1st Edition

The Community's College The Pursuit of Democracy, Economic Development, and Success

By Robert L. Pura, Tara L. Parker Copyright 2022
    185 Pages
    by Routledge

    185 Pages
    by Routledge

    Co-published with An Agenda for Leaders / A Text for Leadership CoursesWhile community colleges promote American ideals of democracy, opportunity, and social mobility; they provide a vital, accessible, and affordable education for nearly 12 million first-generation, economically-disadvantaged, and minoritized students; are engines of local workforce and economic development; and enroll nearly half of all students who go on to complete a four-year degree; they remain the least resourced and the least funded institutions in the United States.Offering the insights of the former president of Greenfield Community College—located in Massachusetts’s poorest rural county—who was a national leader in community college and higher education organizations as well as closely involved with local businesses and organizations; and commentary and background data provided by Professor of Higher Education and Chair of the Department of Leadership in Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston, this book addresses the challenges that community colleges face as they strive to achieve their complex missions in a changing world.By providing vivid accounts of the diversity of students that community colleges serve, the complexity of their missions—from dual enrollment with high schools, to vocational training, adult education, and transfer to four-year colleges—and the role they play in supporting and responding to the needs of local business, as well in regional economic development, the authors make the case for increased investment, while at the same time making apparent to all stakeholders—from policy makers and trustees to college leaders, faculty and staff—how they can contribute to the vital development of human capacities.Community colleges are open-access, train nearly 80% of all first responders, graduate more than half of new nurses and health-care workers, and have a history of nimbleness and responsiveness to community needs, and can play a vital role in training for tomorrow’s jobs, over 60% of which will, in the next decade, require some college education. The first four chapters set the scene, demonstrating the key foundational linkage between education, community, and democracy, presenting a history of the community college movement, illustrating what’s involved in building strong and reciprocal community relationships, and covering a whole panoply of leadership issues such as governance, institutional culture, facilities planning, resource development, accreditation, and crisis management.The second part of the book presents Bob Pura’s accounts of his visits to five community colleges, each representing different geographic regions, institutional size, urban and rural locations, and how they respond to the varied racial and ethnic populations from they draw their students and establish themselves as anchors in their communities.As well as offering an important message to state and federal policy makers, this book serves as a roadmap for aspiring leaders of community colleges as well as a text for leadership and higher education courses. College leaders may find it useful for internal training and learning community groups.

    Acknowledgements Foreword Lynn Pasquerella Introduction Part One 1. Education, Community and Democracy 2. The Community College Movement 3. The Community’s College 4. Leadership Matters Part Two Introduction. Stories from the Field 5. Connors State College 6. Hostos Community College 7. Grand Rapids Community College 8. Diné College 9. Berkeley City College 10. Conclusions and Recommendations Afterword References Index


    Robert L. Pura retired after forty years of service as a teacher and administrator in the Massachusetts Community College System, the last eighteen as President of Greenfield Community College. Bob is a proud graduate of Miami Dade Community College where he earned his A.A. Degree. He then went on to earn his B.A. at the University of South Florida; M.S. from St. Thomas University, Miami; and Ph.D. in Educational Administration (CCLP) from the University of Texas in Austin.Dr. Pura served on the New England Commission on Higher Education, the Commission for Academic, Student and Community Development for the American Association of Community Colleges, was a member of the Working Group on Assessment of Student Learning for the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, and chaired the Massachusetts Community Colleges’ President’s Council. Bob also served on the Boards of the American Association of Colleges & Universities, Bay State Health Systems of Western Massachusetts, The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, and the International Language Institute. Dr. Pura is currently Senior Fellow for Community College Leadership at The University of Massachusetts Boston’s College of Education and Human Development. Tara L. Parker is Chair of the Leadership in Education Department and Professor of Higher Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her research focuses on race and higher education, including three interrelated areas: 1) the application of critical race theory to higher education; 2) the experiences and contributions of faculty of color; and 3) the influence of public policy on developmental education and its implications for college access and success.Dr. Parker’s scholarship has been published in the Review of Higher Education, Teachers College Record, the Journal of College Student Development and the Community College Journal of Research and Prac

    “The diverse narratives captured in The Community’s College demonstrate the ways in which community colleges continue to serve as powerful catalysts for social and economic mobility, not only for the students whose stories are told here, but for their families and the communities in which they are located. Equally important, the analysis offered by Dr. Pura and Dr. Parker unveils how community colleges—distinctively American institutions—are more essential than ever to fulfilling our nation’s historic mission of educating for democracy.”

    from the Foreword by Lynn Pasquerella, President, AAC&U

    "The text raises questions for those to look beyond the text’s generalizations and ask specific questions to aspiring community college leaders in their Pursuit of Democracy, Economic Development, and Success. As community colleges continue to be vital to the education landscape, this text provides valuable insights into these institutions’ characteristics, contributions, and challenges."

    -Meghan Merritt, Community College Journal of Research and Practice