Community College and Public Health
The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises more than 1,250 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, and universities of every type and size. AAC&U organizes its work around five broad goals: (1) A Guiding Vision for Liberal Education (2) Inclusive Excellence (3) Intentional and Integrative Learning (4) Civic, Diversity, and Global Engagement (5) Authentic Evidence. Through its publications, meetings, public advocacy, and programs, AAC&U provides a powerful voice for liberal education. AAC&U works to reinforce the commitment to liberal education at both the national and the local level and to help individual colleges and universities keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges. With a nearly one-hundred year history and national stature, AAC&U is an influential catalyst for educational improvement and reform.
The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is the primary advocacy organization for the nation’s community colleges. The association represents nearly 1,200 two-year, associate degree–granting institutions and more than 13 million students. AACC promotes community colleges through five strategic action areas: recognition and advocacy for community colleges; student access, learning, and success; community college leadership development; economic and workforce development; and global and intercultural education.
A national survey of AAC&U and AACC members was conducted in 2009.
In order to collect baseline data on the proportion of two-year colleges that offer public health or related associate degrees and/or certificates, stratified sampling methodology was employed. Strata 1 consisted of institutions identified as likely having public health or related programs, based on classification codes of the National Center for Education Statistics; a website listing programmatic offerings at colleges; and other leads received from contacts knowledgeable in this area.
Strata 2 consisted of a simple random sample of the remaining two-year colleges, utilizing AACC’s definition of “community college.” Academic programs of study, with corresponding curriculum, were reviewed on each sampled college’s website. For consistency, the inclusion criteria were based on that utilized by the AAC&U's Catalog Scan for Undergraduate Public Health Programs, for four-year institutions. A program qualified as a public health or related associate degree or certificate program, based on fulfilling both of the following criteria: (1) Program of study includes courses covering material in Public Health 101, Epidemiology 101, or Global Health 101, the core public health courses recommended as part of general education and (2) a program description and/or learning goals that address questions of healthy communities and society.
As potential public health and related programs were identified, a second review of the curriculum was performed by a Senior Fellow at AAC&U who worked on the Catalog Scan of Undergraduate Public Health Programs for four-year institutions, and served as a consultant to the Community College and Public Health project to verify whether the inclusion criteria were fulfilled. Consensus was reached between the researchers as to whether the program fit the inclusion criteria.
The final sample size for 2010 was 414 colleges, which represents 35% of U.S. community colleges, as defined by the AACC. The sample size was calculated using a standard error formula for stratified random sampling, with a 95% confidence interval.
Riegelman, R. and Albertine, S. (2008) Recommendations for Undergraduate Public Health Education. Association of American Colleges and Universities and Association for Prevention Teaching and Research. Retrieved from: https://www.aacu.org/sites/default/files/files/PublicHealth/Recommendations_for_Undergraduate_Public_Health_Education.pdf.