The community college field is evolving dramatically. It has been 10 years since the Center for Community College Student Engagement presented results from the first national administration of its flagship survey. Over the past decade, institutions enrolling more than 80% of U.S. community college students have used Center surveys to assess their students’ engagement so they can improve institutional practice and student outcomes. This focus on engagement is one of many changes in the ways community colleges are using data to understand and improve the educational experiences of their students.
Now, as colleges increasingly understand the importance of intentionally engaging students, the field must turn to the game-changing challenge: bringing high-impact practices to scale as part of a concerted effort to increase college completion rates. In an era of growing demand, shrinking budgets, and greater accountability, meeting this challenge requires singular focus. Colleges must make decisions—about every hour spent, every dollar allocated, every policy set, and every practice implemented—based on whether those decisions will make engagement inescapable for large numbers of their students.