Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO, serves on the American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges – which examines challenges and opportunities facing community colleges. The commission recently released a report, “Reclaiming the American Dream,” that calls for dramatic changes to ensure the nation’s competitiveness.
“It is critical that we continue to embrace strategies to increase student success while providing open-door access,” says Dr. Rhodes. “We at ACC are on the front lines of this movement through our Student Success Initiative, and this report helps guide our next steps. I encourage all faculty, staff, and even students to review the commission’s work and gain a better understanding of the future of the community college system.”
Recommendations in the report include:
1. Increase completion rates by 50 percent by 2020, while preserving access, enhancing quality, and eradicating attainment gaps.
2. Dramatically improve college readiness: by 2020, reduce by half the students entering college unprepared for college-level work, and double the rate of students who complete developmental education and progress to successful completion of related freshman-level courses.
3. Close skills gaps by focusing career education on preparing students for existing and future jobs.
4. Refocus the community college mission and redefine institutional roles to meet 21st-century educational and employment needs.
5. Invest in support structures through collaboration among institutions and with partners in philanthropy, government, and the private sector.
6. Target public and private investments to create new incentives for educational institutions and their students and to support community college efforts to reclaim the American dream.
7. Implement policies and practices that promote rigor, transparency, and accountability for results in community colleges.
The report includes implementation strategies for each of the seven recommendations.
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