Leadership, Change and the Future of Community Colleges
Academic Leadership - Online Journal,
Vol. 7 No. 1 (2006): Vol-7-Issue-1-January-2006
The mantra we continuously heard throughout the fall 2008 political campaigns was the need for
change, a term that has become synonymous with a better future and the avenue to prosperity.
Nowhere does the change narrative ring louder and truer than at the community college. Many of us
who have spent our careers in community colleges realize that our institutions, like our local, state and
federal governments, must undergo significant change in order to stay viable in the future. However, just
like our government and political leaders, there is a very large gap between what community college
leaders say they need to do to prepare their colleges for the future, and what actually is done. Clearly, it
is time for us to get beyond all the rhetoric and begin to act.
The current way community colleges function, with their roots grounded in outdated Weberian
management practices, outmoded instructional delivery systems, and archaic approaches to student
and institutional support services, simply will not work for institutions that are charged with serving as
major democratizing forces and economic engines for a changing population, a changing world and a
rapidly evolving future. As leaders, we need to think differently about our colleges, how they operate,
and in general, the whole purpose for their existence. If community colleges don’t start changing soon,
they are likely to slide into insignificance.