The California Acceleration Project
The California Acceleration Project (CAP) was founded in 2010 by two community college teachers who wanted to do something about the poor outcomes of students placed into remediation. CAP is a faculty-led professional development network that supports the state’s 116 community colleges to implement reforms that substantially increase student completion of transferable, college-level English and math requirements, a critical milestone on the path to degrees and transfer. These include using high school grades in placement; replacing traditional remedial courses with corequisite models; tailoring math remediation to students’ program of study; and teaching with high-challenge, high-support pedagogy in English, math, and ESL. CAP is funded through grants from the James Irvine Foundation, the College Futures Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Foundation for California Community Colleges is CAP’s fiscal sponsor.
CAP has received awards from the Association of California Community College Administrators, the Campaign for College Opportunity, and the Research and Planning Group for California Community Colleges. CAP Co-Founders Katie Hern and Myra Snell were named to the “16 Most Innovative People in Higher Education” by the Washington Monthly. CAP efforts have been featured in the New York Times, Inside Higher Education, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Black Minds Matter, Diversity and Democracy, EdSource, the Sacramento Bee, and KQED’s California Report. CAP leaders have also addressed national audiences at events hosted by the American Association of Colleges and Universities, Achieving the Dream, Complete College America, the Education Commission of the States, and the Public Policy Institute of California.
CAP Co-Founder Katie Hern is an English Instructor at Skyline College and has done extensive research into her own classroom and accelerated/corequisite models of remediation. Along with CAP Co-Founder Myra Snell, Hern was named one of the “16 Most Innovative People in Higher Education” by the Washington Monthly. Hern began teaching English composition at Bowling Green State University in 1991. Her past roles include serving as an English Instructor at Chabot College, Co-Director of California’s Faculty Inquiry Network, and Dean of Academic Affairs for John F. Kennedy University. She holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Mills College.
CAP Co-Founder Myra Snell is a professor of mathematics at Los Medanos College where she has taught since 1991. Along with CAP Co-Founder Katie Hern, Snell was named one of the “16 Most Innovative People in Higher Education” by the Washington Monthly and was one of four finalists for the national Faculty Innovation award from the American Association of Community Colleges. She holds a master’s degree in Pure Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley.
CAP Assistant Director Summer Serpas is the Co-Chair of the Department of English at Irvine Valley College. Serpas has worked to lead remediation reform on her campus and across the state, sharing her work with faculty, administrators, state legislators, the Board of Governors, and representatives from statewide college systems outside of California. She holds a master’s degree in English from California State University, Fullerton.
CAP staff writer Leslie Henson is an English instructor and former co-chair of English and Journalism at Butte College. After participating in CAP’s first Community of Practice, Henson helped lead and then document placement and remediation reform at Butte College. This work earned a 2015 RP Group Award for Excellence in College Research and was published in The Journal of Writing Assessment. She has since written about reforms at other colleges and statewide in numerous CAP publications. She holds a doctorate in English from the University of Florida.