Editor’s Note. The Budget Act of 2014 appropriates $50 million in one-time resources from the General Fund for the Awards for Innovation in Higher Education. Five campuses were awarded the maximum prize of $5 million each and CA Fwd will feature them in a weeklong series. Long Beach City College and its Long Beach College Promise was one of the recipients. Terri Long, who is Vice President for Academic Affairs at LBCC agreed to answer a few questions about the program that was honored:
CA Fwd: Briefly describe what your innovation was designed to do.
Terri Long: “The Long Beach College Promise (LBCP) innovation was designed to improve and expand on existing seamless and supportive student pathways to timely college completion. While the focus of the innovation is on college completion, it was also designed to:
- Increase the number of students who are college ready directly out of high school
- Increase the percentage of Long Beach high school graduates who apply to and are admitted to CSULB or other colleges and universities
- Increase the percentage of Long Beach City College students who earn degrees and/or certificates
- Increase the percentage of LBCC students who successfully transfer to CSULB or other colleges and universities
- Increase the percentage of CSULB students with Bachelor’s or advanced degrees
- Reduce or eliminate the achievement gaps that exist among all student groups
- Decrease time to completion for college degrees and certificates
- Provide world-class education from preschool to graduate school
- Increase the number of children attending preschool.”
CA Fwd: These innovations take partnerships – who did you work with and why was that important to its success?
Terri Long: “The Long Beach College partners include Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach City College, California State University Long Beach, and the City of Long Beach. The partnership among the three educational institutions began in 2008 and the City of Long Beach joined in 2014. The partnership is vital to our work in providing access and improving and expanding high quality educational opportunities in the Long Beach community. Essential to this commitment is the sharing of ideas, data, resources, and expertise.”
CA Fwd: What did you learn?
Terri Long: “We learned that successful collaboration requires a strong commitment from all partners. A focus on early awareness, college access, and college readiness are essential to success. Decision making and planning must be informed by data and success measured using established metrics.”
CA Fwd: “What data and analytic(s) have you used to assess the impact of this work and have they helped?”
Terri Long: “Evaluation using statistical and qualitative methods has been employed with the development and ongoing refinement of the Promise Pathways first-year experience pilot. Five longitudinal cohorts of more than 7,000 LBUSD high school graduates were studied to determine what predicts how students assess and place into developmental courses, what predicts how students perform in those courses, and how well placement and performance are aligned. The research showed that high school transcript information was a far stronger predictor of course success than standardized tests. Each of the pilot components of Promise Pathways, including the alternative placement, linked reading course, and success course and achievement coaches pilot have all been evaluated using quantitative and qualitative methods.”
CA Fwd: How will you sustain the innovation that you were awarded for?
Terri Long: “We will sustain the innovation that we were awarded through a continued commitment by the leadership across each of the organizations to work collaboratively with an intentional focus to ensure student success. A steering group will direct implementations, evaluate current practices, and recommend improvements. The LBCP establishes an environment for producing opportunities for creative problem-solving, thoughtful questioning of the status quo, and the ability to engage critical thought partners beyond individual institutions. Finally, the partners have committed to a robust communications plan that will not only establish enhanced internal communications across institutions but will bring the innovative work to the external education and research communities.”
CA Fwd: What could the state do to make it easier to encourage innovation in higher education (and other parts of state government)?
Terri Long: “The State could support an infrastructure that allows for the sharing of data across all educational institutions to better accommodate our diverse student population and the complex circumstances of their lives. Creating seamless pathways for students across the state to efficiently move from one institution to another would also be beneficial. Continued support for programs with proven success should motivate and encourage other partnerships with similar goals focused on college access and completion.”