21st-Century Commission to Help Map Future for Expanding Mission
WASHINGTON, April 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Three nationally-known experts on community colleges and their students have been named by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to head a landmark effort that could ultimately help to redefine the mission of the institutions.
Augustine Gallego, Dr. Kay McClenney and Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton were named this month to head the 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges, a 12-month initiative that will examine tough issues facing higher education's largest and fastest growing sector. As co-chairs, the three veteran educators will guide the work of a 30-member group comprising thought leaders from all levels of education, policy making, philanthropy, and business. The initiative is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kresge Foundation, with support from the ACT and ETS.
The work of the commission will build on a multi-state "listening tour" that is the signature undertaking of new AACC President Walter G. Bumphus, who assumed the helm of AACC in January. During his first 120 days in office, Bumphus and senior staff have engaged community college trustees, presidents/chancellors, faculty and staff around the country to talk about funding, student achievement gaps, burgeoning student need for remediation, metrics of accountability, the broad and complex mission of community colleges, and other thorny issues. Stops completed thus far include Texas, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, New York and the Virginia/Maryland/ D.C. region, with additional listening tour stops planned over the next three months in Nebraska, Iowa, California, Oregon, Mississippi and New York.
Findings from the listening tour dialogue will be captured in a report that will form the foundation for the work of the 21st-Century Commission. In both real-time and virtual discussions, commission members will delve into barriers and opportunities confronting community colleges as they strive to meet President Obama's challenge to produce 5 million more student completers over the next decade. A final report on the commission's work, with specific recommendations, is intended to help community college leaders strategically navigate the next decade and will be presented during AACC's 2012 annual convention, April 21-24 in Orlando, Florida.
"As the most accessible entry point into postsecondary education and the primary workforce training provider, community colleges are vital to local communities and the nation," said President Bumphus. "If our institutions are going to be asked to serve more students in more complex ways, we must be purposeful and progressive in how we do that. The task of the 21st-Century Commission will be to provide a roadmap to the future, and the co-chairs we have selected are extraordinarily well suited to lead that effort."
Biographies of the AACC 21st-Century Commission Co-chairs
Augustine Gallego is chancellor emeritus for the San Diego Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation enrolling more than 100,000 students each semester. He has been recognized by Change magazine as one of the 21 most influential higher education senior leaders in the United States. He has served as board chair of both the American Association of Community Colleges (1997-1998) and the American Council on Education (2002-2003), and currently serves on the board of the Institute for Higher Education Policy and as a member of the Business-Higher Education Forum. In 1991, he was appointed to serve with 12 governors and representatives of business and higher education on the National Governor's Association taskforce on competitiveness. He is a "coach" for the Achieving the Dream initiative and works with the Salzburg Seminar's International Studies Program.
Dr. Kay McClenney is director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement, which conducts an annual survey that has been administered to more than 2 million students in 49 states. She is currently an adjunct faculty member of the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin and is senior consultant for UT's work on the Achieving the Dream initiative. She served for 10 years as vice president and chief operating officer for the Education Commission of the States, where she was a leading voice in national policy development. She currently co-directs the California Leadership Alliance for Student Success. Among many state and national leadership roles, she currently serves on the National Advisory Board for the National Survey of Student Engagement at Indiana University and the College and Careers Transition Initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Education. She is senior associate with The Pew Forum on Undergraduate Learning.
Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton has served since 1992 as president of Cuyahoga Community College, the oldest community college in Ohio and nationally recognized leader in innovation and work force training. From 1985 to 1992, she was president of Lakewood Community College (MN). In 2004, she was recognized as one of the 50 most influential people in Northeast Ohio and has been included on the list of Inside Business magazine's Power 100 – Northeast Ohio's Most Influential People. She has served on many education and business boards and national advisory committees, including the American Association of Community Colleges' Voluntary Framework of Accountability, the Community College Leadership Advisory Board, American Greetings Corporation, and Applied Industrial Technologies, Inc.
The American Association of Community Colleges is a national association representing the nation's 1,200 community, junior and technical colleges enrolling more than 12 million students each year. Community colleges are the largest and fastest growing sector of higher education, serving close to half of U.S. undergraduates.
SOURCE American Association of Community Colleges