Dallas College News Update

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David Mahan is founding executive director of the Research Institute at Dallas College.

For immediate release — June 20, 2022

Contact: Alex Lyda; alyda@dcccd.edu​

(DALLAS) — The Research Institute at Dallas College has increased the reach of its work with the launch of a new website that shares research findings with the public, as well as with peers in higher education, through evidence-based studies that will measure the socio-economic impact of Dallas College’s educational model on the region.

With goals similar to the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University, the new Research Institute at Dallas College was founded in 2021 to engage in projects aimed at creating a more equitable education system that promotes access and success for all North Texans.

By examining long-term trends from K-12 schools, college and beyond into the workforce, the Research Institute helps Dallas College provide the greatest return possible to its students and, in turn, the community. In addition to return on investment, the institute is currently pursuing a variety of research topics including educational attainment, the college-going rate, student debt and support of English language learners.

With the institute’s launching of a new website today, the institute has opened up its work, including research briefs, infographics and interactive dashboards, to the public, allowing other researchers in higher education to choose the ways in which they would like to study the data, which could ultimately help redefine traditional higher education practices.

“Much of our current agenda focuses on leading Dallas College to positively impact the metroplex and to help North Texas reach the goals of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Building a Talent Strong Texas plan,” says Founding Executive Director David Mahan. “Through an innovative and robust research agenda, our team is exploring ways to strategically support student success and to drive further innovation in education. In doing so, we can increase employment opportunities and income for individuals, create a deeper talent pool for employers and align students’ skills with workforce demands.”

Some of the initial research the institute is exploring centers around such questions as:

  • What have been the effects of education level on household economic outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic, both locally and nationally?
  • What are the returns on investment in a community college education versus just having a high school diploma?
  • What are the existing equity gaps across different fields of study and at different institutions?

The Research Institute is also an integral part of the vision of Dallas College’s eighth chancellor, Dr. Justin Lonon. His focus on equity, social responsibility and service to the Dallas community helped inform the founding tenets of the institute, which is designed to give voice to the post-secondary education needs of the Dallas College community.

“Community colleges like Dallas College are uniquely positioned to promote equity and social mobility in our region,” Dr. Lonon said. “Having actionable information that helps improve and guide where Dallas College invests its educational resources in the future starts with data. The research being done by the dedicated group of individuals at our Research Institute will help Dallas College and policymakers throughout the state strengthen opportunities and improve outcomes for greater and greater numbers of students, particularly those from underserved populations.”

To learn more about the Research Institute at Dallas College and explore current projects, including interactive dashboards, visit the new website or please contact the Research Institute’s Dr. Emily Sharma at emily.sharma@dcccd.edu.

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About the Research Institute at Dallas College

The Research Institute at Dallas College integrates research efforts from multiple sectors and regional partners to more effectively assess the long-term outcomes of Dallas College students and their impact on the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The institute’s research team is comprised of analysts for data science, economics and survey research, as well as a data visualization specialist and a technical writer. To underscore the institute’s continuous focus on student success, it is housed within the innovative Student Success unit, which is led by Vice Chancellor Beatriz Joseph. The Research Institute collaborates not only with other offices across Dallas College, but also with numerous community partners to achieve the most comprehensive and accurate look at how North Texans are reaching their educational and workforce goals.

About Dallas College

Dallas College, formerly Dallas County Community College District, was founded in 1965 and consists of seven campuses: Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland. Dallas College offers online learning and serves more than 125,000 credit and continuing education students annually. Dallas College also offers dual credit for students in partner high schools and early college high schools throughout Dallas County. Students benefit from partnerships with local business leaders, school districts and four-year universities, and Dallas College offers associate degree and career/technical certificate programs in more than 100 areas of study, as well as a bachelor’s degree in education. Based on annual enrollment, it is the largest community college in Texas.