... IN THIS ISSUE
Changefor the Better
Innovation, say many thought leaders, can be the single most important element in moving an organization forward in the face of economic stress. President Obama uses this analogy: “Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded
airplane by removing its engine. It may make you feel like you’re flying high at
first, but it won’t take long before you feel the impact.” Bloomberg Businessweek
puts it more succinctly: “During economic downturns, innovation is the single
most important condition for transforming the crisis into an opportunity.”
Community colleges are no strangers to the challenges—and benefits—
of innovation. Our colleges rely on out-of-the-box thinking to succeed amid a
do-more-with-less mentality. Creativity, flexibility, and an entrepreneurial spirit are
our hallmarks, as we wrangle with higher enrollments and rising public expectations.
As community college leaders come together April 21–24 for the 92nd Annual
Convention of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in
Orlando, Fla., the Journal highlights innovative practices that illustrate the ingenuity,
agility, and chutzpah on display at community college campuses across the nation.
EXECU TIVE EDITOR Norma Kent
MANAGING EDITOR Corey Murray
ART DIREC TOR Brian Rees
PROJEC T MANAGER Jerry Parks
CONTRIBUTING Myrtle E.B. Dorsey
WRITERS Tabitha Whissemore
The Leadership Imperative
Without strong leadership, innovation is unlikely to thrive. Readers of this issue
of the Journal will benefit from decades of experience, as two of the most respected
community college leaders of our time weigh in on how they got where they are and
what they learned about leadership along the way.
Dr. Belle Wheelan, this year’s AACC Leadership Award winner, shares “ 10 Qualities of a Strong Community College Leader” (p. 26). And Dr. John Roueche, noted
author, thought leader, and creator of the most successful community college leadership program in the country, offers a candid reflection on his career, retirement,
and the “Tough Road Ahead” (p. 18).
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Hard at Work
Innovation is hard work, writes Bob Violino, and Aspen Prize winner Valencia
College (VC) has undergone a tough, decade-long struggle to reach its current state
of excellence and celebrity (“Igniting Innovation,” p. 30). VC President Sanford
“Sandy” Shugart says the college achieved its ambitious goals by strategically
focusing its resources on serving students.
VC and others have an intriguing story to tell. But innovation alone is not
enough, asserts Kay McClenney, a long-time advocate of student success by the
numbers (“From Promising to High-Impact,” p. 38). McClenney’s Center for Community College Student Engagement recently launched a multiyear effort to identify
and promote promising practices with data-demonstrated impact. Many of these
practices have already been introduced, but preliminary analyses show that far too
few students report experiencing them at their community colleges.
The Kentucky Community and Technical College System is putting a new face
on an old concept, says marketing veteran Terri Giltner, with a system-wide focus
on improving the student experience through better customer service (“At Your
Service,” p. 46). Also in this issue, writer Wylie Wong explores how mobile learning
devices are reframing the learning experience. (“Tools of the Trade,” p. 54).