Monday, May 26, 2008

NISOD 2008 - Keynote - "America's Community Colleges: The Nation's Best Defence

This keynote address was given by Dr. Ronald Williams, Vice President of the College Board. Much of his address was based on a College Board report " Winning the Skills Race and Strengthening America's Middle Class: an Action Agenda for Community Colleges".

Community Colleges in the US currently enroll 46% of all undergraduate students and community colleges are much more diverse than universities. It was pointed out by Dr. Williams that the US lags behind most developed nations in most educational measures and that it is community colleges that are preparing the current and next generations of the people that will run the national infrastructure.

There are four threats to the community college:
  • Rising costs
  • Mismatch between demand and resources
  • A culture that has emphasized access more than success
  • The challenge of monitoring outcomes
We are looking at very similar issues in Canada and it was somewhat reassuring to realize that institutions in the US are dealing with many of the same issues.

A thought provoking address that I am sure gave US-based faculty and staff lots to think of. If you get a chance, take a look at the report - it has lots of relevance for colleges outside of the USA as well...

No comments: