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January 2013
What's Happening

New IHELP Associate

IHELP is thrilled to welcome Dr. Andrea Venezia as its new Associate Director and as associate professor of Public Policy and Administration at California State University, Sacramento. Andrea has extensive experience in public policy research about both K-12 and postsecondary education, and about connections between education systems. Prior to coming to IHELP, she was a Senior Research Associate at WestEd, where she oversaw a line of work on postsecondary readiness and success, and she was a Senior Policy Analyst at the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. Andrea was also the director of Stanford University’s Bridge Project and worked in a variety of state, federal, and nonprofit organizations, including the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Education Goals Panel, and the American Institutes for Research.

UC Davis Conference Presentation – IHELP Director Nancy Shulock was invited to give a presentation at the University of California, Davis on January 11. The conference, titled “The Role of Community Colleges in Workforce Development for Low-Skilled Workers,” was cosponsored by the Center for Poverty Research and the UC Davis School for Education. Nancy’s presentation focused on the use of policy to improve community college career technical education outcomes. Click here to view the presentation.

USC Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice Conference – Nancy was invited to serve as a panelist at the University of Southern California’s conference, “Attributes That Matter: Beyond the Usual in College Admission and Success," on January 16-18. The conference discussed the use of assessing “noncognitive” measures of student attributes not found in standardized tests and grades to determine a student’s likelihood of success. Nancy spoke on a panel titled “Preparing Community College Students for Transfer:
Highlighting the Individual, Institutional, and Policy Attributes that Matter.”

Features This Month

State and System Policies Related to Career Technical Education (Two New Working Papers)

IHELP has been engaged in a four-part research project on Career and Technical Education (CTE) in the California Community Colleges. The project is aimed at identifying ways that state and system policy can best support the CTE mission so that colleges can be more effective in helping students earn credentials of value in the workplace and helping employers and industries in their regions obtain a skilled workforce. As part of this project, we have identified a number of problems that we believe could be addressed with selective changes to state laws and regulations, with several discussed in the two new working papers. We will draw on these and other working papers to produce a final report in Spring, 2013 summarizing our findings and offering a range of possible policy changes.

High School to Community College to Workplace Pathways

This IHELP working paper examines policies that relate to (1) high school/community college counseling, (2) career pathways from high school to community college, (3) work-based learning, employer engagement and apprenticeships and (4) pathways from noncredit to credit. We identify several problems, examine laws and regulations related to those problems, and offer suggested policy changes to address them.

View the working paper


This IHELP working paper examines policies that relate to accountability in the California Community Colleges, specifically within the CTE mission. Accountability for student outcomes in community colleges is complicated due to the fact that students enroll for a variety of reasons not often collected or maintained by current data systems. Accountability within the CTE mission is even more complicated because students may meet their career advancement or certification goals without earning a certificate or degree. In this paper, we identify several problems related to accountability, examine laws and regulations related to those problems, and offer suggested policy changes to address them.

View the working paper

Washington State Student Achievement Initiative Policy Study: Final Report

This report, jointly produced by IHELP and the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University, analyzes the impact of the Washington State Student Achievement Initiative (SAI) on college efforts to improve student outcomes and on student outcomes. The SAI, a policy adopted by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, uses intermediate measures of student progress to reward colleges for improvements in student achievement. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this three-year evaluation includes both data analysis and extensive interviewing of faculty and staff and is intended in part to draw lessons for leaders in other states who are considering adopting performance incentive policies for community colleges. The report finds that that the SAI’s intermediate milestone framework is viewed as helpful in focusing collective efforts on student progression and in publicly accounting for college performance. However, colleges have found the cross-sectional metrics inadequate for understanding how various college interventions relate to student progression. The data analysis showed that while larger colleges earn more awards than smaller colleges, there is little evidence that colleges serving more at-risk, low-income students are penalized by the SAI awards method. Consistent with the SAI’s goals, the initiative appears to have encouraged enrollment from traditionally underserved groups. The funding mechanism has proved problematic and unpopular. The small amounts of funding used to reward performance have not affected college practices in any broad-scale way. Furthermore, the initial design called for only new funds to be used for SAI rewards but due to state budget cuts, colleges have had their base budgets reduced in order to create a pool of funds for the rewards.

View the report

Spotlight On

Top 10 Higher Education State Policy Issues
– The American Association of State Colleges and Universities recently released its latest policy brief titled, “Top 10 Higher Education State Policy Issues for 2013.” The brief identifies important themes that analysts predict will be prevalent in higher education policy agendas throughout the nation. The brief identifies the improvement of institutional performance -- targeted to increasing college affordability, productivity and student success -- as the number one theme that will dominate policy discussions this year. Even though colleges and universities will continue to face fiscal challenges in the upcoming year, state funding for higher education dropped to the second slot for the first time in six years. Other themes identified include tuition prices, student financial aid, college readiness and competency-based and online education. Please click the link below to view the brief.

AASCU Policy Matters Brief

Sacramento State Institute For Higher Education Leadership & Policy

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