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To show support and gratitude for health care workers, first responders, and other essential workers keeping communities safe during the COVID-19 emergency. Old Dominion University is illuminating its Education Building blue during May, as part of the national #LightItBlue campaign. Photo Chuck Thomas/ODU

New Community College Academic Center to Be an Industry Leader for Research, Policy

By Amy Kurfist

The Darden College of Education at Old Dominion University announced the opening of the new Center for Community College Assessment & Advocacy (CCCAA) on Friday, June 8, during the 2018 Community College Leadership Summer Institute Dubois Leadership Lecture & Awards Luncheon.

Dr. David Ayers, center director and associate professor of community college leadership, stated the primary function of the CCCAA is to "produce actionable knowledge through policy-relevant research in partnership with community colleges."

While policy-relevant research is one focus area for the center, a secondary goal is advocacy. According to Ayers, while community college leaders know a great deal about advocacy, cutting-edge research can help them be even more effective advocates. Through discourse, knowledge creation and knowledge sharing, the CCCAA will leverage the experience of community college advocates and equip them with relevant and useful research.

The CCCAA also provides valuable opportunities for ODU doctoral students to get hands-on experience with policy-related research. It is intended to benefit students in several programs, including the new graduate certificate in community college leadership, the Ph.D. in community college leadership and the Ph.D. concentration in educational psychology and program evaluation.

"There is no doubt this center will produce original research that will help drive healthy discussions for community college policy and provide useful information to the Virginia Community College System," said Steve Myran, department chair of Educational Foundations and Leadership.

The CCCAA was formed in response to an identified need by the Virginia Community College System (VCCS). The partnership will enhance the work of the community college industry in multiple ways by sharing and analyzing data, conducting original research, reporting, identifying underlying issues and challenges, co-designing solutions and testing those solutions.

The creation is supported by the Darden College of Education and is comprised of an interdisciplinary team of researchers affiliated with the Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership.

"It is our hope that the work from our center will be infused into relevant political conversations at local, state and national levels and provide individuals to be powerful advocates," said Ayers. "The goal is to be the 'go-to' center for research on community college policy."

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