Trends and Current Issues

Get information on the latest trends and issues affecting community colleges today. Explore the impact of community colleges on the global economy, get information on how community colleges have changed over the years, and see how the latest technologies are being employed on campus.
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The latest report from the American Association of Community Colleges “tells it like it is,” calling the American Dream imperiled and asking two-year colleges across the country to raise the bar on higher education standards. While the new report does offer some positive feedback on the current condition of community colleges in terms of growth and success, it also provides feedback on where schools are lacking and what can be done to bring these institutions to the place where they can serve students and the business community most effectively.  There are seven problems and seven solutions, providing a blueprint colleges can use to improve the quality of education and professional training across the board.

Shifting the Focus
 
The Chronicle of Higher Education explains that this report, titled, “Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation’s Future,” is the culmination of several months of research by a 38-member community. Those involved in the report include college presidents, education-policy experts and leaders of non-profit groups.
 
“This is a brutally honest report,” Walter Bumphus, president of the American Association of Community Colleges, told the Chronicle. “For years we have been focused on access, and now we need to turn our attention equally to student access. It takes courage to say we can do better.”
 
The report offers a new perspective to the condition of community colleges, beyond their commitment to an open-admission policy and providing access to students who are typically underserved. Once the students are enrolled in the school, their success
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As community colleges grapple with large student populations and fewer resources, technology has become one solution for meeting the needs of more students for less money. Schools that adeptly integrate technology into daily campus life can accommodate a wide range of student schedules, without adding more manpower to handle the job. The Center for Digital Education and Converge Online recently recognized some of the community colleges across the country that are making the best use of technology to enhance the education experience. These schools topped the list of the Digital Community Colleges Survey as some of the most technically savvy schools in the nation.

About the Survey
 
The recent survey by the Center for Digital Education and Converge Online took a number of factors into consideration as they were determining the top community colleges for technology usage, including:
 
       ·         Integration of technology into campus life and course curriculum
       ·         Documentation of online admissions processes
       ·         Sufficient technology training for both faculty members and students
       ·         Efficient use of Web 2.0 social functions
       ·         Ability to accommodate distance education
       ·         Ample online services for students, including tutoring and advising services
       ·         Ability to utilize campus security alerts through technology
 
With a number of factors considered, it becomes apparent that those community colleges that made the grade in this current survey find ways to integrate digital technology into every facet of daily campus life.
 
“As community college enrollments continue to increase, school leaders are incorporating new technologies to enhance student services and improve course curriculum,” Cathilea Robinett, executive vice president
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Mobile apps are providing information on the go for a host of subjects today. Now, community colleges are getting in on the technology action, with their very own apps designed just for their students and faculty. Whether you are looking for information about extracurricular activities available on campus or where to go for financial aid assistance, these apps are ready to get you the information you need in a flash – no matter where you might be. Check out how some community colleges across the country are using the latest technology craze to make campus life easier for their student body.

Two Mobile Apps Available to Montgomery County Community College Students
 
Montgomery County Community College students now have their campus in the palms of their hands – quite literally – with two new mobile apps available. According to a report at the Upper Moreland-Willow Grove Patch, the school now features MOX, an application by Datatel’s Mobile Access that offers a wealth of information about the college. The app includes general information about both the Blue Bell and Pottstown campuses, including current campus events, contact information for school administrators, class schedules and locations, and even overdue library books. The app is linked into the campus portal, allowing users to sign in with their usual MC3 user name and password. Information from the portal that is also included on the app gives students access to important information from anywhere on campus. Currently, Montgomery County is the only college
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Many teenagers look forward to finishing high school and beginning college as the time when they can finally escape their parents. But for an increasing number of American families, the start of a teenager’s college career is coinciding with a parent’s return to the classroom. For these families, attending college becomes a multi-generational affair.  

While some teenagers might cringe at the idea of being in a class alongside a parent, others are finding that sharing the experience of community college with Mom or Dad provides unexpected benefits alongside its inevitable challenges.
 
Why Parents and Children are Increasingly Attending Community College Together
 
A recent Chicago Tribune article notes that the increase in parents and students who are sharing the same community college campus is a result of two social forces:
 
  1. The recession is driving many working adults to return to school to pursue a new degree.  According to the Tribune, Illinois’s Harper Community College has seen the population of adult students jump by 17.5 percent this semester from spring 2009.
  2. Tighter family budgets are causing more high school graduates to start taking courses at more affordable community colleges rather than going immediately to a more expensive four-year college or university.
 
The Benefits of Parents Becoming Students Themselves
 
Parents who attend community college along with their adolescent children often find unexpected benefits.

  • Practical Benefits - Parents and children may be able to carpool on their way to school, and 19- and 20-year-old community college students often find that being able to meet Mom
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Although women were at one time excluded from many institutions of secondary education, in recent years, they have established themselves as a majority presence on two-year and four-year college campuses. According to a December 2009 Washington Post report, women make up 60% of higher education students nationwide, primarily because men are more likely to drop out of school, join the military, or go to prison.
 
However, the tide may be beginning to shift at community colleges, where male enrollment has been on the increase. Inside Higher Ed reports that for the first time in years, community colleges have experienced enrollment of male students either equal to or above their enrollment of female students. 
 
A Spike in Male Students
 
Randolph Community College, in North Carolina, experienced an increase of 68% in first-time full-time male enrollment from Fall 2008 to Fall 2009, bringing the current male population at the community college up to 37%. Meanwhile, in Washington State, Lower Columbia College noted that full-time male student enrollment was 36% higher in Fall 2009 than it had been in Fall 2008.
 
Inside Higher Ed reports that Kent Phillipe, the director of research at the American Association of Community College,  notes that the group’s recent studies show that the number of male students at community colleges has grown from 41.7 percent of the total two-year college population in Fall 2007 to 42.9 percent in Fall 2009. Although the number of female students enrolling in two-year colleges has also risen during
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Trends and Current Issues