ERIC Number: EJ713315
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-May
Reference Count: N/A
Creating the Resilient Community College
Mellow, Gail O.; Talmadge, Rosemary A.
Change, v37 n3 p58 May 2005
A community college is always a reflection of its community, and LaGuardia Community College is no exception. Located in Queens--one of the five boroughs of New York City and, according to the 2000 census, the most ethnically diverse county in the United States--LaGuardia serves students from over 159 different countries who speak more than 110 different languages. Sixty-six percent of the students were born outside of the United States, and over half of the freshman class has been in the country five years or less. Responding to the many needs of this student population has called for extraordinary efforts from LaGuardia's faculty and staff. The change from a largely American-born student body to one that is largely immigrant developed gradually over LaGuardia's 30-year history. The evolutionary pace of change in the student population allowed individual faculty members to devise new and powerful ways to reach students in individual classes and courses. But until recently, the changes needed at an institutional level had not emerged. In this article we describe how the college has begun to address the institutional needs stimulated by the new student population. In doing so, we draw lessons for any college that needs to make significant and lasting changes in the ways in which it operates. We suggest in this article that creating deep change begins with data-collection efforts that allow for the realistic assessment of challenges. Then it is necessary to create highly participatory structures--which include outside stakeholders but in which faculty, staff, and student voices are central--in order to tackle difficult issues. Finally, publicly communicating about issues and decisions and creating other structures to sustain the change process are key to developing the kind of effective, continually self-renewing, and vital strategic plan that is an essential feature of a resilient college.
Descriptors: College Faculty, Community Colleges, Strategic Planning, Educational Change, Student Diversity, Data Collection, Immigrants, College Students, Foreign Students
Heldref Publications, Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation, 1319 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036-1802. Web site: http://www.heldref.org.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York; New York (New York); United States