It’s been about a year since the report “Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation’s Future” was released at the 2012 AACC Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida. The report is the result of the Two-Phase 21st Century Initiative that is a response to President Obama’s education agenda and challenge for community colleges. The goal of President Obama’s education agenda is to educate an additional 5 million students and provide them with degrees, certificates or other credentials by 2020. To address this goal, the report presents a vision for re-imagining community colleges, anchored with the following directives:
- Redesign the student educational experience
- Reinvent institutional roles
- Reset the system to create incentives for student and institution
What is the status of the 21st Century Initiative?
At this point, Phase One: “ The Listening Tour” and Phase Two, the construction of the report, are complete. Following these two phases, nine teams have been convened to provide guidance and identify implementation challenges reported by AACC constituencies. The implementation teams are organized in the following manner:
- Team One: Community College Completion Commitment
- Team Two: Re-Imagining Pathways for Students
- Team Three: Community College/K-12 Collaboration for College Readiness
- Team Four: Developmental Education Redesign–Resources for Community Colleges
- Team Five: Closing the Skills Gap
- Team Six: Policy and Advocacy Agenda for Reclaiming the American Dream
- Team Seven: Redefining Institutional Roles and Functions
- Team Eight: Accountability
- Team Nine: Faculty Engagement and Leadership Development
What are 21st Century Initiative implementation options for your community college?
One track some community colleges have chosen to pursue is to use this framework for a campus-wide strategic planning effort. Another option is to contemplate the three imperatives in the report. Consider assessing the quality of your institute’s student education experience. Explore student lifecycle processes such as:
- Enroll: Recruitment, Admissions, Financial Aid, Registration
- Engagement: Academic/Degree Planning, Counseling, Career Services
- Emerge/Embark: Transfer (Articulation), Continuing Ed (course advisement), Professional (transcript verification)
Question to consider:
How does the quality of the student experience compare across all student demographics?
If student services are top of mind for your institution- where do you begin?
(Check out the student services redesign blog series).
Questions about how to leverage the findings from this report at your institution? Contact me at