Calbright doesn’t just offer programs and support to adult learners and students: we are also constantly developing new approaches to support non-traditional students. As part of our mission to catalyze R&D across the California Community Colleges system, we’re developing better best practices.
That work was recently noted in a newsletter from The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) which discussed UC Irvine and Calbright’s multi-year research partnership to improve education outcomes for non-traditional students.
As Senior Writer Goldie Blumenstyk noted:
The project’s four-year, $4.1-million partnership with California’s Calbright College is another source of support, as I described in my last newsletter. In effect, MUST is an educational R&D arm for the new online community college dedicated to serving working adults. UCI researchers, along with the University of Virginia’s Benjamin L. Castleman, an associate professor of economics and education, and colleagues from the nonprofit behavioral-design consultancy Ideas 42, are experimenting with nudges to help students stay on track, and studying different approaches to course structure and faculty-student interaction.
Shannon McCarty, Calbright’s vice president for learning and instruction, hopes this work might inform other institutions that are looking to update short-term and competency-based programs. Arum is also developing a series of surveys for Calbright students that will be given when they first enroll and then periodically during their programs, including if they withdraw, and after.
That’s not the first new research to come out of Calbright, and it has led to innovative new ways to connect with and support students. It has led to better results in crucial areas like student persistence with a more diverse student body, and for us to be at the forefront of the Competency-Based Education movement. We also share everything we learn with our fellow California Community Colleges, because the knowledge of how best to help students shouldn’t be proprietary — it should be put to use.