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Joining Forces: How Students Success Centers Are Accelerating Statewide Community College Improvement Efforts

Lara K. Couturier

There’s an emerging trend in the national college completion movement. A group of small but powerful Student Success Centers is creating statewide impact in states traditionally devoid of a strong centralized tradition of community college governance. Growing directly out of a decade of hard work to dramatically boost student completion rates in the community college, Student Success Centers organize a state’s community colleges around common action to accelerate their efforts to improve student persistence and completion.

Student Success Centers have been created in five states to date: Arkansas, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, and Texas. Colleges in these states felt they could benefit from: more coordination and collaboration across the colleges; common data definitions that would provide comparable information; shared professional development venues; and the time and space to think, exchange, and discuss strategy and execution. In essence, the Centers were developed to “connect the dots” between the many initiatives underway in their states.