ERIC Number: ED375869
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994
The Community College Experience in the United States.
Mellander, Gustavo A.
An overview is first provided of the community college in the United States. Introductory comments provide a brief description of the "discovery," exploration, and settling of the Americas. Next, a discussion is provided of the purpose of higher education in the United States, noting the fragmenting effects of local control and the lack of an unambiguous and fully accepted statement of the purposes of U.S. higher education. After examining the influences of European educational models on higher education, and particularly community colleges, in the U.S., the paper explores the beginnings of the nation's community colleges. Factors making the Western United States a compatible climate for community colleges are discussed, along with problems facing the early communities colleges. The Truman Commission on Higher Education and the G.I. Bill are discussed as major factors in the expansion of access to higher education and the growth of community colleges nationwide. The unique purposes of community colleges are discussed next, with respect to: (1) their orientation toward serving their community and its needs; (2) their role as a link between high schools and universities; and (3) their responsibility for students' individual development. Factors coalescing in opposition to the community college movement are discussed next, including competition for students, funding, educational elitism, and university reluctance to accept transfer students. A brief review of the characteristics of today's community colleges is followed by guidelines on starting a community college, covering the appointment of a citizens' committee, needs assessment studies, information dissemination to the public, winning support for establishing a college in elections, and governance. An appendix looks at the School-to-Work Opportunities Act and its potential impact on community colleges and their approaches to learning and work. (KP)
Publication Type: Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A