education, ( 5) closing the skills gap,
( 6) setting a new policy and advocacy
agenda for reclaiming the American
Dream, ( 7) redefining institutional roles
and functions, ( 8) accountability, and
( 9) faculty engagement and leadership
Kay McClenney is the director of the
Center for Community College Student
Engagement at the University of Texas
at Austin and co-chair of AACC’s 21st-
Century Commission, the group of community college leaders tapped to oversee the reform process. She says the
purpose of the implementation teams is
not to rehash work that’s already been
done—the report did not mince words
in making clear the challenges faced by
community colleges—but to identify
concrete ideas and examples to steer the
conversation on campus from theory to
“If we say that we need to reduce the
number of students who need remediation, for example, by half, what is
Jennifer Lara, professor of education, Teacher Education and Child Care Institute, Anne Arundel Community College, Md.
The report, “Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation’s
Future,” lists seven bold ideas and recommendations for community colleges to
pursue in the quest to “redesign, reinvent, and reset” themselves for the future.
Here’s a refresher:
1. Increase completion rates of community college credentials (certificates and
associate degrees) by 50 percent by 2020.
2. Improve college readiness: By 2020, reduce by half the numbers of students
entering college unprepared for rigorous college-level work; double the rate of
students who complete developmental education programs and progress to
successful completion of related freshman-level courses.
3. Close the American skills gap with a focus on career and technical education.
4. Refocus the community college mission and redefine institutional roles to meet
5. Invest in support structures to serve multiple community colleges through
collaboration among institutions and with partners in philanthropy, government,
and the private sector.
6. Target public and private investments to create new incentives for stakeholders,
including students, to support reforms.
7. Implement policies and practices that promote rigor, transparency, and