The Community College Practice-Research-Policy Exchange
In speaking about the importance of advancing equity and economic mobility during his remarks at the 2022 AACC Annual, U.S. Education Under Secretary James Kvaal emphasized that “a strong community college might be the most important institution our country has for that goal.” High praise indeed from the U.S. Department of Education’s top higher education official. We might only add that this sentiment is especially true today, with our country and our students seeking to regain economic traction as we come out of the pandemic. Community college leaders will need research-based solutions to successfully face current challenges while at the same time seizing the opportunities that lie ahead.
Now more than ever, community college leaders need research-based solutions to the challenges facing their institutions. While there’s a growing body of community college research, it’s not always connected to the immediate needs of college leaders trying to make changes on their campuses. To connect research to practice more directly, the authors—whose careers span decades of research and service to community colleges—have formed the Community College Practice-Research-Policy Exchange. Our goal is to build a two-way loop between practitioners and researchers that will deliver empirical findings into the hands of practitioners in the field.
The 21st Century requires the creation of what I prefer to think of as a "Communiversity" -- an organizing strategy that enables us to tap the existing public resources of our secondary schools, the community college and our regional public universities. That means today's community college leaders must conceptually view and extend their definition of "community" beyond the community college campus to K-12, university and nonprofit community-based service partners. We must move from a highly disconnected array of institutions to a more tightly bundled system of community-based education.