League Connections
World Wide Web Edition January 2002 Volume 3, Number 1

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Welcome to the January, 2002 edition of LeagueConnectionsWelcome to the January, 2002 edition of LeagueConnections, one of the best ways to stay connected with ongoing League for Innovation in the Community College projects, activities, and events-and to make the most of your institutional and individual relationship with the League! This digital update is issued three times a year as part of our ongoing efforts to make it easier for you to connect with the League. Feel free to forward this message to your all-college listservs. You'll find lots of interesting information, not to mention some innovative new features in the segments that follow. To join the list of innovative educators receiving LeagueConnections directly via email, subscribe today.

In This Issue...

Beyond Our Borders: A Pair of International Reflections on September 11
Innovations 2002 - Spring in Boston
Clearly Quotable: President Bush, Willard Dagget, Brenda Babitz
League Digital Publications Library Now Online!
The Inside Track: On Doing More With Less
LeagueTLC for the New Year
League Advancement
ELI Moves to Tempe for 2002
Innovations of the Year
MetLife Foundation Initiative for Student Success
Quick Stats: A Look at Enrollment Expectations
Alliance+ and National Internet-in-Education Programs
League Learning Initiative Projects
Conference on Information Technology: This Year and Next
PartnerNet Update
Microsoft IT Academy Regional Centers Host Open Houses
League Articulation Agreements
Between the Lines: What Faculty Are Reading
NSSB: National Skills Standards Meeting Local Needs

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Beyond Our Borders:
A Pair of International Reflections on September 11, 2001

Beyond Our Borders

September 11: Reflections From a Canadian Neighbour

Canadian FlagWe are all too aware that the terrible tragedy in New York on September 11 deeply affected America and Americans, and, unfortunately, also left a chilling legacy. But it is also important to remember that you are not alone. This incident horrified the entire world, having repercussions well beyond the borders of the United States, perhaps none more so than in Canada. The people in the Twin Towers came from many countries other than the United States, including a substantial number of Canadians. In Toronto, as the business hub of Canada, and where this writer resides, there was a particularly numbing connection because this city constantly feeds people into the New York economy, and, thus, many Torontonians knew somebody who did not emerge safely from those buildings.

With our casual borders and interlocked economies, we tend, increasingly, to operate on a north-south basis. Thus, the people of eastern Canada feel a personal kinship with those in New England, Washington and, of course, New York, almost more than they do to the cities of our own west, which relate similarly to California and the American northwest. In short, your tragedy was ours as well. In that context, after September 11, many relief workers from here immediately rushed to help in New York, and thousands of Canadians journeyed to the Big Apple on a recent weekend in a demonstrative show of affection and support. Moreover, Canada was one of the first countries to lend military and other support to the war on terrorism.

There are other singularly important lessons for us to learn from this cataclysmic event, both as neighbours and educators. While we have been somewhat lax, even complacent, about our open borders, democratic society, and individual freedom, it is also true that Canada and the United States are inextricably intertwined in matters relating to customs, immigration, and border security. With the longest unguarded border in the world, not only must North America increasingly act as one geographical entity, but it is quite clear that, henceforth, the total perimeter must be protected forcefully and cooperatively. Some new procedures are already in place, particularly if one has recently travelled from Toronto or Montreal to such places as Atlanta and Tampa, but clearly there will be more put in place in the next few months, which will affect our personal and economic lives indefinitely.

While Canada, in many ways, cooperates willingly with the United States, as witnessed by our defence and free trade agreements, it is important to remember that our friendship does not presume subservience. Canadians accept that it is sometimes hard for Americans to understand that the ant to the north of the American elephant has its own vision and dreams for the future which are often at variance with those of the United States. But we would hope that you would accept that disagreement is really only debate among friends, and that from diversity comes strength and growth. Canada must retain its own sovereignty, values and constitutional politics within the context of cooperating with American foreign policy and security procedures.

There are other important lessons as well. Canadians appreciate that a defense shield has been available to us since the end of the Second World War, but are happy that this event has forced American foreign policy to shift from its drift towards isolating itself from the affairs of other countries. September 11 reminds us that we live in a complex world and that North America, with its increasing diversity, must play an interdependent role with other nations, while simultaneously continuing to be vigilant domestically within a strong code of human rights and respect for a variety of religions, cultures, and nationalities. This will, undoubtedly, mean continuing to intervene overseas where appropriate, and playing a role through the United Nations and other world bodies to ensure that all can live lives of prosperity, peace, and goodwill.

Finally, there are significant implications for educators in the colleges in the League for Innovation and beyond in terms of how we relate to each other, to educators and students in other countries, and to curriculum, particularly the study of languages, cultures and religions. We must learn from events such as September 11, and create, promote, and sustain a better world for all. That world, including Canada, looks for American leadership on all fronts because your influence is so pervasive. Colleges, in turn, must rise to the challenge and consider making these serious world issues a part of our normal agenda of surviving campus and state politics, creating learning environments, using electronic delivery and balancing budgets. The stakes are so high and the consequences affecting us so personal that we can afford to do no less.

Robert A. Gordon
Humber College of Applied Arts & Technology
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
December 7, 2001

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Thoughts From The Netherlands

NetherlandsTuesday afternoon, September 11, together with my secretary I was making some final preparations for the Board meeting of that evening. Suddenly our receptionist walked in: 'There has been a plane crash in the US, it is on CNN!' We switched on the television and while watching, not understanding what was happening, we saw, like in a movie, another plane crashing into the second tower. Within a few minutes my office was filled with colleagues who in deep silence and stunned, watched, just watched.

My first thoughts were about our friends of Maricopa Community Colleges who just spent a wonderful week at our college and were taken to Schiphol September 7 to go home. After some time I went to my computer, with only one thought in my mind: 'Unbelievable that people can do such things to one another' and I sent 25 e-mails of deepest sympathy and support to community college friends all over the U.S. After a few minutes, the first reactions came in. Good that, despite an ocean in between, we can encourage and console one another so quickly and so straightforwardly.

Coen Free
Consortium for Innovation
Koning Willem I College
The Netherlands

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Innovations 2002

Innovations 2002: March 17-20, Boston

Register now for Innovations 2002, scheduled for March 17-20 (including St. Patrick's Day) in Boston, Massachusetts. The host institution, Bunker Hill Community College, is dedicated to making this conference the best yet!

Confirmed keynote speakers include Tina Sung, President, American Society for Training and Development; Amado Murillo Pena, Jr., Internationally Renowned Southwestern Artist and Educator; Hilary Pennington, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jobs for the Future; and Mark Milliron, President and CEO, League for Innovation in the Community College. Senator Edward Kennedy is an invited speaker.

This year's conference continues the tradition of providing an array of learning opportunities for participants:

  • Six-hour Learning Center Course for community college presidents, "Presidential Seminar: Leading Institutional Advancement"
  • Engaging keynote speakers discussing critical issues facing community college educators
  • Forums and Special Sessions supported by state-of-the-art presentation technology
  • Roundtable Discussions offering a personal setting for exchanging ideas
  • Poster Session Presentations primarily delivered in the form of visual displays
  • Learning Center Courses: Three-hour and six-hour intensive workshops granting Continuing Education Units (CEUs) Focus on Learning: Perspectives and Practices from the League's Learning Projects (a Poster Session)
  • Convenient 24-hour E-Mail and Internet Lab
  • A new Cross Paper offering tips for creating a learning-centered classroom
  • The 3rd annual Community College Orientation Course
  • The opportunity to exchange ideas with hundreds of colleagues during receptions, coffee and refreshment breaks, and after-hours gatherings

Travel Update: For educators residing in Massachusetts and surrounding states, the League has secured Amtrak rail fare discounts off the lowest available fare to Boston from March 14 through March 23, 2002. Other travel information is available on the Innovations 2002 website.

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Clearly Quotable

"I'm a big believer in making sure our community colleges remain affordable, available, and flexible, and the reason I believe that is that I understand that the best way to make sure people have got the ability to work is for there to be … a retraining opportunity.

"In other words, communities must figure out how to match up a community college system with jobs that actually exist. It seems like to me, in order for America to be hopeful for everybody, we need to have flexibility at some point in the higher education system. And the best place for that flexibility to occur is at the community college level.

"Technologies raced through the country, our economies, but people get left behind. And therefore, there needs to be a system to retrain people for the jobs that actually exist, and the best place to do that, in my judgment, is the community college."

President George W. Bush, in response to a question asked by a Chaffey Community College (CA) professor at the January 5, 2002 Town Hall Forum on the Economy, Ontario, CA.

"I often say that community colleges are becoming America's new form of graduate school because, as I go across this country and meet with community-college people, they keep telling me they have more students with baccalaureate degrees. Now those students are returning to the community college to get a more technical type of education. Not that the four-year education was not helpful, but it didn't give them the skills they needed to obtain a job that would pay enough to have a certain quality of life they want.

"In the past ... people went to graduate school to get that capstone experience that led to employment. Now they're going to community colleges to get it."

Willard Daggett, President, International Center for Leadership in Education, in The Chronicle of Higher Education Daily News ("Community Colleges Provide Key Training for New Technologies, Consultant Says" by Michael Arnone) November 27, 2001.

"The quest for private support at the community college level is a relatively new phenomenon, born of the ever-widening gap between what public funds support and what quality education and training now demand. Therefore, one prerequisite task is simply to get our case for support on the giving agenda of corporations, foundations, and individuals who view funding for community-based education and training as the province of state and local governments alone.

"The stakes are high and our message must be clear: To assure the levels of access and instructional quality needed to maintain America's skilled work force and, by extension, our nation's competitive edge, we must increase private sector investment in public higher education."

Brenda Babitz, President, Monroe Community College Foundation, Building on Your Foundation, Leadership Abstracts, Vol. 14, No. 4.

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League Digital Publications Library Now Online!

The League and corporate partner, OpenMind Publishing Group, Inc. announce the availability of the League's Digital Publications Library, a service that provides subscriber institutions with access to League publications for every member of the campus community. Purchase of a subscription to League Digital Publications includes password-protected online access to an entire library of League titles. After selecting a book or monograph from the library, a user can highlight text, make notes, dog-ear pages, and download content.

The new digital subscriber offering was introduced at the League's Conference on Information Technology, November 14-17 in Minneapolis, and subscription sales began in mid-December. The Digital Publications Library includes 14 current League titles, with four new titles scheduled for publication this spring.

For subscription and other information, visit the Digital Publications Library site or contact Craig Johnson (919-678-1597).

For more information about OpenMind Publishing Group, see the partner profile in the October 2001 edition of LeagueConnections and visit the OpenMind website. To view a list of current League print publications, visit the LeagueStore.

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The Inside Track

One method the League uses to stay in touch with issues and challenges facing community colleges is the quarterly Alliance CEO survey. This League survey of member college presidents is used in planning League programs, projects, and publications. The first CEO survey of 2002 will be conducted next month and will focus on ways community colleges are dealing with budget cuts in the current economic slowdown. In anticipation of the survey, we asked one community college chancellor to give us the inside track on how his college is doing more with less.

On Doing More With Less: One Leader's View

Henry Shannon
St. Louis Community College (MO)

Last July, Missouri's governor imposed a 5 percent holdback in higher education appropriations and vetoed funding for technology. St. Louis Community College scrambled to reduce the 2002 budget by more than $2.8 million. Just last month we learned that another 2 percent would be withheld. Our initial challenge was not to do more with less, but to meet our '02 goals with less. Responses include: a triage on openings and cooperation from several departments to delay filling positions; a cutback on staff development activities; a revision of plans for a celebration of our 40th anniversary; a postponement of some technology initiatives, and an increase in student tuition and fees for next fall - the first such increase in six years. Faculty and staff throughout the college were involved in determining cuts. Right now, we're taking it one semester at a time.

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LeagueTLC 2002

LeagueTLC 2002

LeagueTLC continues with a full agenda of highlights and successful community college program developments for 2002. Dedicated to connecting community colleges through online services, it features regular coverage of topics including new developments in Faculty Orientation, proven innovations in Learning and Accelerated Degree Programs, and successful practices in College to University Articulation. Our newest update, LeagueTLC Forum, allows you to post comments, ask questions, and engage in online discussions with contributors featured in the monthly Innovation Express articles. LeagueTLC also provides a variety of focused community college resources through its Innovation Database, Learning Links, and Resources on the Web sections. For more information about LeagueTLC, visit the website or contact Stella Perez.

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League Advancement

At the Innovations 2002 Conference in Boston, March 17-20, the League and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) will provide a 6-hour Learning Center Course for community college presidents: "Presidential Seminar: Leading Institutional Advancement." This seminar provides community college leaders with an opportunity to share strategies and information on institutional advancement and to learn from some of their most successful peers. Community college presidents, foundation directors, and other senior professionals will lead discussions on the following topics:

  • The Philanthropic Landscape: Private Support of Community Colleges
  • Leadership in Context: Governance Structures and Management Strategies for Successful Institutional Advancement
  • Fundraising Fieldwork: Donor Cultivation and Solicitation
  • The Home Front: Integrating Advancement with Other Leadership Functions

For information on Innovations 2002, visit the conference website.

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ELI Moves to Tempe, AZ, for December 2002

2002 Executive Leadership InstituteThe League's Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) will continue its innovative and successful tradition this year, but will do so from the League's new home in Arizona! We will soon be sending out a national call for nominations for the 2002 ELI class, which will meet from December 8-13, 2002, at the Tempe (AZ) Mission Palms Hotel. Once again, more than 25 chancellors, presidents, and university professors will help lead a power-packed program aimed at preparing potential community college presidents to take on the challenges of the 21st century. Cosponsored by the University of Texas at Austin, Cornell University, and the American Association of Community Colleges, the League's ELI continues to be the premier venue for taking the next step into leadership positions in the community college. For more information or an application, visit the ELI website or contact Dawn Warner.

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Innovations of the Year

Every year the League honors outstanding innovations that have been recognized by member institutions as Innovations of the Year. These innovations represent capstone achievements and the continuing renewal of the spirit of innovation and experimentation upon which the League was founded. Read about the 2001 Innovations of the Year on the League website.

2001 Innovations of the Year

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MetLife Foundation Initiative for Student Success

Project Objectives

Student retention in community and technical colleges is the focus of a major new grant awarded by the MetLife Foundation to the Community College Leadership Program (CCLP) at The University of Texas at Austin (UT). The MetLife Foundation Initiative for Student Success will recognize and reward community colleges that demonstrate exemplary performance in student retention and will work with those colleges to capture and share proven best practices. Project key objectives include:

  • Identify, recognize and reward community and technical colleges that demonstrate exemplary performance in the area of student retention, using student survey data and retention statistics as the criteria.
  • Capture and then widely share proven best practices in student retention in community and technical colleges.
  • Turn up the volume on the student voice in work to improve retention and learning, by highlighting results of student surveys and by bringing data to life through student voices on campus, in conferences, and on the Web.

Project Activities

During 2002 and 2003, up to 10 community and technical colleges across the country will be selected as MetLife "best practice colleges" and will receive up to $10,000 awards in recognition of their exemplary work. Selection of the colleges will be based on results from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE), a new national survey operated by the UT leadership program. The survey focuses on institutional practices and student behaviors that are positively related to student learning and retention. College scores on the survey's retention benchmark, as well as their local retention statistics, will serve as criteria in identifying the best-practice colleges.

A special feature of the MetLife Foundation Initiative is its emphasis on featuring and hearing the voices of students. Because CCSSE is a survey conducted with students, eliciting their perspectives and opinions about their educational experience, the initiative will help to communicate those student messages. Moreover, The University of Texas-based project staff will work with the selected best-practice colleges to conduct student focus groups and to produce video segments and conference sessions that bring life to the student experience. Finally, the initiative will produce and broadly share a series of Best Practice Highlights describing approaches to retention and learning that demonstrably work for students.

Philanthropic Support

The MetLife Foundation, established in 1976 by MetLife Insurance Company, has a long history of supporting initiatives that improve the quality of education and help students succeed. The Foundation commits its resources in education to programs that stimulate change and cultivate effective learning environments. Further information about the Foundation is available at www.metlife.org.

Project Contacts

Kay McClenney
CCSSE Director
The University of Texas at Austin
Community College Leadership Program
(512) 471-7545
Evelyn Waiwaiole
MetLife Foundation Project Manager
The University of Texas at Austin
Community College Leadership Program
(512) 471-6807

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Quick Stats
  • Expectations Regarding College Enrollment
    • 2005: 16.3 million (about 1 million higher than in 2001)
    • 2011: 17.7 million (about 16 percent more than in 2001)
    • 2001-2011: Full-time enrollment is projected to rise by 19 percent
    • 2001-2011: Part-time enrollment is projected to rise by 11 percent


  • Expectations Regarding Degrees Earned, 2001-2002
    • Associate Degrees: 569,000
    • Bachelor's Degrees: 1,227,000
    • Master's Degrees: 432,000
    • Doctor's Degrees: 47,000


Source: U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics, Projections of Education Statistics: 2011. (2001)


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Alliance +

National Internet-in-Education Programs

This fall marked the beginning of the fourth anniversary of the five-year, $9.3 million, U.S. Department of Education-funded Technology Innovation Challenge Grant that prepares K-12 teachers to integrate technology into the curriculum in innovative ways to support higher levels of student achievement. The project has been successfully implemented in Cleveland (OH), Phoenix (AZ), and Miami (FL) where faculty members from Cuyahoga, Maricopa, and Miami-Dade Community Colleges train mentor teachers from their corresponding local school districts. These mentor teachers then use project resources to provide training for colleagues in their home schools.

Alliance+ has come to the attention of the Inter-American Development Bank
(IDB), which provides loans for social, educational, industrial, and business developments in Central and South America as well as a number of Caribbean countries. Bank officials and staff have visited Alliance+ partners Stevens Institution of Technology and Miami-Dade Community College (M-DCC), and have asked that Alliance+ partners develop projects in Central and South America. Faculty and staff from M-DCC will play a key role in this effort, and M-DCC will eventually be a training and visitation site for Latin American educators. A first phase of activity is the development of demonstration schools in Costa Rica, Peru, and Ecuador. In a related activity, Alliance+ partners also recently participated in a Latin American Summit conference on education. The Alliance+ project was among only 10 groups presenting examples of technology in education to a distinguished gathering of business and government leaders from Central and South America.

The Alliance+ project also continues to receive accolades for its online lessons, activities, projects, resources, references, and tools. The Gulf Stream Voyage Project has recently been added to a searchable database of online projects hosted by the National Science Teachers Association. The Alliance+ project's Wonderful World of Weather website was featured by the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse as one of its Digital Dozen for its lessons on weather, teacher and student areas, use of real-time data, opportunities to connect with classes in other parts of the world, detailed lesson plans with objectives, and connections to curriculum standards.

Also recently developed is a rollout guide designed to help interested institutions determine their readiness to implement Alliance+ in their communities. The rollout guide covers issues such as financial resources, technical infrastructure (i.e., computer availability and Internet access), the community college-K12 partnership, and the roles necessary for a successful implementation of Alliance+. The rollout guide also includes job descriptions and a self-assessment to be completed jointly by representatives from the interested community college and the local school district. For additional information regarding the rollout guide and other Alliance+ activities, contact Ed Leach at leach@league.org or (480) 705-8200, extension 233.

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League Learning Initiative Projects

Colleges participating in the two major funded projects associated with the League's Learning Initiative, the Learning College Project and the 21st Century Learning Outcomes Project, continue the journey toward becoming more learning-centered institutions. The colleges will showcase their progress in Focus on Learning: Perspectives and Practices From the League's Learning Projects, a poster session, at the League's Innovations 2002 conference in Boston, March 17-20. Colleges interested in becoming more learning centered may find various online resources useful, particularly the college project websites:

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Conference on Information Technology

Planning for the 2002 CIT, November 17-20, Long Beach, CA, is currently underway. Co-hosted by Long Beach City College and the Los Angeles Community College District, the 2002 CIT promises to be technologically sophisticated and topically diverse. The 2002 conference is expected to attract close to 4,000 participants, each eager to share in an exhibition of how technology continues to change the art and business of education. Details about the 2002 CIT, including the deadline for submitting proposals to present, will be available on the League's website (www.league.org).

Conference on Information TechnologyThe 2001 Conference on Information Technology (CIT), held November 14-17 at the Minneapolis Convention Center and hosted by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, brought together close to 3,000 participants to exchange ideas and experience how information technology is used to improve all aspects of community college education. Corporate Partners such as Apple, Cisco, Compaq, Dell, Gateway, IBM, iStream, Microsoft, Oracle, and Reasons Computers provided key equipment and services critical to the technical sophistication of this event, while also contributing in major ways to conference programming.

In one of the most powerful learning components of the conference, the 10 computer labs in Hands-On Alley, corporate partners such as Adobe, Apple, Academic Systems, Gateway, Microsoft, Macromedia, and Sun Microsystems allowed participants to learn by doing with some of the best technology available for community college instruction and administration. Numerous Special Sessions featuring key national leaders were provided at the 2001 CIT, while Keynote Presentations were delivered by Carlene Ellis, Vice President, Education, Intel Corporation; Willard Daggett, President, International Center for Leadership in Education, and Bill Rodrigues, Vice President and General Manager, Education and Healthcare Sector, Dell Computer Corporation. Paul Wellstone, U.S. Senator, Minnesota, provided a videotaped welcome. (Keynote presentations and select Special Sessions will soon be available on the League's website at www.league.org.)

Two new features were added to the 2001 CIT. The new conference track, The Future of Educational Technology, focused on information on the trends, issues, and opportunities involving the use of information technology in higher education that are likely to have long-term consequences for educators. In addition, for the first time, CIT provided Poster Sessions, exhibits delivered primarily through the use of visual displays, brief presentations, and conversations with attendees.

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PartnerNet Update

Shopping online has its advantages! As a Member of the League, you can take advantage of special offers and promotions from League Corporate Partners through PartnerNet. These exclusive offers include discounts on products and services and free trial offers extended only to League member colleges.

Visit PartnerNet today to learn more about offers from Academic Systems, the Chauncey Group, Community College Week, ETS, iLearning, and Microsoft. Additional Corporate Partners are joining, so visit often to take advantage of updated promotions and offers.

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Microsoft IT Academy Regional Centers Host Open Houses

During the first two weeks of February, open houses will be held across the country introducing the Microsoft IT Academy Program and the new Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) certification. Learn about the newest IT training program from Microsoft and what it can do for your IT programs from an educator's perspective - an event you won't want to miss! For information about an open house near you, visit the Microsoft IT Academy website (www.MicrosoftITAcademy.com).

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League Articulation Agreements

The League for Innovation in the Community College continues to develop a series of articulation agreements facilitating the transfer of community college students from League member colleges into bachelor degree programs at the partnering four-year institutions, and strengthening relationships between two- and four-year colleges. Articulation agreements with the University of Phoenix, United States Open University, and Western Governors University have been established, and discussions are underway to define similar agreements between the League member colleges and Florida State University, University of Maryland University College, Capella University, American College of Computer and Information Sciences, National American University, and Franklin University.

The agreements include benefits for faculty and staff as well as students. They were designed by the partnering four-year institutions specifically for League Member colleges. The agreements pave the way for transferring students to enter baccalaureate programs as upper-division students meeting all lower-division competencies. In other cases, AAS transfer students may complete their bachelor's general education requirements by taking lower-division courses at League member colleges. In addition to facilitating the transfer process for students who complete associate degrees, these comprehensive articulation packages offer a range of benefits for community colleges, such as (1) access to "upside-down" 2+2 baccalaureate degrees; (2) counseling and advising for dual admission students; (3) tuition discounts for students, faculty, and staff; (4) professional development opportunities; (5) access to online library resources, and (6) referrals of students and corporations to participating League Member colleges. The articulation packages are available only to League member colleges, and each partnership is negotiated individually to allow for college variations in curriculum, accreditation requirements, and institutional policies.

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National Skill Standards Can Meet Local Needs nssb

The National Skill Standards Board (NSSB) is charged with building the framework for a voluntary, national system of skill standards, assessments, and certifications. Created by the National Skill Standards Act of 1994, the NSSB's broad goals for the national system are to (a) help businesses compete more effectively in the global economy, (b) help workers secure a firmer economic future and achieve higher standards of living, and (c) help educators create better and more up-to-date tools and curricula to teach future workers what they need to know to succeed in the working world. The initial focus of this project is on developing skill standards for front-line workers in high performance environments. By front-line, we mean positions up to and including what is typically thought of as the first level of supervision.

To develop industry-validated skill standards, the NSSB categorized the United States workforce into 15 industry sectors. Each sector will have a three-part system of skill standards, assessments, and certifications. Representatives from each of the main stakeholder groups (i.e., employer, employee, and public interest groups) within each industry sector come together to form an industry coalition called a Voluntary Partnership, which is charged with the actual development of skill standards, assessments, and certifications for that sector.

For example, the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) - one of the NSSB Voluntary Partnerships - has involved over 700 companies, 3,700 workers, 250 subject matter experts, and 30 facilitating organizations in its skill standards development and validation process. The MSSC skill standards were approved by the NSSB in May 2001. In late 2001, the Sales and Service Voluntary Partnership (S&SVP) also released NSSB-approved skill standards. The S&SVP is the national body serving as the catalyst for skill standards development for the retail, wholesale, real estate, and personal services industries. This Voluntary Partnership is made up of more than 400 members representing over 250 organizations from the public and private sectors. In addition, two Voluntary Partnerships are working on the skill standards for the Education and Training, and Hospitality and Tourism industry sectors. Finally, two additional industry coalitions have come together to garner support for skill standards development in their industries under NSSB supervision.

The NSSB has developed a Common Framework, which calls for the development of three types of skill standards within an industry sector. The Core skill standards give individuals a broad base introduction to the skills needed to work across an industry sector. Concentration skill standards focus on a particular area of work and cover families of related jobs. Specialty skill standards are the skills that are unique to a particular job, occupation, industry, or company.

The Voluntary Partnerships will develop concentration and core standards, while the development of specialty skill standards will be left to the many organizations now doing the work at the local level (e.g., trade associations, education and training institutions, unions, and companies). The NSSB is working with these groups to link existing specialty standards to the emerging national system.

The NSSB has neither the authority nor the intention of developing education and training curricula at the national level, because education and training curricula are driven at local levels in ways that meet local needs. However, by legislative authority, the NSSB does have a responsibility to encourage the development and adoption of education and training curricula that incorporate nationally recognized, industry-validated skill standards, including those established by other groups.

A voluntary national system of skill standards, assessments, and certifications will have many uses to many different stakeholders:

  • Educators can use skill standards to create curriculum that better prepares students for work.
  • Employers and educators can use skill standards to increase opportunities for minorities and women, including removing barriers to the entry of women into nontraditional employment.
  • Employers can use skill standards to improve training and development, reduce the costs of hiring, and make the transition to high-performance.
  • Incumbent workers can use skill standards to find out how to improve their performance, select the right training and education, and advance in their careers.
  • Students, unemployed workers, and others can use skill standards to identify the skills they need to prepare for high-wage jobs.
  • Industries can use skill standards to inform potential employees, educators, and trainers of the skills needed for employment.
  • Government can use skill standards to evaluate the effectiveness of publicly funded training programs.

The NSSB's common framework, format, and language are explained in detail in the 2000 publication entitled Built to Work: A Common Framework for Skill Standards. A copy of this publication can be downloaded from the NSSB website at http://www.nssb.org.

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Between the LinesBetween the Lines

What Faculty Are Reading

Dennis James, Madison Area Technical College (WI)

After a recent trip to Paris I decided to read Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. One of his dialogues states:

The invention of printing was the greatest event in history. It was the parent revolution; it was the fundamental change in mankind's mode of expression, it was human thought doffing one garment to clothe itself in another; it was the complete and definitive sloughing off of the skin of a serpent, which, since the time of Adam, has symbolized intelligence.

I have heard it expressed that the invention of the television was another such revolution. And perhaps the same could be said of the airplane, the automobile, and other results of the Industrial Revolution.

But I have a different idea. The invention and explosive growth of the Internet is quite possibly a new "parent" revolution. It is changing American daily lives-how we think, how we work. It is removing barriers to information and learning. It is connecting people with shared interests and concerns in ways they couldn't connect before. It is closing social gaps. But, like all revolutions, it is creating new concerns and issues. People who shouldn't have certain information can get at it more easily, social misfits find new targets a continent or a world away. New social barriers are created. There are new definitions for "haves" and "have-nots". There are new social barriers and relationship issues. We have a responsibility to ensure that it is a revolution toward opportunity, as all technology innovations should be.

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Constance L. Eggers, Fullerton Community College (CA)

Last spring, after hearing Barbara Ehrenreich interviewed on NPR, I ran out and eagerly purchased her newest book, Nickel and Dimed-On (Not) Getting By in America. Then I waited patiently for summer vacation to arrive so I could read it without interruptions or distractions. It was definitely worth the wait. In this book Ehrenreich chronicles her voluntary (if temporary) abandonment of an upper-middle-class life for one of backbreaking, underpaid, uninsured labor and the requisite discomforts, fears, and insecurities such a life brings. In other words, she learned first-hand what life is like for far too many American workers, and she wrote about her experiences (and those of her co-workers) with compassion, humility. and humor. She lived in cheap motels because she couldn't afford to pay security deposits or get utilities hooked up. She spent far too much on food because she had no way to cook. She observes that, in general, her fellow workers, most of whom work two or more jobs to barely get by, are highly principled, remarkably generous women and men who care for (and cover for) one another in the event of illness or emergency. They often work under gruesome conditions and with no job security at all. They are waiters, retail clerks, maids. They smile and serve, working endless shifts and getting fired for trifles. This may be one of the most important books about work ever written; what it reveals about the power of corporate America and the powerlessness of its low-wage workers should terrify us all.

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Mary Hjelm, Eastern Idaho Technical College (ID)

Emma Bull. War for the Oaks. Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, 1987, 2001.

All right. I admit it. I'm addicted to reading and have to read something fun every day. If I find an especially good book, I will neglect everything until I finish it. Luckily, I have a husband who supports my habit and buys books for me whenever he can. While I tend to be more conservative and stick with authors I already know and like, he is more adventurous and buys authors he imagines I'll enjoy. He hit the jackpot recently with Emma Bull's War for the Oaks, a fantasy novel that provides a lyrical mix of popular culture and fairy lore.

Set in the Minneapolis of today, Eddie McCandry is a struggling musician who wrestles with more than her music. Her boyfriend has just dumped her, and her band has dissolved around her. She's dissatisfied with pandering to audience taste and wants to play her kind of music her way-with musicians who care more about music than fame. That very night, however, she is conscripted by a tall, dark, and handsome phouka to act as a human agent in a war between two factions of Faery folk, fighting in and around Minneapolis. While her participation will mean the death of some of the Faery, it may help to settle the argument permanently and leave the city in the hands of those magical creatures that would not harm it or its human inhabitants. Initially, Eddie refuses to believe in magic and tries to keep her life as normal as possible, beginning first by recruiting musicians for a new band. While Phouka keeps the majority of the bad guys away from her, Eddie begins to create a new sound reflecting her passion for music and discovers she possesses a certain amount of magic herself that not only heals her own broken life but also may turn the Faery war in favor of humankind. Only, the opposing force knows about Eddie and will stop at nothing to take her out of the action before the battle actually begins. Fortunately, her human and Faery friends are there to help protect her, and she has the twenty-four hour protection of Phouka, who looks better and better to her as time passes.

War for the Oaks benefits from that most rare of combinations: characters who walk right off the page into your life and a completely engaging story line. Eddie and her friends are as alive and as impetuous, flawed, generous, and loyal as any of my own. Even the Faery folk are humanlike in their pride and pettiness and struggle to exert good over evil. The result is a compelling narrative about loyalty, love, and consequences. It's about music and magic and practicality. It's about the "deep-down-inside" of us and the splendor of making connections to our dreams. I was so taken with Bull's story that quite early on in my reading I realized I didn't want the story to end. I wanted to know more about Eddie's band, the developing relationship between band members Carla and Dan, Hedge's increasing vocality, as well as more about the Faery folk and their influence over the mundane world, including a human's ability to tap into the magic that surrounds us and is in us.

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