The Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) has been selected as one of seven community colleges nationwide to participate in  the “Caring Campus Initiative,” led by the Institute for  Evidence-Based Change (IEBC) with funding through Ascendium Education Group (AEG).

The objective of the Caring Campus Initiative is to increase student retention and success in community colleges by creating and cultivating Caring Campus environments through intentional behaviors by faculty and staff to improve students’ sense of caring and connectedness to the college.

Research has shown that many students leave college because they do not feel connected to the institution (e.g., Leaving College by Vincent Tinto, 1993). Caring Campus recognizes and leverages the value of connectedness to increase the likelihood that students will continue towards, and succeed in attaining, their educational goals.

Faculty and staff interaction with students can set the stage for successful enrollment, persistence, and completion. It is particularly important for students from historically underserved populations, students less familiar with college, non-majority students, students from low-income households, and first-generation students to feel welcome and that they belong in college.

“CCRI is proud to have been selected to participate in the Caring Campus Initiative,” said CCRI Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Rosemary Costigan in a statement. “The process of developing this faculty-led program has been inspiring and promises to lead to positive outcomes in the areas of retention and student success, while supporting faculty professional development.”

“Colleges like CCRI are doing what they can to ensure student success under challenging circumstances,” said IEBC President and CEO Dr. Brad Phillips in a statement. “We believe the original Caring Campus mission adapts well to the pandemic, providing staff the tools they need to continue to engage with students and succeed in helping them stay engaged in their education.”

Providing student support under the Caring Campus model becomes an important part of CCRI’s focus on student success. CCRI’s mission continues to focus on developing strategies and interventions which will increase success, access and equity for Rhode Island students.

Ascendium funding allows IEBC to work with two groups of seven colleges each in Caring Campus faculty initiatives. Each group will work with assigned IEBC coaches for one year.

In addition to CCRI, other community colleges selected to participate are:

  • Harry S. Truman College, Chicago, IL
  • Delta College, Bay City, MI
  • Maysville College, Maysville, KY
  • Oakton College, Des Plaines, IL
  • North Lake College, Irving, TX
  • Tulsa College, Tulsa, OK

This grant also supports IEBC’s work with the Community College Research Center (CCRC) to better understand how the initiative works to change college culture and improve student outcomes.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).