MCC Daily Tribune

President's Wednesday Message

At MCC, we know that the majority of our students plan to transfer and complete a baccalaureate degree, and we also know that most of the students with this plan, realize it. But, what we might not anticipate is how many of our students dream and achieve even bigger academic goals.

This month, the National Student Data Clearinghouse released the first ever Community College to Graduate and Professional School report, and the results are striking. Almost 20% of all students earning a master's degree in 2016-17 began higher education in community college: 1 in 5. The percent varies by discipline, with almost 27% of those earning master's in health fields and 24% in social sciences and psychology starting at community colleges compared to 16% in the humanities and 9% in STEM. The average student took 10 years from completing the associate to the master's.

Of students completing doctorates over the same year, 11% began at community colleges. Again, the percentages varied by program: from a high of almost 22% in the health and clinical sciences to about 6% in STEM. But, in a striking data point, students in STEM had the shortest time from associate to doctorate: only 12 years compared to the average of 20 years.

Of those completing professional degrees (e.g., JDs, MDs, PharmDs) in 2016-17, 13% began at community colleges, and it took the average student just 8 years to move from the associate to the professional degree!

This data should not come as a surprise to us: the ranks of MCC's faculty, professional staff, and administrators include inspiring alumni from our own College and outstanding community colleges across the country who have gone on to earn advanced degrees. And, one of the motivations behind MCC's Alumni Hall of Fame is to highlight the academic and professional success of our alums so that current Tribunes can see all the possibilities their futures hold: from NASA scientist to RCSD Superintendent to RRH Chief Nursing Officer to Vice President for Human Resources at Wegmans. We want our students to see their college experience at MCC as just the beginning of a lifelong journey of learning.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center's goal in releasing the report was to underscore what it calls the "community college-to-graduate school" pathway and to elevate the significant role colleges like MCC have in educating future professionals, researchers, and scholars. Their contribution is definitely appreciated.

Do you have a story of an MCC alum whose academic journey exemplifies the community college-to-graduate school pathway? Please share it in the comments on the blog.

Kress, Anne
President's Office