Time to get serious about redesigning our colleges

Stefanie Botelho's picture

To make the kind of lasting reforms that drive meaningful change, community college leaders must be prepared to break free of traditional conventions.

Everyone who works in a community college knows that the only authentic measure of a college’s success is the success of its students. And despite the truly significant contributions these institutions already are making to their communities and country, it is evident that we are falling short. College completion rates are unacceptably low. Achievement gaps are unacceptably wide. The people we serve are the future of our country, and far too few of them are completing college credentials.

Paraphrasing MIT’s Peter Senge, we can readily capture the reality facing community colleges: Every college is perfectly designed to produce precisely the results it is currently getting. And so, fundamental solutions lie not in fixing students or in blaming college people, but in redesigning the system to produce the desired results.

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