Voices and Viewpoints

Outcomes-Focused, Equity-Guided Change at Rural Community Colleges

by Marci Rockey / Jun 21, 2017

OCCRL’s blog post series recognizing Career and Technical Education (CTE) month earlier this year alluded to a forthcoming brief on the experiences of rural Illinois community colleges participating in Pathways to Results (PTR), an outcomes-focused, equity-guided process to improve student transition to and through postsecondary education and into employment. As evidenced in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Education At A Glance, 2017 Edition, the gap in college completion between rural and urban students continues to grow, with gains varying across demographic groups. Therefore, it is pertinent to consider the implications of place as it relates to equity in educational outcomes.

In our latest Insights on Equity and Outcomes brief, Pathways to Results at Rural Illinois Community Colleges, we feature the work of three PTR teams at rural Illinois community colleges. Representatives from each team not only share their experiences with PTR in a rural context, but also discuss the implications of rurality as it relates to college aspirations, access, and employment. With distance and poverty identified as prominent barriers for rural students seeking higher education, supporting rural community colleges is vital to advancing rural communities. In this pursuit, the implementation of PTR in rural community college contexts has been found to advance the use of data in decision-making and enhance partnerships.

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