Hardback
December 7, 2021
9781421442075
English
352
114468
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.16 Inches (US)
$32.95 USD, £24.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
December 7, 2021
9781421442082
9781421442075
English
352
114468
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$32.95 USD, £24.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

The Costs of Completion

Student Success in Community College

To improve community college success, we need to consider the lived realities of students.

Our nation's community colleges are facing a completion crisis. The college-going experience of too many students is interrupted, lengthening their time to completing a degree—or worse, causing many to drop out altogether. In The Costs of Completion, Robin G. Isserles contextualizes this crisis by placing blame on the neoliberal policies that have shaped public community colleges over the past thirty years. The disinvestment of state funding, she explains, has created austerity conditions, leading to an overreliance on contingent labor, excessive investments in advisement technologies, and a push to performance outcomes like retention and graduation rates for measuring student and institutional success.

The prevailing theory at the root of the community college completion crisis—academic momentum—suggests that students need to build momentum in their first year by becoming academically integrated, thereby increasing their chances of graduating in a timely fashion. A host of what Isserles terms "innovative disruptions" have been implemented as a way to improve on community college completion, but because disruptions are primarily driven by degree attainment, Isserles argues that they place learning and developing as afterthoughts while ignoring the complex lives that define so many community college students.

Drawing on more than twenty years of teaching, advising, and researching largely first-generation community college students as well as an analysis of five years of student enrollment patterns, college experiences, and life narratives, Isserles takes pains to center students and their experiences. She proposes initiatives created in accordance with a care ethic, which strive to not only get students through college—quantifying credit accumulation and the like—but also enable our most precarious students to flourish in a college environment. Ultimately, The Costs of Completion offers a deeper, more complex understanding of who community college students are, why and how they enroll, and what higher education institutions can do to better support them.

About the Author

Robin G. Isserles is a professor of sociology at the Borough of Manhattan Community College of the City University of New York.

Endorsements

"Robin Isserles offers a sociological perspective of community college through the lens of a scholar and practitioner who has been engaged in these contexts for decades. Full of rich data and insider insights from different angles, this book is a much-needed examination of power dynamics related to community colleges as well as the narratives surrounding students and teachers."

- Lori Ann Noll, Associate Director, Urban Teaching Residency, University of Pennsylvania

"This book does a wonderful job of unlocking the complex web of reforms, actors, and initiatives that aim to help community college students complete college."

- Richard Anthony Baker, Executive Director for Institutional Equity, EO/AA and Title IX Coordinator, Rice University

"Higher education often forgets that Maslow comes before Bloom, and that students are humans first. These ideas, central to the #RealCollege movement, are centered in Robin Isserles's new book, which deepens our understandings and in turn our efforts to support the whole community college student. Every edu-reformer should pause and read this book."

- Sara Goldrick-Rab, President/Founder, Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice

"Professor Isserles provides a wake-up call to all laboring for community college student success. Underscoring ways in which researchers unwittingly gloss the cornucopia of student lives, Professor Isserles provides a corrective analysis that enables policy makers and practitioners to reconstruct community colleges so that they address the multiplicity of student needs."

- David L. Levinson, Interim President, Connecticut State Community College

"Isserles provides the most comprehensive discussion of community colleges to date. By examining programs like the Excelsior program and for-profit partnerships, Isserles paints a nuanced picture of how all areas of academia touch community colleges. At its heart, it is a reminder that diverse, well-rounded, and progressive education is essential."

- Myron T. Strong, Community College of Baltimore County

"In The Costs of Completion, Isserles takes a deep look into structural problems that face community colleges in the US and provides sound sociological solutions to enhance student success. Since the vast majority of high school students who continue their education go to community colleges, Isserles's work is essential reading for those who care about educating the next generation of students to become productive citizens in American society."

- Jeffery Chin, Le Moyne College

"Robin Isserles, drawing on twenty-plus years in the classroom and on her fine sociological imagination, exposes the misunderstood complexities of community college students' lives and learning. She shows how recent reforms make the colleges themselves barriers to success. Policymakers should heed her message: creating more caring institutions can work."

- Joan C. Tronto, University of Minnesota / City University of New York
Johns Hopkins University Press
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