This book explores the central role community colleges play in American social justice. The United States has long-standing social and cultural structures that perpetuate inequality along race, ethnicity, and income lines. The primary role of American community colleges is to disrupt these structures on behalf of the students we serve. In this sense, community colleges are called to play a subversive role in contemporary society, but it is a good kind of subversion.
Social Justice and Community College Education makes four very important contributions to this conversation:
- First, the book helps us quantify and understand the size and dimension of the equity gaps in higher education by tracking ten specific student groups from historically underserved communities.
- Second, the book summarizes best practices research and literature with regard to pedagogy, services, programs, and leadership in community colleges, presenting practical strategies for implementation.
- Third, through a national survey of community college personnel, the book covers significant new territory in the discussion of work we need to do collaboratively as community colleges.
- Fourth, this book captures the unique and special mission of American community colleges. Our work is the work of social justice, and we carry this work out in society at a greater volume, with greater intentionality, and through greater expertise than any other sector of higher education. In this arena, community colleges should lead.
Table of Contents
1: A Good Kind of Subversion; 2: Community Colleges and Upward Mobility; 3: How Big Are the Gaps?; 4: Adding Academic Capital to Students’ Lives; 5: Funding Higher Education Equitably; 6: Establishing Best Practices; 7: Creating Intuitive and Supportive Transitions; 8: Placing Historically Underserved Students in Selective Universities; 9: Developing Leaders Who Can Effect Institutional Change; 10: Implementing the Work of Social Justice in Our Colleges; 11: Social Justice Reform in the Community College Ecosystem; 12: Caution and Courage
Bryan Reece is the Chancellor of Contra Costa Community College District (4CD). Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, 4CD is one of the largest districts in California, serving a regional population of over one million residents, with more than 52,000 students. 4CD’s three colleges, Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College, and Los Medanos College, have long and proud histories serving students from historically underserved communities.
Dr. Reece and I worked together throughout 2020 on the National Policy Agenda for Community Colleges Survey and subsequent report. His work, Social Justice and Community College Education, helps us quantify and understand the size and dimension of the equity gaps in higher education, especially those found at community colleges; summarizes best practices research and literature with regard to pedagogy, services, programs, and leadership; presents a research-based national agenda; and captures the unique and special leadership role American community colleges can play to advance social justice. Social Justice and Community College Education is thoughtful, provoking, fearless, personal . . . and a must read for everyone interested in the relationship between a community college education and social justice.
Edward J Leach, Ph.D.
National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD)
College of Education, University of Texas at Austin
I observed Bryan Reece's skill as an institutional leader working with him and his college team as they redesigned their college on the guided pathways model. With this book, Dr. Reece shows that he is also an intellectual and moral leader for the field. In it, he argues that if community colleges are to make good on their mission to advance economic mobility and social justice, they need to help students develop not only academic skills but also what he calls "academic capital." The book provides a blueprint for making, leading and (for policymakers) funding the bold changes in practice needed to enrich students' experience in ways that build academic capital and thus to realize the potential of community colleges to further economic opportunity and social justice.
Davis Jenkins, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scholar
Community College Research Center
Teachers College, Columbia University
I have worked with Dr. Reece on inclusion-related issues at the college level and know his commitment to addressing racial inequity found across higher education. This book explores the central role community colleges play in American social justice. The U.S. has long-standing social and cultural structures that perpetuate inequality along race, ethnicity and income lines. The primary role of American community colleges is to dismantle these structures on behalf of the students we serve. Dr. Reece captures the essence of this this idea in this personal, literature-informed, and thoughtful work.
Estela Mara Bensimon, Ed.D.
University Professor Emerita
Founder, Center for Urban Education https://cue.usc.edu
Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California