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. His comments ignited a theme that inspired me then to publish an article in Community College Week, which is even more relevant today: that a community colleges’ most profound challenge is to inspire trustees, faculty, staff and students to understand that rapid and dramatic academic and organizational change are necessary for community colleges to fulfill the demands of community and employers in the 21st Century.
The issue is quite simple. The university owns the public’s respect as a prestigious gateway to a successful life. Many small colleges will disappear, but universities will continue to generate substantial funds for technology advancement, research and teaching, continuing their control of access to a desired future. Yet, community colleges serve almost half of higher education’s students today but face the following: <Read more.>