Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL)

Est. 1989 - Equity and Inclusion in Education for All

Office of Community College 35 Year Anniversary

An initiative in the Department of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, OCCRL uses research and evaluation at Illinois to improve policies, programs, and practices that enhance community college education and equity for all learners.

Network News Newsletter

Office of Community College Research and Leadership at Illinois

The May 30 Network News from OCCRL highlights the recent Illinois Community College Leadership Institute in Decatur, features a new webinar on open educational resources, introduces a new OCCRL research assistant, and contains plenty of higher education news and events.

Democracy's College podcast by the Office of Community College Research and LeadershipOCCRL has created many podcasts over the years highlighting the expertise and experiences of students, scholars, and practitioners in the P-20 education field. Discover the numerous Democracy’s College, Student Spotlight, and Scholarly Personal Narratives podcasts that promote educational equity, justice, and excellence for all students.

Meet Sarah Rodriguez

"My experiences at Trinity Valley Community College set in motion my current career as an associate professor of engineering education at Virginia Tech, where I have an active research agenda focused on the promise of community colleges as transformative pathways for STEM students. I am forever indebted to my home community college."

Read the full interview.

Sarah Rodriguez

Meet Stacey Robinson

"My fiancée was pregnant and told me that she wouldn’t marry a man without an education. It was the perfect opportunity to enter higher education again."

Read the full interview.

Stacey Robinson


Meet Marissa Vasquez

"I knew college was important but lacked the specific guidance to navigate the education system on my own."

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Marissa Vasquez with newspaper


Meet Andy Woods

"I would love to combat the stigma that junior college isn't a worthy option for the first two years of college."

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Andy Woods and his daughter, Jenna