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ERIC Number: ED522995
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Rebalancing the Mission: The Community College Completion Challenge. AACC Policy Brief 2010-02PBL
Mullin, Christopher M.
American Association of Community Colleges (NJ1)
The credentials primarily awarded by community colleges--certificates and associate degrees--play a unique role in advancing college completion rates. Given the current economic climate and high unemployment rates, there exists a clear demand for, and focus on, quickly returning people to a changing work environment through education and training. In community colleges, this demand manifests itself in heightened interest in short-term, work-related certificates in specific programs. Community college leaders are faced with focusing either on (a) increasing completion rates using the traditional measures (i.e., attainment of associate and bachelor's degrees) used in international comparisons or (b) getting people back to work with certificates and industry credentials that are not counted as a success measure in those comparisons. Focusing solely on the former narrowly defines success while overlooking the needs and achievements of a significant number of people, whereas focusing solely on the latter will not increase the international ranking of the United States. Community colleges are therefore in the difficult position of balancing two completion agendas: the person's need to return to work and the nation's desire to be a world leader in terms of a narrowly defined set of outcomes. This brief highlights some of the issues that community college leaders, working with their community partners, will have to navigate as they focus more squarely on improving completion rates, however they are defined. How each college addresses these issues will vary, but a consistent factor is that fiscal conditions will undoubtedly continue to influence policy and administrative decisions. Community colleges will have difficulty embracing the practices and perspectives needed to increase completion rates without additional fiscal resources, especially at a time when they are facing double-digit enrollment growth. (Contains 45 notes.)
American Association of Community Colleges. One Dupont Circle NW Suite 410, Washington, DC 20015. Tel: 202-728-0200; Fax: 202-833-2467; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation for Education
Authoring Institution: American Association of Community Colleges
Identifiers - Location: United States