As open institutions with a commitment to student access and success, it is essential for community college faculty, staff, and leadership to understand the nonacademic factors that influence students’ ability to reach their educational and professional goals, particularly during this time of global pandemic. The unmet needs of students, including adequate income, food, housing, and technology, affect their ability to persevere in college settings.

This issue of Innovatus focuses on how community colleges can meet the basic needs of students through innovative approaches. Amy Glynn, for instance, asserts that designing services for student financial success rather than financial aid leads to increased enrollment, engagement, and retention. James Franchi offers financial options as well, while focusing on the layered benefits of helping new and prospective students discover the wide range of education, training, and career options that are available to them. Caron Sada discusses how expanding work-based experiences strengthens students’ economic viability, while Patrick Frasier describes how course sharing agreements between institutions can ensure that students are able to enroll in the classes they need, when they need them, in some cases reducing time to completion. Matthew Alex proposes a shared leadership approach to serving students and the community. Additional articles build upon the theme of how community colleges can support students by addressing their personal needs.

On behalf of the League, I encourage you to use this magazine to start or expand conversations on your campus about supporting students in a holistic manner. By addressing students’ needs beyond the classroom, we can have a significant positive impact on their postsecondary journeys.

Christopher L.G. Whitaker

Chair, Board of Directors, League for Innovation in the Community College
President, Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning


Shifting the Focus From Student Financial Aid to Student Financial Success

We are in the midst of a student financial aid crisis. Student loan debt exceeds $1.5 trillion, 70 percent of college graduates leave school with…

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Community College Students and Debt

Many community college students come from low-income, minority households where the family is not able to assist with college costs. Students,…

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Can Artificial Intelligence Make Classroom Discussion Better?

For millennia, the Socratic method has been a pillar of effective, engaging classroom discussion. Rooted in sparking thoughtful dialogue among…

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Shared Leadership Throughout the Community College

The COVID-19 pandemic has helped expose two systemic flaws in higher education. First is the inflexibility of the traditional learning model, and…

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Innovative Solutions for Hunger Relief and Student Success

Almost half of U.S. community college students responding to the #RealCollege survey conducted by the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice…

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Working Together for Student Success: Course Sharing, Access, and Retention to Completion

For years, access was solely about opening doors to those who didn’t know they belonged in our classrooms.

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Community College Programs Are Crucial to Getting Americans Back to Work

America faces a desperate shortage of workers with the skills and training to do the jobs that keep the economy and the country going, including jobs…

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From Bold Vision to Meaningful Results: Ensuring a Work-Based Experience for Every Student

The Art and Science of Culture Change creates a visual, linguistic, and conceptual infrastructure that provides scaffolding for shared…

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