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Community Colleges

Subordinated and marginalized. That’s how faculty of color at community colleges are feeling.

By the time our UB audience reads this, the movie “Captain Phillips,” based on a true story, will be hitting the Hollywood box office. After keeping the crew of his ship safe, Phillips was held hostage on a lifeboat by Somali pirates. In interviews since, the captain reported not knowing that the ship anchored on his horizon carried US Navy SEALs—a team that would ultimately rescue him.

Since their inception after WWII, the U.S. Navy SEALs have intelligently vanquished US enemies.

Officials at Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio have developed a MOOC consistent with its mission as a two-year school that provides developmental education, particularly in math, to get prospective students up to speed.

A “willingness to take significant risks to advance student success” is a quality often overlooked by hiring boards in the search for community college leaders, says Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence program.

Priority registration allows freshmen at Rio Hondo College to enroll in the courses they need right from the get-go.

Many community college students take much longer than the intended two years to complete their studies, or don’t ever wind up graduating at all. Traditionally, administrators focused on accommodating those who may have credits but little direction.

Now, at some schools, greater attention is being placed on helping incoming freshmen not just enroll but also start off their college careers on a positive note. The idea is that they will stay and finish within two years.

Two-year students typically work more hours than four-year students and may have families to provide for

A 46,000-square-foot abandoned furniture warehouse has been given new life as the continuing education and industrial center at Randolph Community College in Asheboro, N.C.


As with many community colleges, Randolph was in need of expansion due to large enrollment growth. Overflowing parking lots as well as classrooms in the machining program at the school led to an overhaul of the old Klaussner Furniture warehouse, located adjacent to the campus’ Health & Science Center and to Randolph Early College High School.

Maintaining healthy town/gown relations enhances campus life and generally makes the institutional mission easier to achieve. In recent years, however, community college officials are finding that efforts must go beyond providing cultural venues that locals can access.

It had been predicted for years and now it looks like it is finally coming to pass. No, not the Mayan calendar apocalypse. After years of steep increases, higher education enrollments are slowing, almost across the board. In its “Projections of Education Statistics to 2021” report, the Department of Education predicts that overall higher education enrollment will rise only about 15 percent from 2010 to 2021, after witnessing a 46 percent increase from 1996 to 2010.

While community colleges are supposed to be two-year institutions, many students take longer than that to graduate. Some four-year institutions, meanwhile, allow ambitious students to earn a bachelor’s degree in three years. Pima Community College (Ariz.) has come up with a new twist to the accelerated degree trend, giving East Campus students enrolling in the Sprint Schedule pilot program the chance to be done in just one.