Principles of Redesign: Promising Approaches to Transforming Student Outcomes

Rassen, Elisa; Chaplot, Priyadarshini; Jenkins, Paul Davis; Johnstone, Rob

Community colleges across the country are working hard to help their students succeed. With increasing demands for accountability from the public and state governments, many colleges are feeling the pressure to make changes—now. Even more importantly, practitioners want their students to be successful so they can reap the benefits of their educational achievements: associate’s degree holders earn 33% more than those with a high school diploma and bachelor’s degree holders earn 70% more. Many colleges have been frustrated with the limited results stemming from past efforts to promote student success. With new approaches to improvement emerging and waning every few years, and expanding expectations contrasting with shrinking college budgets, many leaders and practitioners have become rightfully skeptical of the very idea of “change.” Too often, community colleges have begun to feel like enormous battle ships— no matter who is in charge and what changes are made, the ship is too big to move more than a degree or two from its original course. In the face of these challenges, this guide offers a distillation of eight core principles of redesign that any community college leader or practitioner can use to begin thinking about change through a different lens. Based on research and practice conducted and observed by organizations such as Community College Research Center (CCRC), Jobs for the Future (JFF), WestEd, Public Agenda, the Research and Planning Group for California Community Colleges and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, these principles reflect a fresh approach to thinking about student outcomes: one that looks at the institution from the students’ perspective and asks colleges to align structures, systems, programs and services in a coherent way.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Community College Research Center
Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
February 12, 2014