Connecting Peer-to-Peer Advocates & Community Service
to improve College Completion
Clark State Community College
Columbus State Commun...
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  1. 1. CONNECT2COMPLETE Connecting Peer-to-Peer Advocates & Community Service to improve College Completion BACKGROUND & PROGRAM OVERVIEW There is increasing demand for a highly educated workforce, yet less than 30 percent of community college students in Ohio graduate within six years. For low-income and traditionally underserved students, the six-year completion rate is less than 15 percent. Economic and employment conditions, coupled with a new state and national focus on increasing completion rates and closing the achievement gap require new strategies and efforts to positively impact student retention and persistence. Connect2Complete (C2C) is a program of Campus Compact with funding from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that began as a pilot in Ohio, Florida and Washington. Ohio Campus Compact has recently received support from the Corporation for National and Community Service to place up to twelve AmeriCorps VISTA members on campuses throughout Ohio to expand C2C to both four-year public and private institutions of higher education, and other Ohio community colleges. Ohio Campus Compact together with eleven Ohio colleges and universities are working to improve student success and retention of low-income and underrepresented college students through the development of a program that matches student peer advocates with cohorts of Pell Grant-eligible students enrolled in developmental education courses. 631 N. Pearl Street Granville, Ohio 43023 (740) 587-8568 (740) 587-8569 FAX AmeriCorps VISTA members will assist with training peer advocates to connect C2C students with available campus resources, involve them in community engagement activities, and provide vital academic and peer support for navigating and succeeding in the college environment. Campuses with VISTA support in Ohio will provide comprehensive leadership training to peer advocates, closely track the progress of C2C students, and help align support services across multiple campus offices. Ohio Campus Compact provides assistance, training and resources to support C2C campuses and sustains a statewide learning community to disseminate best practices, research and other materials related to the C2C program and similarly structured peer advocate programs. This powerful C2C program is developing innovative peer-based pathways for academic success that can lead to college credentials and living wage jobs as well as lay the foundation for long-term systemic change in Ohio.
  2. 2. OHIO CONNECT2COMPLETE AT A GLANCE 2013-2014 PARTICIPATING INSTITUTIONS Clark State Community College Columbus State Community College Cuyahoga Community College** Hiram College Kent State University Lorain County Community College** Marietta College Miami University - Hamilton     Owens Community College** University of Akron Washington State Community College (** are pilot campuses) IMPLEMENTATION MODELS The participating campuses are implementing unique peer-to-peer advocacy models that reflect the culture of their campus while employing at least one of the following mechanisms to incentivize participation by peer advocates: A) Federal work study funds B) Course credit for a leadership development/peer advocate training course, or C) Course credit and an AmeriCorps Education Award PEER ADVOCACY Mobilizing successful students in support of other students who face obstacles to completion, increases retention and engagement for both the student advocate and the mentee (Crisp, 2010). COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT Students who participate in community engagement learning activities have higher retention rates and are more likely to complete their degree. These students are also more likely to demonstrate improved academic knowledge, critical thinking, and leadership skills, and show increased interest in becoming personally and professionally involved in community change work. The ultimate result is producing critically, civically, and globally minded graduates who can advocate for change in their communities and contribute to building a healthy democracy (Campus Compact, 2010). STATEWIDE LEARNING COMMUNITY As part of this initiative, Ohio Campus Compact is building a statewide learning community to share information, resources and research related to programs that pair peer advocates and community engagement activities. Ohio Campus Compact offers state and regional events for VISTAs, college faculty, administrators, students and peer advocates interested in and/or involved with retention and success initiatives that incorporate mentoring and community service activities. TIME PERIOD The pilot phase of the Connect2Complete program supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation began January 1, 2012 and ends June 30, 2014. Ohio Campus Compact began placing AmeriCorps VISTA members on campuses in July 2013. The Corporation for National and Community Service will provide AmeriCorps VISTA support for three years. Crisp, Gloria. “The impacts of Mentoring on the Success of Community College Students.” The Review of Higher Education. 34.1 (2010_: 39-60.)