Community College Research Initiatives

Conference Presentations

The Community College Research Initiative team travel around the country to present our research at conferences. A list of all the conferences we attended this year are added below.

Faculty Development to Obtain Student Success: Learning Across National Science Foundation Grant Projects

Ready or Not? An Analysis of College and Career Readiness Emphasis in Every Student Succeeds Act State Plans
Friday, April 13, 4:05 to 5:35pm, New York Hilton Midtown, Second Floor, Gibson Suite

Presented by: Don Hackmann, Joel Malin, & Debra Bragg. This study examined the extent to which college and career readiness (CCR) is emphasized in ESSA state accountability plans using Critical Policy Analysis to study 52 plans (50 states, DC, Puerto Rico). Findings disclose most states identified CCR components as part of their school quality or student success indicators; however, few used ESSA to restructure their state initiatives to address persistent inequities.

Image of NSF presentation: Faculty development to obtain student success: learning across national science foundation grant projects

How Curriculum Word Redefines Technical Faculty Roles in the Community College
Sunday, April 15, 10:35am to 12:05pm, New York Marriott Marquis, Fourth Floor, O’Neil

Presented by: Debra Bragg. This study examined the change in roles for faculty who received seed-funding grants to develop technical curriculum for their institutions and an NSF-funded regional center called the Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT). Results provide an in-depth look at how and what community college technical faculty who are persistently invisible in the higher education literature learned from the intensive seed-funding process that required they conduct research, design new courses, pilot instructional materials, and disseminate their work. Download our handout.


Debra Bragg, Director of CCRI, is leading the upcoming design lab at the Community College Baccalaureate Association (CCBA) conference in Washington DC on March 16-18, 2018.

The design lab addresses questions such as: What are AB degrees? What forms do they take in community college and university settings? What roles should community colleges and universities play in implementing these degrees? How should the impact of AB degrees be evaluated?

AB Design Lab: Building an Objective Business Case for Applied Baccalaureate Degrees
Debra Bragg, Director, Community College Research Initiatives, University of Washington; Mary Alice McCarthy, Director, Education and Skills, New America; Brian Durham, Deputy Director of Academic Affairs, Illinois Community College Board.

This session will focus on a new research collaboration that is focusing on filling gaps in what states and institutions need to know to build a successful business case for applied baccalaureate degrees. The session will focus on questions that need to be asked, data that need to be collected, and perspectives (favorable and unfavorable) that need to be addressed.

AB Design Lab: Evaluation and Continuous Improvement of Baccalaureate Degree Programs
Maria Soler, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Melissa Cominole, Senior Research Associate, RTI International

This session presents information gathered through a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to evaluate implementation of AB degrees in STEM fields and the annual AB degree evaluation conducted by Washington State. Examples of evaluation methods and tools will be shared, with Q&A on how to proceed with meaningful evaluation approaches.


NISTS, National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students, 16th Annual Conference, February 7-9, 2018

The National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (NISTS) exists to improve the lives of transfer students. Through research, education, and service, we support professionals who directly serve transfer students, as well as those who create transfer policy and conduct transfer-related research. The CCRI team presented in three sessions.

Strategies to Increase Transfer Student Success via Reverse Transfer and Degree Reclamation (Transfer Policy, Current Research)
February 8, 2018, 8:30am – 9:30am, Plenary Session

States and institutions around the country have developed and implemented policies such as reverse transfer and degree reclamation that are intended to help transfer students and students with “some college, no degree” complete their degrees. This session will share lessons learned and best practices from both the Credit When It’s Due (CWID) initiative and Project Win-Win, which conferred over 20,000 associate’s degrees to students. The session will also discuss opportunities to scale degree reclamation strategies across institutions and states.

Transfer Matters: New Research on Transfer Types, Participation, Pathways, and Policy
February 8, 2018, 1:45pm – 2:45pm, Concurrent V, Salon G

This panel discussion will bring together editors and contributors of Community College Review’s recent special issue on transfer students. The idea for the special issue was born from a meeting held at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2016, where a group of scholars discussed the common and traditional set of policies and practices advanced to facilitate successful transfer: common core, course numbering, transferrable two-year degrees, and articulation agreements. What emerged was a discussion of new and innovative inquiry to advance understanding on transfer types, access and participation in transfer, effective pathways and partnerships, and transfer policy with the intent of informing future transfer student success efforts. Special issue editors and contributors will share insights from their work and engage in discussion with conference participants seeking to improve practice and/or advance their own scholarship on transfer students.

High-Performing Transfer Partnerships: Lessons Supporting Underserved Student Success
Community College Research Initiatives, University of Washington-Seattle, February 9, 2018, 8am – 9am, Concurrent VI, Salon I

Presented by: Debra Bragg, Director; Lia Wetzstein, Research Scientist; Theresa Ling Yeh, Research Scientist. Building on data gathered through the Credit When It’s Due (CWID) initiative, lessons learned about high-performing transfer partnerships in Colorado and Minnesota are discussed. In this session, the researchers will share information and strategies related to policies, practices, and culture that link community colleges and universities in ways that support higher than expected baccalaureate degree completion among underserved student populations.


CCRI presents at ASHE 2017 – No Simple Solutions: Using Equity to Frame Research on High Performing Transfer Partnerships

Chair, Alicia C. Dowd, Penn State University; Discussant, Estela Mara Bensimon, University of Southern California; Organizer, Debra Bragg, University of Washington

Problematizing and Prioritizing to Reframe Transfer Research, Debra Bragg

What Does the Literature Say about Underserved Transfer Students?, Theresa Yeh

Considering How Equity Can Reframe Transfer in an Era of Demographic Change, Maria-Claudia Soler, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Equity Focused Transfer Culture: Reframing Research to Inform Institutional Changes that Account for Students’ Diverse Experiences, Lia Wetzstein

Measuring Transfer Partnerships for Equitable Outcomes: Initial Findings from the Higher Performing Transfer Partnerships Study, Elizabeth Apple Meza


APPAM Conference Presentation 2017

Debra Bragg presented at the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) Annual Research Conference in Chicago, IL on November 4, 2017. How Obama’s College Completion Agenda Influenced the Implementation and Scaling of Health Professions Pathways in U.S. Community Colleges. Details of the session is listed in the APPAM website.