Wheelhouse Research


Wheelhouse publishes timely, readily understood and actionable briefs for decision-maker audiences statewide, including community college administrators and trustees, the California Community College Chancellor’s Office and Board of Governors, the Office of the Governor, the State Legislature and media covering higher education.

We serve as the hub for a statewide network of researchers whose work informs and connects to our mission. Our work is also informed and supported by a Research Collaboration Council of 12 community college CEOs. 

To cultivate the next generation of California Community Colleges-focused scholars, we engage undergraduates, graduate students and postdocs in our work and sponsor an annual summer research fellowship for doctoral candidates whose work touches the CCCs. 

Community College Baccalaureate Degree

Benefits and Opportunities: California’s Community College Baccalaureate Programs (Hoang, Vo and Rios-Aguilar, 2022)

Pioneering The Community College Baccalaureate in California: The Experience of West Los Angeles College (Aguiar, Dones, Quiñones, Rios-Aguilar, Chavac and Cruz, 2022)

A Missed Opportunity for Equity? Early Observations on CA’s Community College BA Pilot (Cuellar and Gandara, 2017)

Community College Finance

Funding Incentives for CCCs: Impacts of the SCFF on Financial Aid Receipt (Linden, 2022)

Understanding the Student-Centered Funding Formula (Linden, 2022)

Community College Leadership

Kurlaender, M. & Bennett, S. (April 2024). Focusing on Wins: California Community College Leaders Reflect on Pandemic-Era Innovations. ARCC Network Blog.

Leading as Myself: California Community College CEO Reflections on Personal and Institutional Growth Across a Year of Racial Reckoning (Bush, Cooper, Escobar, Kurlaender and Rodriguez, 2021)

Toward a More Perfect Institution: Reflections from California Community College Leaders on Racism, Anti-Blackness and Implicit Bias (Bush, Cooper, Kurlaender and Rodriguez, 2020)

Who’s on Line One? The Delicate Juggling Act of Community College CEOs (Cooper and Benson, 2019)

Talk to Me: What California Community College Trustees Want from their CEOs (Cooper, 2017)

Tough Job if You Can Keep It: What California Community College CEOs Say About Their Challenges and Longevity (Cooper, 2016)

Developmental Education Reform (AB 705)

Working as Designed: A Causal Analysis of AB 705 Shows Increased Rates of Transfer-Level Course Taking and Passage (Alice Li, 2023)

Navigators of Critical Reform: California Community College Counseling Faculty as Agents of Change in Implementing AB 705 (Acevedo, 2022)

Progress and Potential: Considering the Question of Racial Equity in CA AB705 (Melguizo, Cooper, Kurlaender, Bensimon, 2021)

Dual Enrollment

A Strong Start for College and Career: Dual Enrollment Participation from 9th to 12th Grade (Friedmann, Reed, Kurlaender, Dykeman, 2024)

A Foot in the Door: Growth in Participation and Equity in Dual Enrollment in California (Kurlaender, Reed, Grosz, Mathias and Hughes, 2021)

A Leg Up on College: The Scale and Distribution of Community College Participation Among California High School Students (Friedmann, Kurlaender, Li and Rumberger, 2020)

A Rising Tide: Dual Enrollment is Growing Among California High School Students (Wheelhouse, California Education Lab, and PACE, 2020)

Financial Aid

​​Linden, R. (May 2024). Early Alerts: How Two California Colleges Are Using Relief Funds to Keep Students Enrolled. ARCC Network Blog.

Rodriquez, O., Payares-Montoya, D., & Cook, K. (2024, May). How did pandemic recovery funding support California community colleges? San Francisco, CA: Public Policy Institute of California.  [Submitted to ERIC, pending approval.]

Cooper, S. (April 2024). Zero Textbook Cost: In California, a Community College President Leveraged Short-Term Funds for Long-Term Impact. ARCC Network Blog.

Financial Aid for California Community College Students (Kurlaender, Martorell, Friedmann, 2021)

Why do Some Students Fail to Receive Pell Grants? (Friedmann and Martorell, 2019)

Money Left on the Table: An Analysis of Pell Grant Receipt Among Financially-Eligible Community College Students in California (Martorell and Friedmann, 2018)

Text Me: The Promise of Strategic Nudging to Increase Student Awareness and Access to Financial Aid (Rios-Aguilar, Martinez, Graves, Lopez, and Deil-Amen, 2018)

Pandemic Impacts and Innovation

Kurlaender, M., Cooper, S., Bush, E., & Rodriguez, F. (Forthcoming). From the Disruption of the Pandemic, A Path Forward for Community Colleges. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning. 

Martinez, M. (Forthcoming). Portraits of Resilience: Community College Students Navigating Challenges Amid the Pandemic [ARCC Network Brief]. New York, NY: Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University. 

Hurtt, A. Wheelhouse Research Collaboration Council: Shaping our Understanding of Pandemic Recovery. (April 2024). ARCC Network Blog. 

Pandemic-Period Enrollment and Persistence in California Community Colleges (Linden, Kurlaender, Martorell and Carrell, 2022)

Everybody Pulling in the Same Direction: The COVID-19 Shift to Online Delivery of Instruction and Student Services (Hart, Xu, Hill and Alonso, 2021)

Turning on a Dime: California Community College Transformation in Response to COVID-19 (Cooper, Hart, Kurlaender, Rios-Aguilar, Rodriguez and Sublett, 2020)

Special Populations

A Portrait of Student Parents in the California Community Colleges: A New Analysis of Financial Aid Seekers with Dependent Children (Reed, Grosz, Kurlaender and Cooper, 2021)

Higher Learning Inside: An Exploration of the Demographic Make-up of Incarcerated Persons Taking Postsecondary Courses in California (Britton, Friedmann and Adan, 2021)

Like a Juggler: The Experiences of Racially Minoritized Student Parents in a California Community College (Huerta, Rios-Aguilar, Ramirez and Muñoz, 2021)

College Quality: The Promises and Pitfalls of Measurement (Kurlaender, Carrell and Jackson, 2018)

Student experience 

Enlace Comunitario Identifying Opportunities to Enhance Community College Outreach and Recruitment of Latinx/a/o Students (Mayra Nuñez Martinez, Marcela G. Cuellar, Sherrie Reed and Celia Esposito-Noy 2023)

More than just money? Early outcomes of Lake Tahoe Community College (LTCC) College Promise Program in New Directions for Community Colleges (Claudia Escobar, Elizabeth Zeiger Friedmann, and Silvia Tovar, 2023)

Toward Belonging in the Community College Classroom: Lessons from the Learning for Equity Ascend Research Network (LEARN) (Escobar, 2023)

Course Closed: Using Waitlists to Study the Effects of Course Shutouts on Community College Students (Robles, Gross and Fairlie, 2021)

Transfer Pathways 

ADTs at Year 10 (Baker, Kurlaender, Friedmann, 2020)

Starting off on the Wrong Foot: Math Misalignment and STEM Outcomes in California Community Colleges (Park, Ngo and Melguizo, 2019)

Associate Degrees for Transfer: A Snapshot of Progress Across CA Community Colleges (Baker, Kurlaender and Friedmann, 2018)

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