Los Angeles, Calif. – Eight community colleges across the U.S. have been selected to participate in the Institute for Evidence-Based Change’s (IEBC) Caring Campus initiative, joining others who are funded through a $600,000 grant provided by the ECMC Foundation, a nationally focused foundation investing in initiatives that improve educational outcomes and support post-secondary education and career success among underserved populations.
Participating colleges, which will implement Caring Campus for faculty or staff, include:
- Lawson State Community College, Birmingham, Alabama
- University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, Batesville, Arkansas
- Arkansas State University Newport, Newport, Arkansas
- Pasco-Hernando State College, New Port Richey, Florida
- Bossier Parish Community College, Bossier City, Louisiana
- San Juan College, Farmington, New Mexico
- Santa Fe Community College, Santa Fe, New Mexico
- Community College of Rhode Island, Warwick, Rhode Island
According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, national community college enrollment declined 5.6 percent in fall 2021, after declining nine percent in fall 2020. The cumulative decline since fall 2019, is 14.1 percent, with the sharpest declines at campuses with a greater percentage of low-income and racially diverse student populations. The freshman class of 2021 is now 20.8% below the number for the freshman class in 2019. “Course retention and success has never been more important, and this is precisely what Caring Campus can address. We know there are common behaviors that better connect students with staff and faculty,” said Brad Phillips, President and CEO of IEBC.
“Oftentimes, campus climates can feel chilly towards students from underrepresented backgrounds, which leads to feelings of further marginalization and disconnect. The attrition of these students in particular perpetuates the inequality and inaccessibility of postsecondary education for all,” said Sarah Belnick, Sr. Program Director for College Success at ECMC Foundation. “ECMC Foundation wholeheartedly supports IEBC’s push for institutional change and reform through their Caring Campus model.”
Caring Campus recognizes and leverages the value of connectedness to increase the likelihood that students will continue towards, and succeed in attaining, their educational goals. Faculty and staff interactions with students can set the stage for successful enrollment, persistence, and completion. It is particularly important for students from historically underserved populations and students less familiar with college to feel welcome and that they belong in college.
IEBC coaches began with orientation sessions for leadership at the eight campuses in fall 2021. Coaching will continue into the Spring 2022 semester. To accommodate the need for flexible options due to the pandemic, IEBC coaches have experience successfully implementing Caring Campus in an on-campus, virtual, or hybrid coaching environment.
Over 70 colleges are implementing Caring Campus around the country. Colleges see improvements in course retention and success, increased term to term persistence, and improved completion and transfer. Achievement gaps are being closed rapidly among participant campus populations. Employee morale is up, as well, despite the impact of the ongoing pandemic.
With funding from ECMC, the Caring Campus program requires little to no resource commitmentfrom the colleges, driving behavior changes that improve and enhance the many student success initiatives already being implemented at colleges in an easy to scale, cost-effective way.
About ECMC Foundation (ECMC)
ECMC Foundation is a Los Angeles-based, nationally focused foundation whose mission is to inspire and to facilitate improvements that affect educational outcomes—especially among underserved populations—through evidence-based innovation. It is one of several affiliates under the ECMC Group enterprise based in Minneapolis. ECMC Foundation makes investments in two focus areas: College Success and Career Readiness; and uses a spectrum of funding structures, including strategic grantmaking and program-related investments, to invest in both nonprofit and for-profit ventures. Working with grantees, partners and peers, ECMC Foundation’s vision is for all learners to unlock their fullest potential. Learn more about ECMC Foundation by visiting www.ecmcfoundation.org and ECMC Group by visiting www.ecmcgroup.org