The higher education reform movement known as “the completion agenda” seeks to significantly increase the number of students graduating from college. This is certainly an important goal. Yet as many higher education professionals have pointed out, the completion agenda’s singular focus on “time to degree” may emphasize efficiency to the detriment of high-quality learning (Humphreys 2012). Aware of these critiques, community colleges are seeking innovative ways to increase graduation rates while also improving the quality of student learning. Campus Compact’s Connect2Complete (C2C) program aims to reach this goal by creating new, community-oriented models that support student success. Read more here….
Peer Advocate Fausto introduces himself to his C2C students enrolled in the college College Survival Skills course he is partnered with.
Section 4, Program Evaluation, provides resources for conducting a C2C evaluation, including information on measuring program impact and the C2C Evaluation Report from the C2C pilot program. While program evaluation is included near the end of the Resource Guide, it’s important to note that evaluation is not an event that occurs at the end of a project; rather, it’s an ongoing process that should start at the outset, with systems put in place to support evaluation in the early stages of program planning. /wp-content/uploads/2015/04/C2C_resourcebook-section22.214.171.124.pdf
Section 3, Program Administration, includes resources for planning and managing a C2C program. While this section addresses faculty and peer advocate roles, it focuses more closely on the administrator’s role. This section offers resources for planning and launching a C2C program on campus, including information on assessing readiness, staffing, structuring, and budgeting for such a program. It also provides resources for recruiting and supporting faculty as well as for recruiting, screening, training, and supporting peer advocates. /wp-content/uploads/2015/04/C2C_resourcebook-section126.96.36.199.pdf
Section 2, Implementing C2C in the Classroom, presents a comprehensive view of what C2C looks like in the classroom. It begins with two documents that explore considerations for faculty implementing the C2C strategy in their developmental education and college success courses: how to implement service-learning with a particularly vulnerable population, and approaches for integrating the C2C strategy into redesigned developmental education courses. The section also offers sample materials for supporting faculty and peer advocates in integrating C2C into the classroom, including faculty-created descriptions of peer-assisted service-learning coursework and activities. /wp-content/uploads/2015/04/C2C_resourcebook-section188.8.131.52.pdf
Section 1, The C2C Model, provides readers with a high-level understanding of the C2C strategy. It begins with an overview that paints a picture of what the program looks like on the ground. A review of the theory and assumptions underlying C2C connects theory with outcomes for participants. Discussions of service-learning and peer advocacy summarize research on the positive impact of these approaches on student success, review the integrated C2C approach in depth, and lay the foundation for C2C implementation (explored in later sections).
An overview of the C2C program at Tallahassee Community College (TCC) produced by TCC television station.
Peer Advocate Profile: After serving in the United States Air Force from 1987 to 1990, Tim Paulson worked in construction for years until his sister encouraged him to think about college. Although he has earned a 3.9 GPA, coming in as a nontraditional student was a challenge, he says. “I was excited about being a college student, but I had a lot of apprehensions, being quite a bit older than everyone.” To get acclimated, he enrolled in a college survival skills course that utilized a C2C peer advocate. Within a few weeks, Paulson was asked to consider becoming a peer…
Peer Advocate Profile: After struggling with addiction for many years, Tara Foxworth-Appling entered recovery ready to do something different with her life. Enrolling in college was part of her solution. After being out of school for 20 years, she was not prepared for the challenges being in college would bring; on her very first day, she was late and missed her first class. Instead of giving up, she sought help from a student ambassador who took her to see the professor to explain. When the professor cried with her, she knew she had made the right choice. Foxworth-Appling became a…
Student Profile: When Linda Bell arrived at Tallahassee Community College after 25 years out of school, she was uncertain about whether she would succeed. To help her prepare, the college placed her in developmental math and English classes and in a college success course, but she still felt she was struggling. When her college success instructor encouraged Bell to join the C2C program, it made all the difference. “I was beginning to give up until I learned about this program,” she says. Now, “Connect2Complete keeps me going.” C2C peer advocates have helped Bell choose courses, improve her computer skills, learn…
Faculty Profile: After just one semester of being involved with Connect2Complete at Lorain County Community College (LCCC), Professor Jennifer Hirz already sees the difference service-learning and peer advocacy can make. “Students are seeing leadership on campus and what that looks like directly. Students want to be more engaged in the community,” she explains. “They are more willing to engage in the college—they aren’t just the student who comes and then leaves after class.” With the support of peer advocates in her developmental math courses, students connect with campus resources, learn about topics like study skills and organization, and engage in…
Faculty Profile: At Miami Dade College, Professor Eddie Chapman supports new students in their transition to college through a specialized college success course. He also teaches a leadership development course, which helps train peer advocates to serve in the C2C program before they’re paired with C2C students. “Their role is to help students get acquainted with the school,” explains Chapman. “It’s someone students know they can go to on a peer level, a familiar face.” Chapman guides the peer advocates and their mentees in developing service-learning projects in areas such as advocacy against human trafficking and hunger and homelessness awareness….
Faculty Profile: After being involved in C2C for three semesters at Cuyahoga Community College, Professor Danita White is “sold” on utilizing a combination of peer advocacy and service-learning in her developmental English courses. Having a peer advocate (Tara Foxworth-Appling, profiled above) in the classroom provides students with a role model, says White. “In developmental education, students don’t know how to be a good student. Tara models that behavior and shows students, ‘I’ve been where you are, here’s where I am now, and here’s how I got here.’” In addition to helping students develop self-efficacy, Foxworth-Appling provides students with time management…
Peer Advocate Profile: Danilo Bustamante decided to attend Green River Community College to better his life and his ability to support his family. “Education can help shape your character, and I didn’t want to worry about money all the time,” he says. Despite moving to the United States from Chile only a few years before starting at Green River, Bustamente was determined to persevere through challenging courses while also working to improve his English. Looking to gain additional experiences on campus and to help others while developing his own skills, Bustamente joined C2C as a peer advocate. Through the program,…
Faculty Profile: After being involved in C2C at Edmonds Community College for five quarters, Professor Daniel Griesbach sees service-learning as something he hopes to utilize beyond Connect2Complete. “It’s helped me to help students achieve college success,” he notes. C2C students at Edmonds participate in a variety of service-learning projects that contribute to the campus community, including working with the campus Green Team, supporting the college’s Community Garden, and engaging in projects with the Learn and Serve Environmental Anthropology Field (LEAF) School. Griesbach explains, “Our projects are about finding solutions and making a difference.” C2C has made a real impact on…
Peer Advocate Profile: As a C2C peer advocate, Christina Perry has provided guidance, mentorship, and support to countless students at Owens Community College. At 24 years old, Perry loves being on campus and helping “one student at a time, from the bottom up.” Six years ago, Perry attempted to get her degree at Owens but was unsuccessful. At that time, she explains, “I dropped out because I wasn’t prepared for being held accountable and for being in classes all the time, at a higher level than high school.” She has come back with a renewed vision for her future that…
Peer Advocate Profile: Breanna McCoy is a Dean’s List student at Tallahassee Community College majoring in criminal justice and sociology, but she hasn’t always done so well. “I didn’t feel prepared for college,” she remembers. She pushed herself, though, wanting to be first in her family to get a college degree. She became a C2C peer advocate because “I wanted to help students navigate the system” that she had found confusing. One of the most memorable parts of being a peer advocate has been organizing a campus garden project for C2C students. The experience made a huge difference in helping…
The chapter, “Connect2Complete: Combining Service-Learning and Peer Advocates to Increase Student Success in Developmental Education,” is co-authored by Shana Berger, C2C Program Director at Campus Compact and Donna Duffy, Professor of Psychology at Middlesex Community College in Bedford and Lowell, Massachusetts. The book examines theoretical and empirical studies of service-learning at community colleges and makes the argument that service-learning can have a profound impact on the students who experience it. http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/servicelearning-at-the-american-community-college-amy-e-traver/?K=9781137361707
Tallahassee Community College (TCC) is one of nine community colleges nationwide selected for Campus Compact’s Connect2Complete (C2C) pilot program. Through two distinct strategies—course-based peer-to peer advocacy and peer-assisted service-learning—C2C supports vulnerable students in achieving academic success and credential completion while they actively engage with their peers, their college, and their broader community. These strategies encourage academic development, social integration, personal development, and civic consciousness—all key factors for student persistence. At TCC, C2C has inspired a college-wide culture of change, and the program has proved to be the catalyst for including service-learning and civic engagement in the College’s strategic plan. C2C…
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