Voices and Viewpoints

Catching the Spark: Student Activism and Students Data as a Catalyst for Systemic Transformation

by Heather McCambly / Oct 14, 2016

What’s at the heart of “data-driven” initiatives in the community college? And what’s working about the current push for using data to address disparity? What are the persistent challenges to making meaningful change for underserved students using our current toolbox? Perhaps most importantly, how are students themselves, their voices and activism, helping us better understand what’s needed in higher education?

This summer I had the opportunity to co-author an article, Catching the Spark: Student Activism and Student Data as a Catalyst for Systemic Transformation, for Change Magazine for Higher Learning on these topics specific to what has been or is still being learned from the Pathways to Results initiative (PTR). This exploratory article was written in partnership with Dr. Debra Bragg, founding director of OCCRL that led the development of the signature Pathways to Results (PTR) equity-focused improvement initiative, and Dr. Brian Durham, current Deputy Director for Academic Affairs at the Illinois Community College Board, and one of the original collaborators on PTR. We invite you—those new to PTR and seasoned PTR leaders alike—to read the article and tell us how you’re responding to the challenges we discuss in your own context!

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