Dr. James Benson
In FY 2022, IES established the Improving Pandemic Recovery Efforts in Education Agencies (Improving Pandemic Recovery) grant program to support research to counteract academic losses encountered by many learners during the COVID-19 pandemic and to conduct research in partnership with state and local education agencies to improve learner engagement, reengagement, and achievement with a focus on underrepresented student subgroups that were disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Through theCommunity College Recovery Research Network topic of Improving Pandemic Recovery, IES funded one network lead team and three research teams, which comprise the Accelerating Recovery in Community Colleges Network. This network will conduct research to support strategies for counteracting declines in postsecondary enrollment and academic progress that occurred for many learners during the COVID-19 pandemic and addresses the needs of student subgroups identified in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, many of whom were acutely impacted by disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Each research team within the network includes at least one education agency. The network lead and research teams will work collaboratively with the education agencies to identify, explore, evaluate, and improve programs and policies designed to accelerate re-engagement and academic progress for all learners, with a specific focus on impacted subgroups.
Descriptions of each of the projects are as follows:
Accelerating Recovery in Community Colleges Network Lead
Principal Investigator: Thomas Brock, Teachers College, Columbia University
The network lead team will provide the organizational structure needed to ensure that the network runs smoothly and accomplishes its goals and objectives. They will conduct independent research on pandemic recovery activities and enrollment patterns at community colleges across the United States to inform the network, policymakers, practitioners, and the broader public. They will collaborate with network research teams to support their research and dissemination activities.
Strengthening Virginia's Pandemic Recovery Efforts: Providing High-Quality Community College Workforce Education to Underserved Adults
Principal Investigator: Nicole Edgecombe, Teachers College, Columbia University
Education Agency: Virginia Community College System
This research team will examine barriers to postsecondary enrollment, persistence, and completion for low-income, Black, and Hispanic students and generate knowledge that will lead to significant improvements in their progress through and completion of workforce training programs leading to high-demand occupations
Leveraging Technology and Engaging Students: Evaluating COVID-19 Recovery Efforts in the Los Angeles Community College District
Principal Investigator: Christopher Avery, Harvard University
Education Agency: Los Angeles Community College District
This research team will explore and evaluate the effects and impacts of online and hybrid course modalities on psychosocial and academic outcomes for Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) students and develop supports for modalities that improve academic outcomes.
Evidence to Inform Improvement: Supporting California Community Colleges in Pandemic Recovery
Principal Investigator: Michal Kurlaender, University of California, Davis
Education Agency: California Community Colleges
The project team will assess pandemic recovery efforts undertaken by the California Community Colleges (CCC) through a set of research and dissemination activities aiming to (1) determine what recovery activities CCC have engaged in and how supplemental federal, state, and philanthropic dollars were spent in those efforts; (2) examine which of these recovery activities have contributed to improving student outcomes; and (3) engage community college leaders and state policymakers on best practices for improving student outcomes post-pandemic.