitate culturally congruent campus contexts? These are contemporary concerns yet have been
perennial problems at many colleges. According to Burke (2013), there are five steps in order
to provide an enriching diverse climate on community college campuses. The first
step is to understand what diversity means for the context of your college and
community. The demographics of students along with their “cultural similarities
and differences” will shape how a community or group of people will define As colleges increasingly
and shape cultural norms. Because community colleges are instrumental in struggle to deal with the
providing a strong educational voice within each community, community complexity of race, identity,
colleges can have important role in shaping cultural norms not only on diversity, equity, and inclusion,
campus but also in their surrounding communities. Paying attention to it is incumbent that institutions
diversity matters, actively being inclusive, and engaging in equity-minded of higher education provide
practices on community college campuses are important in providing opportunities for students, staff,
culturally responsive and welcoming campus environments. faculty, and administrators to
Gaining tools in facilitating identity-based conversations to engage across develop collaborative means
difference is an important skillset. As colleges increasingly struggle to of actively dealing with the
deal with the complexity of race, identity, diversity, equity, and inclusion,
dilemma in difference.
it is incumbent that institutions of higher education provide opportunities for
students, staff, faculty, and administrators to develop collaborative means of
actively dealing with the dilemma in difference. The racial tensions playing out in the
larger society at present are not segregated from racialized struggles on our campuses, 2-
and 4-year alike. It is essential that campus climate and racial diversity considerations not be relegated to recruitment and
retention alone but that expectancies that embed ethos of care advance racially just and equitable learning imperatives.
Engaging Diverse Views 26
UPDATE, Fall 2017
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Research and Practice, 37(11), 839-843.
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victimization, and recreating White supremacy. Race Ethnicity and Education, 17(1), 30-55.
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Education, 4(3), 235-251.
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students’ transition to college. The Review of Higher Education, 31(3), 257-285.
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and racial profiling through the lens of Critical Race Theory. Current Issues in Education, 16(2), 1-10.
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qualitative research methodology and epistemology. Qualitative inquiry, 8(1), 7-22.
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Chaddrick Gallaway may be reached at [email protected]
Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher may be reached at [email protected]
Engaging Diverse Views 27
Office of Community College Research and Leadership
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign Office: 51 Gerty Drive, Champaign, IL 61820
Chicago Office: 200 South Wacker Drive, 19th Floor, Chicago, IL 60606
Email: [email protected]