Student success in an urban community college: Applying the expertise model of student success




Myers, Lana C.

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The Central City College (CCC) study responds to increasing accountability initiatives in higher education by applying Padilla's Expertise Model of Student Success (EMSS) to generate a qualitative perspective of the complex issue of community college student success. The research site for the study was a large urban, community college in the Southwestern United States, which serves more than 20,000 college credit students per semester. Participants included students, faculty members, counselors, and the college president. The research questions concerned the perceived barriers to student success as well as the "the body of knowledge and associated actions to overcome barriers to degree attainment" (Padilla, Treviño, Gonzalez & Treviño, 1997, p. 131).

Once the data were collected from the participants, the researcher performed a comparative data analysis which reduced and interpreted the data through taxonomic analysis and concept modeling. As the relationships among the concepts were revealed, the concepts were incorporated into a graphical representation of a local student success model (LSSM) for CCC. The LSSM revealed that CCC students face four categories of barriers: financial, institutional, personal, and student isolation. These categories of barriers were separated into two distinct responsibility categories: institution centered and student centered. Further, students' responses to these barriers determine their success or failure at the college. Overall, the CCC study contributes to higher education scholarship by studying an under researched population, community college students, through a focus on student success rather than student departure. Moreover, by focusing on success rather than failure, the CCC study could help the research site increase student success rates in the future by providing the college with an opportunity to deploy resources to reduce or eliminate barriers to student success


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community college, expertise, student success



Educational Leadership and Policy Studies