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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Learn about the changing tide in male enrollment at community colleges, as well as the catalysts behind the increase in men on campus.
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
Learn how community colleges have evolved to prepare students for the global economy.
Community colleges play an integral role in our country. In fact, according to the Community College Journal, almost one-half of the nation’s undergraduates start their post-high school educational careers at a community college.
As community colleges continue to evolve, they address the importance of a global perspective for students and faculty. Globalization present in today’s economic environment means students must be prepared to face international competition. Not only have many U.S. jobs moved overseas, but also jobs available in this country require a higher level of skills than was necessary a decade ago.
Educating the workforce and preparing students for this new global environment is now one of the primary goals of many community colleges. As you will see, they are embracing this challenge with innovative ideas and remarkable passion.
The Importance of a Global Perspective
If community colleges want to prepare students to work and to succeed in the global marketplace, the first step is to build a global perspective at the school itself. That is exactly what a number of community colleges are doing. For example, Southeast Community College in Nebraska surveyed its faculty in 2004 to ascertain how syllabi reflected a global perspective. For example, did English courses incorporate literature from around the world?
Southeast Community College also expanded its mission to include diversity education, and it now requires every staff person to complete a certain number of hours of “diversity credit” in the form of professional development activities each year. While there was some initial concern that focusing on the global
Learn about recent government recommendations for community colleges and their role in our nation's competitiveness.
Do community colleges hold the key for curing an ailing U.S. economy? That is one conclusion in the Report of the National Commission on Community Colleges entitled "Winning the Skills Race and Strengthening America's Middle Class: An Action Agenda for Community Colleges" (the Report). The Commission took a comprehensive look at the fundamental role of community colleges in maximizing our nation's ability to compete in a global economy. The Commission's findings and recommendations are discussed in this article.
In 2005, the College Board established the Center for Innovative Thought (the Center) to identify challenges to America's education system and recommend solutions. Convinced that community colleges are the nation's overlooked asset, the Center formed the National Commission on Community Colleges to investigate means for improving and expanding the role of community colleges in the future. The Commission is composed of chair Augustine P. Gallego, Chancellor Emeritus of San Diego Community College District, and ten community college presidents or immediate past presidents. The Commission released its Report in January 2008. The Report looks at the present state of community colleges, identifies numerous challenges facing the U.S., and recommends taking action that will place community colleges in the forefront of meeting these challenges. The College Board applauded the Report and pledged to contribute the Board's expertise in implementing the Report's recommendations.
Present Status of Community Colleges
The 1,202 community colleges in the U.S. enroll approximately 11.6 million credit and non-credit students. The average age of the community college student is 29. About 34 percent
Learn about seven trends occurring in community colleges today.
As society evolves, our institutions must accommodate change or risk becoming obsolete. Community colleges, as providers of higher education in a particular geographic area, must be responsive not only to local community needs but also to national developments and demographic changes. This report examines seven prominent trends in community colleges today.
1. Increased Distance Learning
1. Increased Distance Learning
Using the internet as the primary tool, community colleges have embraced distance learning. Responding to the demand for more distance education, some community colleges offer particular courses online and some offer online degree programs that are completely online. The ability to take college courses online makes access to higher education possible for more students. The hallmark of online education is the flexibility it affords to students needing to coordinate their studies with business or personal obligations. For example, a student with a full-time job can access an online course before or after work or on days off. Stay-at-home parents can participate in online classes before the children get up, while they are at school, and after they go to bed at night. Students who live in geographically remote areas can attend college without having to relocate or travel great distances. The popularity of distance learning guarantees that the trend toward more online course offerings will continue.
This video looks at
2. Greater Number of Baccalaureate Degrees Awarded
Historically, four-year colleges
The Online Education Initiative will greatly expand course offerings for community college students, while making the transfer process between institutions much more smooth. The Initiative has its critics, however, who decry the loss of local control over education.
A recent study reveals that job applicants with a credential or associate’s degree from a community college have slightly better chances of getting a job interview than students who attend a for-profit college or university. Since community colleges are much more budget friendly than for-profit institutions and have much better job placement results, community colleges are a much better option for employment-minded students.
After City College of San Francisco loses its accreditation, other community colleges in the state are facing warnings, sanctions and possible loss of accreditation as well.