Book by: The American Association of Community Colleges and the Association of Community College Trustees
Review by: Irene D. Gordon-Jasmine, Advisor/Counselor
Academic Success-Student Support Services
Nicholls State University
Today community colleges attract more students than every before with their low tuition, open admission, flexible class schedules, and dedicated faculty and staff. Depending on location and need, some businesses even provide resources to help community colleges prepare students interested in certificates in allied fields. Some community colleges even offer applied and traditional four-year degrees while retaining the name of community college.
From the outside looking in, all may seem well. But, the combined research of the American Association of Community Colleges, the Association of Community College Trustees, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation indicates that community colleges may not be living up to their original purposes that include: establish partnerships with high schools, promote math and science degrees, seek articulation agreements with senior institutions, prepare students for skilled employment and civic leadership, and offer outreach programs for youths and adults based upon accessed the needs of the community.
This AACC report indicates that technology is a must if community colleges are to connect their students with the global village through distance learning. Technology incorporated in coursework should help develop practical skills that will make students employable and thus help the economy. As community colleges seek to educate the whole person (academically, intellectually, socially, and spiritually) the support of lifelong learning and diversity become challenges. Therefore, quality support systems, remedial education, and faculty inservice that connects teaching styles to learning styles, are a must if community colleges are to meet the needs of increasingly diverse student populations.
As they seek to accomplish these tasks, community colleges face financial constraints. The report shows that community colleges often fail to meet performance-based funding criteria. Executive board members frequently lack connection with community members who could offer fiscal support, fail to find ways to get additional local and state funding, or understand how to become involved in business opportunities that would promote work skills within today’s workplace and economy.
Although the primary audience for this book is community college chief executive officers, its recommendations, e.g., “learner support systems provide attentive advising” (p. 28), can benefit community college advisors. This report has a wealth of information for anyone seeking research on the challenges faced by community colleges. Advanced degree students seeking community college research or advisors who work with community college students should check their campus library for a copy.
The Knowledge Net: A Report of The New Expeditions Initiative. (2000). Book by The American Association of Community Colleges and the Association of Community College Trustees. Review by Irene D. Gordon-Jasmine. 50 pp. Washington D.C.: Community College Press. (paperback). ISBN #0-87117-329-8.