One can only applaud the recent proposal by the Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam to eliminate tuition for the first two years of community college for all high school graduates. Like similar proposals in Mississippi and Oregon, it is argued that eliminating tuition would increase access to college for many low-income students who do not now attend.
It is the first time in our nation’s history that institutions other than land-grant colleges have been mentioned by name in a Farm Bill. Our meetings with high level federal officials and their staffs confirmed the diligent work done by the Rural Community College Alliance to raise awareness as to the importance of our nation’s 600 rural community, technical, and tribal colleges as tools for regional rural development and uplift.
It is a delight to lead Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) at this time in its history. We serve nearly 60,000 students each and every year, preparing the residents of Cleveland and northeastern Ohio for productive careers and continued education.
Despite the chatter, few recognize education by massive open online courses college credit-worthy and fewer still know the value of “badges,” either how they are obtained or how they should be recognized.
Ours is an astonishing time to be involved with education. The rampant permutations of informational technologies, the ebb and flow of economics, societies, and markets, the multiplicity of personal choices and chances — all have conspired to alter dramatically the terrain of education; more so, perhaps for community colleges that are on the front lines of these changes.
Change — and lots of it — is the inescapable reality for community colleges, as they contend with volatile enrollment, increasing student diversity, rapid technological developments, escalating demands for accountability, and all too often, public disinvestment in postsecondary education.
As part of the upcoming election season, Texas voters are likely to see education at the forefront. Already Dan Patrick has made CSCOPE, a K-12 curriculum support system, a centerpiece of his bid for lieutenant governor.
Almost 40 years ago, community colleges were growing faster than they ever had since their founding at the turn to the 20th century. By 2012, however, with the economy stuck in second gear, many community college leaders are retiring or in the fourth and final quarter of their careers.
When institutions and organizations begin to identify with processes instead of intended outcomes, they become vulnerable. They lose sight of their real missions and, when faced with challenges or disruptive innovation, often struggle to survive. Eastman Kodak, once the dominant brand in photography, identified too closely with the chemical processes it used and failed to recognize that its overarching mission was photography rather than film and film processing.
George R. Boggs
President Obama recently announced his plan to make higher education more affordable for millions of students in the United States. I applaud his efforts, and agree that education is the ultimate equalizer that continues to be the ticket to the middle class.
The growing need for trained and resourceful leaders has become a mantra among retiring community college CEOs and trustees. College leaders are scheduled to retire at an astonishing rate over the next ten years. How to address the impending gap poses a significant problem as the need grows for leaders who can navigate a myriad of challenges: the influx of nontraditional students, mounting accountability measures, scarce resources and ever- changing workforce needs. Such demands are not for the fainthearted or ill-prepared.
In 1996, the Chancellor of the State University of New York, suggested community colleges were more sensitive than universities to the whims of the marketplace and more at risk of closing. We might, he said, disappear because of the ability of competitors to deliver similar services and programs more cost effectively and with greater public acceptance.
College presidents and other stakeholders spend a considerable amount of time contemplating leadership. What is it? How can leaders be effective? Are wise decisions the result of courageous leadership? Does limited progress reflect minimal leadership or lack of leadership? Organizations seem to function as they have been designed to do.
Last spring, a few finalists on the singing competition program American Idol were challenged to sing from the Beatles library. One contestant stated that he had not heard of the Beatles, much less the assigned song. With a measure of shock I replayed the DVR to rehear the confession.