Department of Educational Administration


Date of this Version

Fall 2016


Published in New Directions for Community Colleges, no. 175, Fall 2016, pp 19-31. doi 10.1002/cc.20209


Copyright © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Used by permission.


This chapter reviews ways that researchers have presented variously narrow and broad groupings of special student success programs over the course of decades. Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) is proposed as a way to conceptualize various kinds of community college student success programs as instances of a more general type of program.

There is today broad consensus among policy makers and higher education stakeholders that community colleges are key to achieving goals to increase the portion of adults with postsecondary credentials. In turn, community colleges educators look to new or innovative pedagogical and institutional structures to realize these goals. Key among efforts to enhance student success are a select few policies and practices singled out as holding particular promise to move the needle on community college persistence and completion. Such promising and high-impact practices (HIPs) include first-year seminars, student skills courses, college success strategies courses, extended orientation programs, and many others described throughout this issue.