Please note: This was published over a year ago. Phone numbers, email addresses and other information may have changed.
PCC fifth in nation for total associate’s degrees
Photos and Story by James Hill
Community College Week, a national trade publication for two-year colleges, ranked Portland Community College No. 5 in the nation in awarding associate’s degrees among two-year schools.
The ranking is part of the publication’s annual Top 100 Associate Degree Producers Special Report. PCC also ranked 11th overall when the list combined all four-year universities that offer two-year degrees. The list was compiled from 2012-13 academic year degree completion statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Education. PCC, which awarded 4,217 degrees in 2012-2013, moved up six spots from No. 11 last year.
To view the Top 100 Associate Degree Producers Special Report, visit the Community College Week Website.
The move up in degree completion rankings for PCC is part of the college’s effort to meet goals set by of Oregon’s emphasis on completion and measuring community colleges. It is tied to the state’s “40-40-20” initiative (40 percent of the state’s adults have four-year college degrees, 40 percent have two-year degrees, and the remaining 20 percent have high school diplomas by 2025). The bottom line is that the state’s community colleges must make sure students achieve their goals, by way of earning a certificate, career pathway, associate’s degree, or transitioning from developmental education to college level courses.
The reason for the improvement in national ranking had to do with PCC sustaining an enrollment surge due to the recession and having success in retention during that time. In addition, dual enrollment pacts with Portland State University, Oregon State University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Concordia University, Western Governors University, Marylhurst University and Linfield College also helped. In fall of 2012, PCC began automatic awarding of degrees where the college would automatically award degrees when students had enough credits and waived the fee associated with the old process. And, improvement in students’ financial literacy and the deletion for non-payment initiative helped move them along to their goals (having a payment plan, having a financial aid award, having their books…etc).
“This (change in) ranking demonstrates the dedicated work that has taken place over the past year at every level of the institution,” said Chris Chairsell, Vice President of Academic & Student Affair. “PCC faculty and staff are courageous in confronting the data and systematically implementing the best practices that will result in student retention and completion.”
Below are the current rankings where PCC made the top-100 in associate’s degrees awarded to certain groups and areas among community colleges, compared to its ranking the previous year (2011-12):
- 48th in all disciplines for minority students (99th).
- 2nd in all disciplines for non-minorities (11th).
- 21st in all disciplines for American Indians (39th).
- 17th in all disciplines for Asian Americans (37th).
- 2nd in Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies, and Humanities (17th).
- 10th in Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services (38th).
- 15th in Engineering Technologies and Engineering-related fields (29th).
- 28th in Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services (NR).
This is the second time in a month PCC has been noted nationally for its work. In July, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden signed H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and named Portland Community College’s Career Pathways Program as one of 30 examples nationwide that are making a difference in job training.