Expanding the Scope of Prevention with Community Colleges

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1 Expanding the Scope of Prevention with Community Colleges Purpose: This paper will address opportunities for reducing alcohol, other drugs and violence problems in community college settings with proposed evidence-based strategies. It will also highlight prevention and intervention gaps and recommend pathways for community colleges. Mary Hill, Consultant for Higher Education 837 Military Drive, Canyon Lake, Texas Telephone: And edited by: Mimi Martinez McKay, Chief of Staff/Information Services Director Texas Department of State Health Services 909 W. 45 th Street, Austin, Texas

2 Expanding the Scope of Prevention with Community Colleges By Mary Hill, Coordinator for Texas Statewide Prevention A new vision for higher education may need to start with community colleges I. Introduction President Obama, policymakers and many other think tanks are now emphasizing that every American needs to complete at least one year of college to compete in a worldwide marketplace. One needs to look no further than their local community college to stand ready to accomplish this vision for higher education. Community colleges specialize in starting interested students on their path to higher education and vocational training. To meet the challenges of today s students, community colleges must identify and improve upon areas in which they are lacking to meet the demands of a varied student population. There are areas of need outside the classroom that must be provided by community colleges in order for them to operate within local, state and federal laws. Many community college personnel are aware of these issues and acknowledge they are not adequately providing all possible services to promote a healthful, safe and productive learning environment. To address the community college challenges of improving academic success and quality of student life, resources to increase healthy lifestyles by reducing high-risk alcohol, other drugs use and violence in community colleges need to become a major focus for these institutions and beyond. Since 1986, prevention of high-risk alcohol and other drug use and violence has focused on four-year colleges and universities, but these efforts have largely ignored students enrolled at our nation s community colleges. Because community colleges are so closely linked to the communities they serve, prevention strategies based on collaborations and coalitions with organizations, institutions and businesses should be fully explored since they are poised to yield successful outcomes toward addressing these problems. Moreover, despite their differences, community colleges and four-year institutions have much to learn from each other in this arena. Community colleges face many of the same challenges as four-year institutions in responding to the alcohol, drug and violence problems of their students. Providing a healthy, safe, and legal college and university campus environment is a major concern of campus administrators, faculty, staff, students and community leaders across institutions of higher education. Research findings indicate a weak link in our prevention efforts to utilize environmental strategies to address prevention for our community colleges. Most community colleges are jointly funded by the community and state, and as such 2

3 are a natural setting for community mobilization to draw attention to high-risk alcohol and other drug use and violence. Moreover, the community college setting represents the largest national increase in college students in This paper will address the opportunities for reducing high-risk alcohol, other drug use and violence in community colleges settings with proposed evidencebased strategies. It will also highlight the prevention and intervention gaps and recommend pathways for community colleges to follow. By targeting this resource to administration, faculty, staff, students and community members, the hope is it will serve as one tool to enable them to design and implement policies and procedures to reduce underage and high-risk alcohol and other drug use and violence on community college campuses and in their local communities. II. Review of Literature Most of the attention to the issue of underage and high-risk drinking has ignored the over 5.5 million students enrolled at 1,112 community colleges across the United States. Three publications that do address prevention for community colleges include the following: Prevention Challenges at Community Colleges by Barbara Ryan (1998); Community College Presidents Role in Alcohol and other Drug Abuse Prevention by William DeJong (2006); and Engaging the Nation s Community Colleges as Prevention Partners in A Brief Report from the Roundtable on Community College Health and Safety: Preventing Substance Abuse and Violence (January 2002) III. History of Underage and High-Risk Alcohol and other Drug Use Prevention at All Colleges In 1953, a landmark study, Find College Life Affects Drinking Little; Habits Acquired Earlier conducted by Yale University was the first formal researchbased study of substance use on college campuses in the United States. In 1986, after the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (DFSCA) was signed into law, funds were distributed to state and local education agencies initiating widespread attention to prevention efforts at local, state, and national levels. Through a 1989 amendment, this Act and established guidelines for policies and regulations for all campuses that received federal funding.¹ In 1986, the U.S. Department of Education s annual meeting was devoted to examining issues around alcohol and other drug abuse and violence prevention on college campuses and in surrounding communities. In 1987, The Network Addressing Collegiate Alcohol and Other Drug Issues ( by the United States Department of Education was developed to address issues related to the use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs and the prevention of violence in institutions of higher education. In 1988, the Core Survey was developed and most of the national research on college-based alcohol and other drug abuse originated from the Core Institute located at Southern Illinois University and the Harvard School of Public Health ( In 1990, the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act required annual record of all crime incidents, including substance 3

4 abuse on campus.² In 1997, prevention efforts took another serious turn after the deaths of Benjamin Wynne, a student at Louisiana State University and Scott Krueger, a student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Both students died of alcohol poisoning as a result of fraternity hazing incidents. The deaths that occurred on these campuses served as a catalyst for the university administration and prevention staff to join a community based coalition to reduce underage and high-risk alcohol use and abuse.³ In 1998, Environmental Management ( was introduced as a comprehensive strategy for reducing alcohol and other drug use by changing the campus and community environment.4 In 1999, the U. S. Department of Education selected several universities for model program awards to be replicated for other campuses.5 In 2002, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) report A Call to Action (2002) reported heavy drinking by higher education students as wide-spread, dangerous, and disruptive. A task force estimated 1400 student deaths in 1998 and an additional 500,000 college students suffered alcohol-related unintentional injuries. This report served as a catalyst for prevention on college campuses.6 In 2006, Weatherford Community College in Weatherford, Texas received the first Department of Education (DOE) grant award for community colleges. After the mass shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University in 2007, a greater emphasis on safety at community colleges was introduced by the post- Virginia Tech task force reports.7 Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (DFSCA) policies are mandated for all colleges that receive federal funding and are expected to be enforced and adjudicated. Recent emerging legal issues also bring attention to the fact that all community colleges must identify foreseeable risks and take reasonable action to mitigate these risks. IV: History of Prevention for Community Colleges in Texas As discussed previously, prevention efforts addressing alcohol, other drugs and violence on college campuses was mainly focused on four-year colleges when prevention was first introduced after the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (DFSCA) was signed into law in At this time, the U.S. Department of Education s efforts in support of this law were organized and funds were distributed to state and local education agencies initiating widespread prevention attention at the local, state, and national levels. A review of literature and funding for community colleges at this time documents they were largely overlooked as an important component in reducing high-risk alcohol, other drugs and violence in higher education. Recent survey data in Texas (Survey appendix B) indicated that a majority of the community colleges do not have residential facilities and many stated that therefore do not don t believe DFSCA applies. Until training for our community colleges was initiated in 2006, we were unaware that most of the community colleges in Texas were not aware of the federal mandates for receiving funding for their campuses. Policy development and enforcement is now a major focus with our environmental management approach for our community colleges in Texas. 4

5 All institutions dealing with young adults (eighteen through twenty-four) must become aware of the reality of drug and alcohol abuse. Much has been written about the problems and abuse on university campuses across our nation, but very little is noted concerning use and abuse at community colleges.---dr. William R. Auvanshine, Chief Executive Officer/President of Clarendon Community College (See Appendix A) In 2002 the NIAAA report Tier I report recommended that colleges who collaborate with community coalitions might have evidence of success ( This emphasis on collaborating with the community emerged as a part of the environmental management model to manage high-risk alcohol, other drug use and violence. This approach reframes the issue as an issue to be addressed by an entire community, not only college campuses. V. Guidelines for community colleges to forming partnership toward addressing high risk alcohol, other drug use and violence 1. Community Colleges as linkages for building successful transitions of high school, community, community coalitions and four-year institutions as follows: Two-year community and/or technical colleges are a vital part of the higher education system. Community colleges and technical colleges are a vital link between transitions of high school students to four-year colleges. Community colleges are a vital link between community coalitions and four-year colleges. Boards of Trustees/Regents are usually elected within the community. Students at community colleges tend to reflect the societal norms of their surrounding communities. Community colleges belong to the whole community. Community colleges are funded with state and local funds. 2. Community Coalitions and State Agencies Working with Community Colleges: (Funding for a training between these groups provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services as part of the state incentive grant program) The Bay Area Alliance for Youth and Families and San Jacinto Community College, South Campus. o San Jacinto Community College established a coalition on their campus with the help of the Bay Area Alliance for Youth and 5

6 Families. This has lead to many collaborative activities including alcohol free events, the mailing of 21 st birthday cards to students to reduce binge drinking when they become of legal age, bringing in speakers on prevention. The coalition and campus are now in the process of developing campus policies together. The community coalition supported the Core Survey for the campus participation. The Alliance on Underage Drinking (ALOUD) Community Coalition o ALOUD organized a College Summit training and invited all community colleges in their region (North Texas) to send a team to the training to become knowledgeable in evidence-based strategies. Five community colleges sent teams to participate. The South East Harris Community Coalition o Organized a college training and invited all community colleges in their region to send a team to become knowledgeable in evidence-based strategies. Three community colleges sent a team to the South Texas region training. Rio Grande Safe Communities o Worked with El Paso Community College by funding the Core Survey and assisted in submitting a DOE grant. The community coalition facilitated training on the community college campus to help develop an alcohol and other drug policy. San Antonio Council Alcohol Drug Abuse o Worked with three community colleges in San Antonio. The community coalition funded the Core Survey, developed a peer education consortium and facilitated focus sessions on the community college campuses to determine their prevention needs. Phoenix House/Houston o Organized college trainings on evidence-based strategies and invited all of the community colleges in the Houston, Texas area. Five community colleges and 10 professional staff attended the training. Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission hosted a college and university symposium (two day training featuring evidence based strategies) as part of the Enforcing the Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) grant program that included five community colleges in the South Texas region. VI. Results of Strategy Development Sessions of Community Colleges in Texas as reported during the trainings for community colleges: (Focus session data from 20 community colleges who attended training) 1. Challenges Little or no support from administration for student services Little or no budget 6

7 Little or no time to devote to program (inadequate personnel/staff positions) Community college staff felt intimidated with joint training of four-year colleges. 2. Solutions Focus on obtaining administration support Facilitate a series of conference calls to determine needs and interest of professional staff of community colleges for future trainings Host a prevention training recognizing the unique needs of community colleges. VII. Summary of conference calls (January 20-21, 2010) with forty community colleges in Texas. Department of State Health Services facilitated the calls and the dialogue was similar to the strategy development sessions at the trainings sessions noted above 1. What are some of the advantages Community Colleges provide to students, community and state? Easy transition from high school to college and often serves as a first step for students in moving forward in higher education Opportunities for first generation students to attend classes beyond high school Easy transition for returning students including as veterans Training for workforce occupations in health, safety and substance abuse Provide higher education to those unable to attend year institution of higher education due to cost and other issues Assist individuals dealing with academic probation Provide remediation classes Allows high school students to receive college credit before attending fouryear colleges and universities Students from four-year colleges and universities take courses during summer and breaks. A less expensive option to attending a four-year college and university Prepare students for jobs in local communities Leading the way in online distance learning Student Assistance Programs (SAP)- Identification and intervention method Suited for transition from high school to college and easy to adapt to community colleges Students contribute to economics of the community as many hold full or part time jobs in addition to attending the college Open Door Policy ACT or SAT are not required for acceptance Smaller classes allow to offer more individualized assistance to students Role of professors is to teach rather than focus on research 7

8 Policy makers (Board of Regents) and faculty are more closely connected to community Allow students who prefer to stay close to home due to either familial or economic reasons that opportunity 2. What are some of the limitations of attending a Community College? Lack of transportation Lack of prestige while attending a community college No/limited residence halls Limited instructors to teach subjects on an as-needed basis. Lack of counseling service available to assist students No student health services Some urban campuses perceive faculty unwilling to get involved Lack of available information about funding Shortage of faculty to offer a wider variety of needed/desired courses Use of adjunct faculty who may not be involved in student lives other than to teach a class Pros/cons of student populations from very diverse backgrounds and ages such as growing number of veterans and year olds. Still connected to high school buddies who may be binge drinkers 3. Major challenges for Texas community colleges that should be targeted during the next two years? Administration support and adequate budget for services. Access to data to assess challenges and/or limitations Address limited resources of all kinds (esp. budget and services) Provide support for the development and dissemination of alcohol, other drug and violence policies on campus. Address gaps in remedial education, domestic, substance abuse and mental health programs Increase the level of faculty support, visibility and knowledge about substance abuse Provide student services (staff and time) to facilitate alcohol screening and motivational interviewing More support and funding for law enforcement on campuses VIII. Moving Forward to Address Major Challenges: (Time frame will begin April The goal is to reach 50% of the community colleges in Texas during the first year). 1. Engaging Administration Support Recruit top-level administrators who understand prevention from each geographical area of Texas to take a lead among community colleges. (Include rural and urban campuses) 8

9 Host a conference of community college presidents, community college chancellors, presidents and board of trustees to review the state and federal mandates and cover evidence based strategies during the conference. Request community college presidents to appoint a team leader on each campus to work with statewide initiatives for prevention in Texas. Engage the President of each community college to appoint a campus wide task force that will include administration, faculty, staff, students, and community representatives to address the campus alcohol, other drugs and violence problems. 2. Conduct a campus and community data assessment and present to administration, faculty and community leaders. (The majority of community coalitions and state agencies have access to some relevant assessment data. The Center of Community College Engagement at (located at the University of Texas at Austin) has useful data from their 242 member community colleges across the country data ( 3. Develop a strategic/action plan with key stakeholders on campuses and in communities to manage the environment. The strategic plan will be developed in conjunction with the office of the campus president and local board of trustees. 4. Engage community coalitions and state agencies to collaborate with prevention and intervention efforts on at least 50% (36 campuses) of community colleges in Texas. 5. Review, update or develop, enforce and adjudicate policies and laws through the development of a webinar to reach each community college campus. The webinar will include skills in developing, enforcing and adjudicating the policies. These polices will then be distributed to all students, staff, community coalitions and local media. 6. Develop a faculty education program and mandate that all faculty attend. This program will include methods to recognize substance use and abuse disorders and method of referrals. 7. Continue online conference calls on a bi-annual basis to determine needs and interest of professional staff in reducing alcohol, other drugs and violence prevention. 8. Establish contact with local boards of trustees, parents, community coalitions and local foundations to enhance prevention and intervention efforts for community colleges. 9

10 IX. Additional Reading: (Cited in Section II on Review of Literature). DeJong.W.etal. (2006) Community College Presidents Role in Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention, Barbara Ryan (1998) Prevention Challenges at Community Colleges Brief Report from the Roundtable on Community College Health and Safety: Preventing Substance Abuse and Violence (2002). Engaging the Nation s Community Colleges as Prevention Partners Report to the President on Issues Raised by the Virginia Tech Tragedy (2007) X. References and web sites ¹ U. S. Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Regulations (34 CFR 86) Biennial Review Compliance ² The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (1998) or Clery Act is a federal statute codified at 20 U.S.C. 1092(f), with implementing regulations in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations at 34 C.F.R ³ Working in Partnership with Local Colleges and Universities. Strategizer 34 Prepared by William DeJong, Ph.D., Director and Joe C. Epstein, J.D., U. S. Department of Education s Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention /strategizer-34- working-partnership-local colleges-and universities 4 DeJong.W. et.at. (1998) Environmental management: A Comprehensive strategy for reducing alcohol and other drug use on college campuses, 5 DeJong.W. et.at. (2007) Experiences in Effective Prevention, U. S. Department of Education s model programs, searchpubs.higheredcenter.org/services/publications/... 6Task Force of the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2002) A Call to Action Changing the Culture of Drinking at U.S. College (Washington, D.C.: National Institutes of Health, 2002) _TOC.aspx 7 Darby Dickerson Stetson University College of Law (FL), Lessons in Collaboration: Learning from the Post-Virginia Tech Task Force Reports 10

11 XI. Appendix A: Lecture from Dr. William R. Auvenshine, President of Clarendon Community College in Clarendon, Texas. All institutions dealing with young adults (eighteen through twenty-four) must become aware of the reality of drug and alcohol abuse. Much has been written about the problems and abuse on university campuses across our nation, but very little is noted concerning abuse at the community colleges. Having been a community college president for thirty years and a dean of student life twelve years, I can testify from that experience that the problem does exists. Most of my experience has been in institutions with residence halls. The difference in perception of the problem of drug and alcohol abuse at the universities and the community colleges is that most universities have dormitories. The problem with drug and alcohol abuse is much more noticeable when the institution has the student for twenty-four hours as opposed to the typical community college that only has the student for a few hours each day. This is not to say that the problem does not exist, but that too many college administrations are simply not concerned because the problem is not as noticeable. Since most of the community colleges serve only commuting students, the student goes to class and then exists to take care of his drug or alcohol problem. The situation is entirely different when the student goes to class and then to the dormitory. If we are to make a difference in the cycle of drug and alcohol abuse, we must first recognize that the problem exists in the community college. We must then make a serious effort to educate our students. This, of course, must start with the community college president. Without the support of the college president, implementation of the prevention program will not take place. There must be board policies dealing with drug and alcohol abuse in place and known to all areas of the college community. The policy should be published in all school publications including the faculty and student handbook. Brochures and posters should be distributed through the campus. Policies must be enforced and counselors available to offer assistance. William R. Auvenshine, Ph.D, is the current President of Clarendon Community College, Clarendon, Texas and has had over 40 years of educational experiences including Chief Executive Officer of three Texas community colleges providing leadership, supervision, guidance and direction for all educational programs, services, policies, procedure and personnel. 11

12 XII. Appendix B: Survey for Focus Sessions Copy of focus questions utilized in Strategy Development Session of six trainings with 30 professional staff from the community colleges in Texas. The same focus questions were administered during the online conference call with 40 professional staff from the community colleges and community coalitions. Introduction: I would like to have your input for advantages, challenges and solutions of attending a community college. (Your comments will be confidential). As you are aware, if we identify the challenges then we will be in a position to recommend solutions. Our research indicates that we have limited research to help empower community colleges to reduce alcohol, other drugs and violence on campus and in the surrounding community. We believe in listening to the voices when you want to know the answers. You are the voices. Questions: 1. What advantage do community colleges provide the students, community and state? 2. What are the limitations of attending a community college? 3. What are the major challenges for community colleges to reduce alcohol, other drugs and violence on campus and in the community that should be addressed? 4. List the major recommendations or solutions to address the challenges of providing a healthy, safe and legal community college environment ( Please list in order of priority). 12

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