America’s Community Colleges: Professionally Led, Community Supported

9/30/07


America’s community colleges work! And they are making a profound difference across our land. Thousands of young, and not-so-young Americans are experiencing their first chance, and for some their last chance, at higher education. Talent is being developed on the shores of the Delaware, down south to Mississippi, across our great expansive country to the West Coast in major metropolitan areas like San Diego, to large cities in Texas and small cities in Illinois.

A community college can be found almost everywhere in the United States. What do community colleges have in common? A huge passion to help students succeed and America flourish.

Last week, a delegation of Cumberland County College Trustees and staff attended the Association of Community College Trustees annual conference. During the conference, we attended presentations and workshops, and were honored to be able to present a session on our work here at Cumberland.

During the entire three days of the conference, we met scores of excited, engaged community college trustees from all over the country. Like us, they were there to learn more about how they could partner successfully with their respective presidents to lead their local community colleges.

We came away impressed. The dedication of these trustees mirrored our own. During the conference, the packed sessions began at 8 a.m. and continued through the early evening. Our early morning session, “Developing Economic Prosperity through Strategic Partnering,” was full. Gosh, were we surprised. In retrospect, we shouldn’t have been. This dedication is what helps assure community college success.

In the main, community colleges work because they are professionally led and community supported. Wise, dedicated trustees know that their most important job is to select a president, and then do all that is possible to help him or her succeed.

The trustees assure the public trust; the president assures the professional expertise. It is a unique and powerful partnership in higher education. And for America to succeed, this partnership must continue to succeed.

This partnership flourishes at Cumberland County College.