The Oklahoman newspaper recently reported on the importance of community colleges and the article features the expertise of UW-Madison’s Xueli Wang.
Wang is an associate professor with the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis and a faculty affiliate of the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education (WISCAPE). Her research centers on college students’ learning, pathways, and success, with a particular focus on community colleges and STEM education.
The article focuses on the utility of community colleges, despite their chronic underfunding and devaluing. Wang explains to the Oklahoman that although community colleges serve an important purpose, they face significant challenges that often leave them with less resources than necessary to support their students.
Wang also notes the common assumption that community college education is inferior, which is especially troubling for students who transfer to four-year institutions after completing general electives. While Wang admits that in some cases community college education can be inferior, she explains that transfer students complete their degrees at a similar rate to their peers.
According to The Oklahoman, they key difference between community college and research universities is the cost. Community colleges cost drastically less to attend, serving as a more affordable option next to typical four-year institutions.
Although this article focuses primarily on higher education in Oklahoma, Wang reveals that community colleges across the country face similar challenges.
Read the entire article here.