Leadership and Organization

December 2022
It was a horror story. It was not designed to be a horror story, but it turned out to be one. The package arrived on a dark and stormy night, sent by a friend who knew of my obsession with community college catalogs. It was disguised in brown wrapping paper and seemed as innocent as a kitten. When I opened it, I realized that I held in my hand a horror story to rival those written by Edgar Allan Poe and Mary Shelley. I soon decided that this 2022-2023 catalog was probably the Frankenstein monster of all the catalogs I have seen, not an unexpected result when a volume such as this is designed...
November 2022
Employee engagement is critical for a healthy organizational culture. Currently, 40 percent of employees are considering leaving their jobs, and nearly half are not returning to the same industry (Smet et al., 2022). Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace for 2022 reports that only 21 percent of employees are engaged. In addition, daily stress has reached an all-time high. A recent study concluded that higher education workers are the second most burned out group, following K-12 employees, in the U.S. workforce (Marken & Agrawal, 2022). We seem to be at a tipping point. As leaders,...
October 2022
In spring 2020, Austin Community College District (ACC) began to develop a blueprint for updating its Academic Master Plan (AMP) with recommendations that could be supported financially and poised for the “best possible outcomes in terms of student and community success” (Austin Community College District, n.d.-a, para. 1). The new AMP was the college’s opportunity to be bold in its strategy and approach. During the early months of planning, ACC found itself dealing with the global pandemic and an immediate need to pivot to remote instruction and student support service delivery. Recognizing...
September 2022
By accelerating changes already underway in the workforce and adding new options for how we learn, work, and live, the COVID-19 pandemic has renewed attention on a classic dilemma in education: Is the purpose of education to prepare students to make a good living or to live a good life? There are many unresolved educational issues, but this thorny one has cast a long shadow ever since humans struggled to make sense of the world. Perhaps this quandary began 17,000 years ago around a campfire at the mouth of Lascaux cave near what is today the village of Montignac in the Dordogne Valley of...
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September 2022
In 2008, during a televised event, then White House Chief of Staff Rham Emanuel said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before” (Emanuel, 2008, 0:04). Many articles have been written about the crises the U.S. postsecondary education ecosystem faces regarding relevance, funding, and innovation, all of which demand swift action (Alexander, 2020; Cristensen & Eyring, 2011; Crow & Dabars, 2015; Grawe, 2018; McGee, 2015, Phelan, 2014). However, for many colleges, change has not come...
May 2022
Community colleges play an essential role in preparing the U.S. workforce. Historically, they have responded to the needs of local economies, working closely with industry, government, and other education sectors (Boggs, 2010). Despite the successful track record of community colleges, the nation is faced with a significant challenge: By 2022, skilled technical job openings in the U.S. are projected to exceed the skilled technical labor force by 1.3 percentage points, or about 3.4 million (National Science Board, 2019). The Challenge The National Science Board (2019) estimates that there are...
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March 2022
Colleges and universities across the U.S. and beyond are striving to recruit and retain a diverse faculty that is representative of their student populations. Institutions have revamped their practices to ensure that faculty diversity is at the forefront of hiring considerations; everything from recruitment practices to committee trainings has been transformed with great care. A recent step taken by Austin Community College (ACC) to enhance its diversity efforts was to pilot the inclusion of the student voice when hiring full-time faculty. While it is standard practice to involve graduate...
July 2021
To help higher education meet the demands of a diverse generation of students, an ever-changing workforce, and multiple crises affecting the U.S., Rio Salado College is partnering with the Presidents Forum on a new call to action—the Learners First Framework. The framework names ten guiding principles for reform focusing on equity, access, and workforce alignment strategies to help the country as it grapples with equitable access and outcomes, COVID-19, and related economic hardships. “The events of this past year have brought a heightened sense of urgency to our mission to serve...
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March 2021
For many decades, community colleges have been creating and advocating different emphases in organizational culture that reflect their evolving nature and values. Historically, the most visible effort has been the creation of a Culture of Teaching, to the point that the community college has been known until recently as the Teaching College. A Culture of Teaching In 1988, the Commission on the Future of Community Colleges, established by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), issued the landmark report, Building Communities: A Vision for a New Century. The report emphasized...
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October 2019
According to Inc. magazine (Curtain, 2017), the number one skill that high paying employers want in employees is the ability to solve complex problems. At Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, North Carolina, we are striving to help students develop problem-solving skills with the support of staff and faculty across the college through Student Applied Benchmarking (SAB). Students in this program design solutions to problems with the help of college employees. The culmination of this collaborative effort is the SAB Showcase, an event that provides students with the opportunity to...
December 2018
Community colleges enroll over half of the undergraduate students in U.S. higher education and increasingly serve as the gateway to a postsecondary credential, particularly for first-generation and underrepresented students. As noted by researchers (Astin, 1984; McClenney & Marti, 2006; Tinto, 1993), student engagement within and outside of the classroom setting remains central to an institution’s ability to advance student success. At the same time, the growing demographic diversity of community college student bodies means there is no one-size-fits-all institutional approach to...
October 2017
The League for Innovation prides itself on recognizing innovation and excellence in the community college. Colleges and institutions across the U.S. and abroad demonstrate their dedication to students and communities, and the following awards attest to the League’s support for the daily efforts of faculty, staff, administrators, and students. League Awards 2018 Riegelman Awards for Excellence in Public Health & Health Navigation Education in Community Colleges: Open through October 31, 2017 2017 John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards: Open through December 15, 2017 2017 Terry O’...
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May 2017
In 2012, the League established the John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards to celebrate outstanding contributions and leadership by community college faculty and staff. These awards are open to League Board and Alliance member institutions, and each year’s recipients are recognized in a series of activities and promotions, and honored at special events at the League's Innovations Conference each spring. The 2016 Excellence Award recipients were recognized at the Innovations Conference in San Francisco, CA, March 12-15, 2017. Special events included an exclusive Excellence Awards...
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September 2016
Snead State Community College launched the College Completion Agenda in 2010 to encourage student success with the ultimate goal of earning an associate degree. The initiative became the one thing at the college that drives everything faculty and staff do to encourage student success. Snead State was the first two-year college in Alabama to sign on to the College Completion Agenda, which developed out of a Call to Action signed by six key educational organizations: Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society, American Association of Community College, Association of Community College Trustees,...
January 2016
Snead State Community College began its Presidential Scholars program in 2009 as a leadership development opportunity for incoming students who demonstrated academic excellence. Including the 2015-2016 group, 62 students have received the distinction of Presidential Scholars, and the graduation rate among those completing courses at SSCC is 97 percent. Presidential Scholars represent Snead State at a variety of events, including donor recognition and alumni functions. The students participate in two signature activities each year—completion of the BOLD team building ropes course at Berry...
August 2015
As community colleges prepare for classes to begin in coming weeks, the League congratulates the 2014-2015 Innovation of the Year award recipients, and invites participation in the 2015-2016 Innovation of the Year awards program. Launched more than three decades ago to recognize significant innovations at member colleges, the awards are designed to recognize faculty, staff, and administrators at member colleges who have created and implemented innovative programs, practices, partnerships, policies, and activities that improve the institution's ability to serve students and the community....
April 2015
Television, radio, newspapers, and social media; community college marketers use many channels to communicate these days. But perhaps they should be considering a more grassroots approach: the humble church newsletter. Volunteer State Community College (Vol State) administrators learned this lesson thanks to a group of dedicated learners. The older residents and their unique communication approach helped to make the Keep Educating Yourself (KEY) Lifelong Learning continuing education program at Vol State a resounding success in its inaugural session. It began when Shirley Arrendale of Sumner...
December 2014
Wake Technical Community College (Wake Tech) is the largest of the 58 community colleges in the North Carolina Community College System, enrolling more than 70,000 students a year. It is a two-year, public institution with an open door admissions policy, serving the 1,000,000+ residents of Wake County with five campuses, two training centers, and multiple community sites, and online. It is also one of the fastest-growing community colleges in the United States. Wake Tech's mission is to improve and enrich lives by meeting the lifelong education, training, and workforce development needs of...

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