This is our Camelot moment, as we are often reminded by AACC President and CEO Walter Bumpus. Over the past few years,
It’s been four years since the AACC-led
21st-Century Commission on the Future
of Community Colleges released its seven
recommendations for improving community colleges to meet the needs of the
21st-century student and economy. Since
that time, more colleges are implementing programs and partnerships that help
students move from K– 12 and adulthood to
our colleges and on to four-year institutions or the workforce.
Building substantial and easily
recognizable pathways helps remove
the obstacles our students face on their
journey to realizing the American Dream.
This is not a speedy process, however, it
is coupled with the “urgency of now.” It
involves building new relationships and
strengthening our current partnerships
in the community; supporting faculty and
sta; innovation and creativity; anticipating students’ needs; and, sometimes,
dismantling systems that are contrary to
the 21st-century learning environment or
workforce needs. This is the essential work
that will carry our colleges into the future.
At Prince George’s Community College,
we have been on this journey for some
time. All credit programs, with the excep-
tion of those few required by external
accrediting agencies, have been reduced
to 60 credits. The college catalog has been
redesigned to incorporate sequencing in
such a way that students understand what
is required each semester. The general
studies program has four distinct and
articulated pathways, and other programs
are well on their way to adopting similar
formats. Students have mandatory check-
ins at the 15, 30, 45 and 60 credit levels,
and this is led by faculty and professional
sta;. All of our work at the college, from
the Ensuring Success Institute to AAC&U’s
Community College Roadmap Project to
Achieving the Dream, has laid the foun-
dation for this ground-breaking work —
work that is happening across the nation
in America’s community colleges.
Pathways will be spotlighted at the
AACC Annual Convention, along with
other critical topics: college readiness, the
College Promise, campus safety and more.
The convention provides an opportunity
for us all to step back and get a larger view
of what’s happening in our world. It’s a
time to network with peers and discuss
lessons and challenges at our campuses.
We’ll hear about promising practices
that we can adopt and adapt for our own
colleges because we share a laser-like focus
on student success.
I urge you to take advantage of these
sessions and the dozens of other sessions
that will take place. Keep your ears, eyes
and—most importantly—your minds
open. This is your convention. Let’s celebrate our Camelot moment and never stop
asking: What’s next?
Charlene Dukes is president of Prince George’s Community
College in Maryland and chair of the AACC Board of Directors.
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Volume 86, Issue 5.
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