Re-visioning Community Colleges

Positioning for Innovation

By (author) Debbie Sydow, Richard L. Alfred

Publication date:

27 December 2012

Length of book:

160 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9781442214866

Re-visioning Community Colleges traces the development and generational evolution of community colleges, explores the past success and future capacity of community colleges as disruptive innovators, and analyzes this sector’s unique advantages and vulnerabilities. Ultimately, Sydow and Aflred presents alternative futures for community colleges as they—like all sectors of higher education—face rapidly changing environmental forces and conditions. Re-visioning, the primary thrust of the book, is the process of foresight into the shape that community colleges will likely take in the future, on the basis of their growth and innovation trajectory and in response to the dramatic industry shift that is currently underway in the higher education enterprise.
Sydow (president, Richard Bland Coll.) and Alfred (education, emeritus, Univ. of Michigan) analyze the role of community colleges in higher education. Their rapid growth in the 20th century improved access to higher learning. In the 21st century, access is no longer sufficient; completion and accountability are needed. Reduced resources have forced community colleges to restructure through a lens of growth and reduction, abundance and scarcity, continuity and change, access and success. Here the authors present models of restructuring that have been successful; for instance, one case study shows a community college using 'reaccreditation as a catalyst for systematically reinventing itself'— a part of the college’s strategic plan to improve management and the institution as a whole, including its enrollment, use of physical space, budget development, and programming. Most valuable are the sections with concrete illustrations of innovations at community colleges around the country and reports from foundations and education associations calling for specific changes. The authors address the challenges facing community colleges through a combination of theory and case studies, historical perspective, an explanation of institutional stagnation, and potential paths to revival. VERDICT This title is best suited for the professional educator.