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The American Association of Community Colleges has announced the members of a commission charged with comprehensively examining the challenges and opportunities facing the fasting-growing sector of higher education.
The 36 members of the 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges include representatives from an array of constituencies and expertise from education, business, policy and communications (see below for list of members). The commission’s first meeting will be Aug. 12 in Washington, D.C.
“We have very intentionally selected commissioners who bring diverse viewpoints and backgrounds,” said AACC President and CEO Walter Bumphus. “That includes a few friendly critics who have consistently challenged community colleges to increase accountability and improve student outcomes.”
The new commission was preceded by a listening tour by Bumphus, who is visiting community colleges and advocates around the country to gauge the top issues confronting two-year colleges and to help develop a national roadmap to guide community college leaders into a new era of change. Comments and suggestions gathered from the tour will be forwarded to the commission.
“It is my intention to capitalize on the insights from the community college listening tours conducted by Dr. Walter Bumphus," said commission co-chair Jerry Sue Thorton, president of Cuyahoga Community College (Ohio). "I plan to couple my 40 years of community college experience with the data collection, research, and commission members’ input to help shape this discussion. The commission work should result in a new blueprint for community colleges and define an evolving mission and direction for the future.”
Over the next 10 months, the commission will examine the community college mission and how it fits into the current world. That includes addressing President Barack Obama’s challenge to two-year colleges to graduate an additional 5 million students with degrees, certificates or other credentials by 2020, at a time when states are struggling with funding education because of tight budgets.
At the 2011 AACC convention in April, Bumphus announced the co-chairs of the commission, who said that the panel will address an array of issues, from funding and advocacy, to college access and completion.
“We do not intend to be timid or superficial in confronting the hard choices and need for innovative thinking our leaders face in the coming decades,” Bumphus said. “We will focus the collective intellect of the commission on such issues as use of disruptive technologies to speed learning and the redesign of structures, calendars and processes to better match the needs of our increasingly diverse student population. We will also not shy from criticism, such as our perceived need to be all things to all people.”
Copyright ©2012 American Association of Community Colleges