Book Reviews

Book by Thomas Brown, Margaret C. King, & Patricia Stanley
Review by: Laura Shafer-Malone
Student Success Center 
University of Southern Mississippi

Community college administrators, staff, and faculty are given a comprehensive look into community college history, student demographics, and ever changing student needs in Brown, King, and Stanley’s collection.  The contributors provide valuable information and resources on a variety of topics surrounding community college students.  Whether the reader’s goal is developing an understanding of the community college student, establishing resources and services, creating program curriculum, implementing assessment plans, or investigating possible improvements to student engagement and success programming, this book provides suggestions and guidelines. 

The first section of the book provides the reader with a solid community college historical perspective.  In addition, this section describes the diverse characteristics of the community college student. It is within this section that the authors begin to examine the services and resources needed to engage students and develop a stronger academic foundation for student success.  The second section of the book offers examples that provide the readers with programming suggestions for undeclared and developmental student populations.  This segment also establishes the importance of staff and faculty professional development for improving student and educator relationships.  Finally, this unit discusses the significance of transfer initiatives for students and community college constituents, such as employers and four-year institutions.  The third section of the book further examines programs which create a roadmap for first year student success and engagement. 

Strengths of this book are the numerous chapters grounded in research. These chapters include quantitative and qualitative data ranging from student characteristics and participation to community college interventions and practices.  The reference sections following the chapters are also beneficial for further reading.  Other strengths are the book’s wide-ranging programming suggestions for meeting diverse student needs.  The book also dedicates attention to the importance of institutional leadership and professional development for staff and faculty.  Although the book offered recommendations for student engagement and success, community college administrators could benefit from supplementary information on conducting assessment and evaluation of current community college programs and services. Academic advisement was also carefully outlined and definitions of advisement models were given, however more information on application and best practices would assist administrators with academic advisement assessment and possible reorganization.   

This book is excellent resource for community college academic and student affairs administrators, providing those readers with a plethora of guidelines for developing student success model programs. Although this book was written for community college professionals, there is a broader audience.  Because many of the issues related to community college students are applicable to four-year students, much of the text applies to other higher education student success programming. In addition, the recommendations extend well beyond the first year of enrollment. As a professional in higher education, this book provides useful guidelines for creating and continuing to improve student success programs and services.


Fulfilling the promise of the community college: Increasing first-year student engagement and success.  (2011). Book by Thomas Brown, Margaret C. King, & Patricia Stanley (Eds.). Review by: Laura Shafer-Malone. Columbia, SC: National Resources Center for The First-Year Experience, 212 pp., Price $40. ISBN 978-1-889-27174-3

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