Chaffey College, a three campus college with approximately 20,000 students located California’s Inland Empire, has become the destination of many community college practitioners from around the country. The reason why? Over the past ten years, the college has become nationally-known as an institution with a “risk tolerant change-oriented culture” and a signature set of student support programs that produce impressive performance outcomes for Chaffey students.
Robert Gabriner, San Francisco State University and Norton Grubb, University of California, Berkeley, talked to the faculty and the administration about Chaffey’s success story. And they were not disappointed: they learned a great deal which is summarized in this working paper. Their primary concern, in visiting 14 California colleges including Chaffey and numerous other colleges for specific innovations, has been to examine the quality of instruction in basic skills. But colleges have increasingly turned to student support services to enhance the success of their developmental programs. According to lore, Chaffey promised to have a broader variety of services than most colleges; and contrary to the pattern of separation and even hostility between instruction and student support, Chaffey had apparently developed a model of integrating student
support and developmental education that the authors needed to understand. Even though their analysis focuses on various support services, the Chaffey story is really one of developing a broad structure necessary for success both specifically in developmental education and more generally for all students.