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From the Ground Up: Case Study Describes Creation of New Community College at CUNY

The New Community College (NCC) at the City University of New York was developed in response to Chancellor Matthew Goldstein’s interest in creating an innovative community college that increases student learning, achievement, and graduation rates, and improves student retention. NCC, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, recently released Rethinking Community College for the 21st Century, a case study that follows the development of NCC from its initial planning in 2008 through its opening in August 2012.

The planners of the NCC combed through best practices and research to inform the design of their community college, with the ultimate goal of building an institution that would increase its graduation rate after three years to 35 percent with students transferring to four-year institutions or entering related careers. NCC is specifically designed to provide students with Career Technical Education (CTE) through curriculum that links classroom learning to practical career experiences.

Key components of the NCC model include:

  • First-year program of study: Integrates credit-bearing and developmental coursework, and mandatory participation in a summer bridge program.
  • City seminar: Two-semester course, including reading, writing, and quantitative aspects, on issues in New York City and other major cities.
  • Partnerships: Workplace partners provide increased opportunities for hands-on student learning.
  • Learning outcomes: Rubrics assess student progress and each student has an electronic portfolio.

In addition to providing CTE majors in Business Administration, Information Technology, and other areas, NCC also requires a two-semester course, Ethnographies of Work (EoW), that helps students investigate different occupations to make informed decisions about their majors and career paths. EoW provides students with a background in basic research methodology, analysis, professional skill training, and encourages students to deeply consider their future academic and career pursuits. The course also provides students with an introduction to the school’s five majors, information on various workplaces, and the programs of study that are available at NCC.

NCC is one of many postsecondary institutions delivering high-quality, innovative CTE. We welcome you to send information on how your schools are delivering CTE through innovative design and practice to kherbertson@careertech.org.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

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