The Vermont Connection


Student engagement is a major challenge faced by community college administrators. The impact of low student engagement on retention and graduation rates means community colleges across the nation have the opportunity to re-evaluate policies and practices that contribute to or hinder a student culture of engagement (Greene, Marti, & McClenney, 2008; McClenney, 2007). Community colleges are host to a diverse student population including commuter students, non-traditional students, and students with a wide range of academic goals and academic preparedness. The diversity of this population provides a challenging environment in which to foster student engagement. The function and value of student affairs are often diminished on community college campuses with less emphasis on co-curricular student development. This article will review existing literature of challenges faced by community colleges and the role of student affairs in the unique environment of community colleges. The article will conclude with recommendations for developing institution-wide efforts to support student engagement and topics for further research.