The 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges will rethink the mission of the nation’s largest and fastest growing higher education sector.
The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) named three co-chairs to guide the 36-member commission: San Diego Community College District Chancellor Emeritus Augustine Gallego, Cuyahoga Community College President Jerry Sue Thornton, and Dr. Kay McClenney, director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement.
In addition to college and university leaders, the commission includes Kati Haycock of the Education Trust, Mark Milliron of the Gates Foundation, Diana Oblinger of EDUCAUSE and James T. Ryan of W.W. Grainger, Inc.
“We have very intentionally selected commissioners who bring diverse viewpoints and backgrounds,” said AACC President Walter G. Bumphus. “That includes a few friendly critics who have consistently challenged community colleges to increase accountability and improve student outcomes.”
The first commission meeting will be held Aug. 12 in Washington, DC.
“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,” Bumphus said. “We will also not shy from criticism, such as our perceived need to be all things to all people.”
Community colleges are trying to cope with rising demand for education and job training and declining state funding. President Obama wants community colleges to graduate an additional 5 million students with degrees and certificates by 2020.