The Tie That Binds: Exploring Community College Curriculum Design

PSC49_03by Bobbi Gentry (Bridgewater College), Christopher Lawrence (Middle Georgia State University) and Erin Richards (Cascadia Community College)

An increasing number of students are beginning their college careers at community colleges before pursuing bachelor’s degrees at four-year institutions. As enrollments swell at these institutions, issues surrounding transfer and articulation agreements are increasingly important and two-year and four-year institutions need to work together on the recruitment, retention, and transition of political science majors. Central to this collaboration is an understanding of the curriculum. Building on conclusions from the 2011 APSA Teaching and Learning Conference’s Core Curriculum and General Education track regarding a common curriculum in the discipline, we examine the political science curriculum at community colleges using data from 47 two-year colleges with separate political science departments. We examine similarities and differences between these programs, and find sufficient commonality in curriculum to allow students to transfer credits to four-year institutions. We also offer community colleges an indication of common curricular features, and inform the wider profession about community college curriculum design.

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PS: Political Science & Politics / Volume 49 / Issue 03 / July 2016, pp 535-540 / Copyright © American Political Science Association 2016