UI's Office of Community College Research and Leadership Celebrates 30 Years of Enhancing Community College Education

Members of the Office of Community College Research and Leadership

​​​​​The Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL), an initiative of the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will kick off its 30th-anniversary celebration on Oct. 30, 2019, by holding a morning College and Career Awareness program with fifth-graders at the Booker T. Washington STEM Academy in Champaign.

Afterward, OCCRL will host a brown bag Lunch & Learn at noon at the Education Building at 1310 S. Sixth St., Champaign, featuring a panel of former community college transfer students who are Ph.D. candidates or recipients. It is the first of three afternoon open-to-the-public activities to celebrate the 30th anniversary of OCCRL, which conducts research that is disseminated worldwide to improve policies, programs, and practices to enhance community college education and the transition to college for diverse learners.

Lunchtime panelists Jose Del Real Viramontes, Chaddrick James-Gallaway, Marielisbet Perez, and Angel Luis Velez will discuss how they navigated undergraduate study and talk about their transfer experience and the role community college played in their doctoral aspirations and pursuits.

“There have been other community college research centers throughout the country but to my knowledge, there have been none with the longevity of OCCRL,” says director Eboni Zamani-Gallaher, a professor in Education Policy, Organization & Leadership at the College of Education.

“We’ve had such a long run because we have always been a strong advocate for community colleges. We acknowledge their challenges, but we also share their strengths, and we’ve been a really good resource relative to generating studies that have had impact on policies and have extended understanding of community college contexts,” she says.

Other public afternoon events include a matinee showing of Student Athlete, an HBO Sports documentary, as part of OCCRL’s public engagement series “Movies that Matter,” at 1:30 p.m. in room 22. Complimentary concession snacks and refreshments will be provided at the showing. The discussion to follow the film will explore issues of fairness and integrity, stratification in collegiate sports, the role of Division III schools and the transfer function in college athletics, gender equity and inclusion in sports, as well as equitable outcomes and completion among student athletes. 

Events will conclude with a Cheers to 30 Years celebration from 4:15 to 6 p.m. in the new O’Leary Learning Center in Room 10, with remarks from  James D. Anderson, Dean of the College of Education; Dr. Brian Durham, executive director of the Illinois Community College Board; and Dr. George Johnston, as well as reflections from founding and current directors of OCCRL Drs. Debra Bragg and Eboni Zamani-Gallaher. Hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and beverages will be served.

Individuals who are interested in attending can register for the events here or by contacting Sal Nudo at 217-300-1985 or at snudo@illinois.edu.

Sal Nudo, Communications Manager, OCCRL
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Source: College of Education at Illinois

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