Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard helps cut the ribbon at the East County Community Engagement Center.
CCRC is hosting an open reception
at the 96th AACC Annual Convention to
celebrate our 20th anniversary.
When: Sunday, April 10, 7:00–9:00 p.m.
Where: Regency C, Hyatt Regency Chicago
(West Tower, Gold Level)
CCRC researchers are also presenting at five sessions
at the conference. For more details, visit our website
Many students who need our ser-
vices are older, or immigrants, or come
from underrepresented communities.
To reach them, the college has partnered with local government to create
two community engagement centers.
The walk-in centers, located in low-er-income regions where educational
levels are also lower, offer resources,
classes, and information for residents
to continue their schooling or secure
new job skills. In the last 18 months,
9,000 residents visited one of the centers
and staff provided 90 outreach events.
Partnering outside our institution
has allowed us to train our students for
in-demand jobs. MC trains apartment
maintenance technicians with funding
from a local foundation and we teach
a geriatric nursing assistant program
with U.S. Labor Department funding.
Two instructors co-teach each class, one
for content and one for English language and basic skills. Completion rates
in these areas have been greater than
90 percent and employment rates are
nearly as high.
There is no magic bullet that
inspires collaboration on all campuses.
Conditions that create a shared, external
focus motivate people to work toward
common goals and relinquish turf
battles, institutional rigidity, and other
distractions that take away creative
energy needed to serve students. The
“scaffolding” model of student support
is a useful one because it helps control
for some of the risks that are introduced
when community colleges are forced to
address complex student needs quickly,
often piecemeal—sometimes experimen-
tally—and always on limited budgets.
The lessons from MC’s experiences
have committed us more deeply to
several strategic approaches to improv-
ing student achievement: communicat-
ing among divisions, staying focused on
shared goals and being willing to yield
ownership of programs. These meth-
ods have successfully held together the
multiple, evolving parts of our college as
it tackles some of our most ambitious,
21st-century goals for student success.
DeRionne Pollard is president of Montgomery College