In January the new president of the Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Walter Bumphus, began a national listening tour as part of an 18-month initiative to assess the top issues facing community colleges and to help community college leaders address these issues. The tour has already visited Texas, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, New York and the Virginia/Maryland/ D.C. region; it plans to make stops over the next three months in Nebraska, Iowa, and California.
The listening tour is part of AACC’s 21st Century Initiative, which recently named three community college leaders and experts to head the 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges:
- Augustine Gallego, Chancellor Emeritus, San Diego Community College District
- Dr. Kay McClenney, Director, Center for Community College Student Engagement
- Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton, President, Cuyahoga Community College
Over the course of the next 12 months, the Commission will analyze what is gathered at the listening sessions, and will also guide the work of a 30-member group consisting of leaders from education, policy making, philanthropy, and business. The goal of commission is to examine the issues and offer recommendations about the future of community colleges. A final report will be released at the 2012 AAC annual convention.
The initiative is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kresge Foundation, with support from the ACT and ETS.