LHE7014 NCU Financial Challenges Faced by Community College Essay

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North Central University


For this assignment, begin by exploring several current articles from the literature available in the NCU library related to the sources of funding for community colleges.

Write a paper in which you detail the financial pressures faced by community college leaders as they balance the need for a responsive educational program delivered at an affordable price.

Length: 5-7 pages not including title and reference pages

References: Minimum of 3-5 scholarly resources.

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Feature GOING ImaGe soURCe/Glow ImaGes BY ALAN JOCH 32 COMMUNITY COLLEGE JOURNAL June/July 2011 Impending money woes force tough choices, forecast fundamental shift in community college funding LEAN The numbers were already bad, and they keep getting worse, for the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD). Given the weak economy, administrators planned for a 5 percent reduction in state funding in the 2010–11 academic year. The actual reduction ballooned to more than 7.5 percent, an additional $13 million that DCCCD would be forced to do without. The cutbacks scuttled some planned investments. But educators took solace in knowing they would avoid layoffs—for now. Leaders reportedly are bracing for an additional $18.2 million cut this fall, leaving critics to wonder just how much more the district can take. “At some point, you can’t throw another cup of water in the gumbo and expect to feed everyone at the table,” says Ed DesPlas, executive vice chancellor of business affairs. It’s a harsh reality—one U.S. community colleges are realizing at an alarming rate. The nonprofit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that nearly half of all states have enacted or are considering major cuts to their higher education budgets in the coming academic year. And the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. >> VISIT THE JOURNAL ONLINE AT WWW.CCJOURNAL-DIGITAL.COM June/July 2011 COMMUNITY COLLEGE JOURNAL 33 Feature $1M Other states are even worse off. In Arizona, a paltry 10 percent of community college funding is derived from the state—and administrators project that number might shrink even further this year. “It looks like we will be down to about 1 percent of our total budget,” says Clint Ewell, vice president for finance and administrative services at Yavapai College (YC). By all accounts, this is more than just some post-recession hangover. Experts say the changes mark a seismic shift in community college funding, one that will profoundly alter how these institutions apply for, receive, and use public and private dollars for years to come. Survival will require a number of tough choices. “Whatever hand you’re dealt, you don’t go into a fetal position and complain,” says Robert Breuder, president of the College of DuPage (COD), outside of Chicago. “You deal with it.” Contingency Plans On the surface, coping strategies are simple: Cut expenses while sparing anything that might compromise educational integrity. But it’s more complicated than that. Most colleges know there is no silver-bullet solution. Rather, the best approach is to strike a balance between cutting nonessential or underperforming programs and tapping untested revenue streams. Many have even contemplated enrollment caps, a strategy some say goes against 34 COMMUNITY COLLEGE JOURNAL  Amount of money saved by College of DuPage in Illinois by eliminating faculty release time for special assignments and increasing individual workloads. the very nature of community colleges as open-door institutions. Spending cuts and a stronger-thanexpected economy have helped shrink California’s looming budget deficit from $25 billion to an estimated $10 billion in recent weeks. But school officials are still unsure exactly how the remaining gap will ultimately impact educational programs. Coast Community College District (CCCD) in Southern California’s Orange County outlined three contingencies— best-, middle- and worst-case—depending on how deep the budget axe goes. June/July 2011 “We’ve made a strategic decision to frame our tentative budget on this middle-case scenario, while at the same time recognize that if the worst case comes to pass, we need to be in a position to respond to that,” says Andy Dunn, vice chancellor of administrative services. The middle scenario anticipates a drop in state allocations of about 10 percent. That means the district might serve 10 percent fewer students as classes fill up. It also would reduce some faculty, administrative, and support staff. Photoalto/Glow Images State coffers, once relied on for a third of community college budgets nationwide, are hemorrhaging. In Texas, state funds once accounted for 32 percent of DCCCD’s operational budget. Chancellor Wright Lassiter says that figure now hovers at 25 percent. At COD in Illinois, Breuder has outlined a three-pronged plan for solvency: cut expenses, increase tuition, and grow enrollment. COD accomplished the first by furloughing some full-time faculty and replacing those employees with parttime instructors for general-ed courses, such as math and English. “Some people argue that attenuates the quality of your instruction,” says Breuder of the choice. “I don’t happen to believe it does so long as you pick quality people, whether they are full time or part time.” The college also reportedly saved more than $1 million by eliminating faculty release time for special assignments and increasing individual workloads. Breuder is currently bracing for tough negotiations with employee unions regarding how to offset the pain of rising health insurance expenses. “These are difficult decisions that have to be made,” he says. (Continued on next page) Online Education Could Help Across the country, 69 percent of U.S. community colleges saw winter enrollments rise this year, according to the 2011 “Community Colleges and the Economy” survey recently released by The Campus Computing Project with support from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). (For the full survey, visit www.campuscomputing.net/item/community-colleges-and-economy-2011.) With enrollments up just about everywhere, it’s no wonder administrators are stressed over impending budget cuts. Community colleges are used to doing more with less, but even the most imaginative institutions have their limits. Rather than cap enrollments or compromise class sizes to serve more learners, some colleges are expanding online offerings, often at the request of students. The numbers for online education in community colleges continue to rise. Eightytwo percent of 448 community college presidents and chancellors who responded to the survey reported rising enrollments in online courses; 12 percent reported that enrollments in online courses at their institutions increased by 15 percent or more during the past year. Similarly, 46 percent of presidents reported rising enrollments in online degree programs, and 39 percent cited enrollment gains in online certificate programs over the past year, the survey said. “These new data document the continuing challenges that confront the nation’s community colleges,” says Walter Bumphus, president and CEO of AACC. “During the current economic downturn, the nation’s community colleges have been called upon to serve many more students and to do so with significantly less resources.” Electronic Health Records System Technologist 18 Weeks - 216 Hours Train professionals to meet the nationwide adoption of electronic health records in your community. Retail Price: $3600 - Earn $500 per student with this instructor-led online program. No minimum enrollment required. New Classes Starting Every Month Schedule Now! For information, complete program listing, locations, registration or to start a program in your region: BostonReedCompany.com | call 800-201-1141 x5057 VISIT THE JOURNAL ONLINE AT WWW.CCJOURNAL-DIGITAL.COM June/July 2011 COMMUNITY COLLEGE JOURNAL 35 Feature YC in Arizona is also eyeing cuts to personnel; salaries and benefits represent nearly 80 percent of the college’s total budget and administrators have to cut from somewhere. The college says it isn’t making any layoffs—yet. But it is leaving several employment vacancies unfilled. When YC eventually does make new hires, administrators say fiscal realities will force them to do some things differently than in the past. “Just because a philosophy professor leaves doesn’t mean we are going to hire a new philosophy instructor,” explains Ewell. “We’ll look at demand, so maybe that means we hire a new math faculty member.” Fourteen nonfaculty positions will remain open at YC, in addition to the 13 service positions the school eliminated. Funding for part-timers has also been cut. Back in Texas, DCCCD is offering early-retirement incentives to some $3 Increase in cost per credit hour at Yavapai College this coming school year. Upcoming Professional Development from AACC Network and learn from your peers 700 employees who qualify. The district plans to leave nonfaculty positions unfilled and replace retired teachers with younger professionals at lower salaries. If a third of the eligible staff accepts the buyout, Lassiter says, DCCCD could save $5.27 million. Many community colleges are also taking a hard look at facilities budgets. For instance, YC shuttered rented space used for some classes and closed onsite health clinics. “They were doing a great job, but we decided that that was not core to our mission,” Ewell says. Sports programs are also increasingly seen as a luxury. YC is dropping two of its six sports next year. Enrollment Strategies While colleges question if they’ll have enough funds to provide the instructors and facilities necessary to meet spiking enrollments, COD’s Breuder views student recruitment as an integral part of his financial plan. The college is selectively boosting enrollment Presidents Academy Summer Institute July 9–12, 2011 Asheville, N.C. Washington Institute November 5–7, 2011 Washington, D.C. Workforce Development Institute January 25–28, 2012 Miami, Fla. 2012 Annual Convention April 21–24, 2012 Orlando, Fla. For more information on these events, please visit www.aacc.nche.edu and click on “Events” under the News and Events tab. American Association of Community Colleges www.aacc.nche.edu 36 COMMUNITY COLLEGE JOURNAL June/July 2011 maRtIN PaUl/PhotolIBRaRY Selective Hiring “We might not have used the word ‘enrollment caps’ up to this point. But if this trend continues, we will have limitations on how many we can serve.” —Wright Lassiter, chancellor, Dallas County Community College District with promotions designed to draw more students to English, math, and liberal arts courses. “You can go from 30 to 32 to 35 in a classroom, or add a section, and it doesn’t cost you money,” he says. “These are your profit centers.” Not so for more technical programs, such as health care, which is why COD isn’t courting more nursing students. “If you go from 120 to 140 students in nursing, you bring in a whole plethora of operating costs to be able to provide that additional education,” he says. “We are maxed out, and to augment that would mean additional costs that would outdistance the revenue.” The school also doubled tuition in selected health care programs, which amounts to additional revenues of $500,000, Breuder says. Budget cuts have hurt YC’s nursing program. Despite a national need for health care workers, the college has announced a plan to cut in half the number of students in its nursing sector. Impact on Students Almost across the board, community college administrators say their No. 1 priority is to minimize the impact of funding cuts on students. But even the best intentions are just that: intentions. Tuition increases are common. Case in point: If the “middle-case” budget scenario materializes for California’s CCCD, student fees will rise from $26 to $36 per instructional unit. If the worst-case budget forecast hits, fees could shoot up to $66 per unit, Dunn says. YC plans to bump up its per-credithour rate by $3 in the coming year, and COD has already started requiring its employees to pay a portion of tuition, once free, for themselves and their families. And that still might not be enough. The real problem for community colleges will come when they have to start walling off students. “We might not have used the word ‘enrollment caps’ up to this point,” DCCCD’s Lassiter says. “But if this trend continues, we will have limitations on how many we can serve.” ALAN JOCH is a business and education writer based in Francestown, N.H. HELP YOUR STUDENTS MAKE EVERY CREDIT COUNT Kaplan University offers more than 125 degrees and programs that could complement the community college education your students have received. With a Kaplan University academic alliance, you and your students are offered the following benefits: – The opportunity to transfer prior credits to a Kaplan University degree program* – 10 percent reduction in tuition for students, employees, and faculty† – Textbooks and course materials are included in the cost of tuition‡ Thanks to the Kaplan CommitmentSM your students can try a Kaplan University undergraduate or graduate program for a 5-week period with no tuition obligation beyond the nonrefundable $45 application fee.§ For more information about an educational alliance contact Toni Feldman at tfeldman@kaplan.edu or call 954.512.6242. *Kaplan University does not guarantee transferability of any credits. See University Catalog for Transfer of Credit policy. May not be combined with Kaplan University scholarships, military discounts, tuition vouchers, and other discounts. Undergraduate programs only. Not all courses require textbooks; some use electronic instructional materials. § Classes will count toward a student’s degree if satisfactorily completed. No credits are earned if the student withdraws during the introductory period. The introductory period is five weeks, and begins on day one of the student’s first academic term. If at any point during the introductory period a student chooses to opt out, he or she will have no other obligation to the University except for the application fee. Only available to new students; continuing students are not eligible. † ‡ VISIT THE JOURNAL ONLINE AT WWW.CCJOURNAL-DIGITAL.COM June/July 2011 COMMUNITY COLLEGE JOURNAL 37 Copyright of Community College Journal is the property of American Association of Community Colleges and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. 5 The current economic, social, and political climate presents such an unprecedented threat to the mission of community colleges that only radical changes will ensure a future in which their quality and purpose are maintained. This chapter offers a framework for how presidents and boards can meet the urgent need of staying true to the college’s mission in the face of emerging fiscal and educational crises. Increased Enrollment + Student Success – Funding = ? James D. Tschechtelin As the story goes, a frog dropped in a pot of boiling water will immediately jump out. However, a frog placed in a pot of tepid water will stay there as the water temperature rises until it is cooked. The coming five to ten years will drop community colleges into a lot of hot water. The question is this: Will community colleges sense the danger and jump out, or will they simply try to acclimate and get cooked? The theses of this chapter are that (1) current trends in the external environment of community colleges constitute such an unprecedented threat that their mission will inevitably be damaged, and (2) only radical changes by community colleges will secure a future in which their quality is sustained. Incremental, short-term responses are futile in the face of this new reality. Assumptions Two assumptions are made in this analysis. First, it is assumed that an educated citizenry is essential to a democratic and successful nation. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” Education is important for economic growth and for the human development of our country. Education promotes economic development through the creative energy that leads to new ideas as well as to the preparation of men and women with the ability to participate fully in the knowledge-based economy. The ability of our nation to compete in a global economy depends on NEW DIRECTIONS FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES, no. 156, Winter 2011 © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Published online in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com) • DOI: 10.1002/cc.466 49 50 PRESIDENTS AND ANALYSTS DISCUSS CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES an educated citizenry. “Our nation’s dominant position in the world order is at great risk” (College Board, 2008). Education promotes human development by giving each person the opportunity to develop his or her gifts and talents to the fullest possible degree. Second, it is assumed that community colleges are the segment of higher education that bears the greatest responsibility for educating low-income students and students of color. Community colleges provide education and training to 43 percent of the college students in the nation and to even higher proportions of low-income students and students of color (American Association of Community Colleges, 2011b). Trends Facing Community Colleges Three dominant forces in the external environment are shaping the new reality facing community colleges in the next decade. These forces are positioned to have a dramatic and lasting impact on community colleges. They include: growing enrollment, pressure to improve student success, and sharply declining government support. Growing Enrollment. Community colleges have a long, proud tradition of opening doors to college for millions of students. From the earliest days of community colleges in the United States, one of the essential elements of their mission has been student access. Community colleges have opened the doors to higher education in multiple ways, improving geographic access, financial access, academic access, and disabled access. With low tuition and open admission policies, community college enrollment had grown to 6.8 million credit students in 2007 (American Association of Community Colleges, 2011b). The American Association of Community Colleges estimates that enrollment in community colleges grew 16.9 percent between 2007 and 2009. Some of this growth can be attributed to the recession of 2008–2009; enrollment growth in community colleges is often inversely related to the strength of the economy as men and women turn to college to prepare for new or upgraded careers. Minority student enrollment in higher education is growing rapidly, and the greatest increases are in community colleges (Fry, 2010). This growing enrollment in community colleges brings pressures to hire additional faculty and staff, secure additional facilities, and provide supporting resources. Pressure to Improve Student Success. While student access has long been a theme for community colleges, more recent emphasis has been on student success. Earlier work on the Learning College by O’Banion (1997) set the stage, and the current accent on student success began in 2004 with a multiyear national initiative, Achieving the Dream (B. McClenney, personal communication, January 7, 2011). Spurred by data showing that only 45 percent of entering community college students earn an associate degree or transfer to a four-year college within six years, Achieving the Dream (2011) currently includes more than 130 institutions NEW DIRECTIONS FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES • DOI: 10.1002/cc INCREASED ENROLLMENT + STUDENT SUCCESS − FUNDING = ? 51 in 24 states and the District of Columbia. The purpose of Achieving the Dream is to improve the success of community college students and of lowincome students of color in particular. The initiative is based on four principles: committed leadership, the use of evidence/data, broad engagement (especially faculty), and systemic institutional improvement (MDC, 2006). Colleges track results on five key variables, from the course completion rate in developmental courses to the graduation rate. The interest in student success expanded rapidly when government officials took up the cause. In 2009, President Barack Obama announced a proposal for an American Graduation Initiative. This new proposal was aimed at increasing the number of persons with college degrees and sought an additional 5 million community college degrees and certificates by 2020 and new steps to ensure that those credentials will help graduates get ahead in their careers (American Association of Community Colleges, 2011a). The National Governors Association (2010) launched a Complete to Compete initiative, which seeks to, among other things, increase degree attainment and improve higher education productivity. The new emphasis on student success is closely related to the theme of quality in the mission of community colleges. While quality is often cited as a part of community college mission statements, the new pressure to improve student success rates has placed additional stress on community college leaders. Some leaders have even termed this new emphasis an “unfunded mandate,” as if aspiring to graduate an increasing proportion of students were a novel idea (Moltz, 2010). It is accurate to point out that additional resources are needed, but the obligation to improve graduation and transfer rates is not new. Community colleges have always had the obligation to see that every student has the best possible opportunity to succeed. Sharply Declining Government Support. The confluence of increasing enrollment with expectations for higher rates of student success has occurred at the same time that the nation is experiencing the deepest recession since the Great Depression. Not only have tax revenues fallen dramatically, but strong political forces have opposed any increases in tax rates. As housing values have dropped, revenue from property taxes has fallen. On the other side of the ledger, government expenses for healthcare and retirement benefits have increased. In state budgets, funding for higher education is often regarded as discretionary when compared with mandated funding for major items such as K–12 schools and Medicaid. As such, higher education is frequently a target for reductions during lean economic times. State and local funding for community colleges has been severely reduced in nearly every part of the country. Katsinas and Friedel (2010) surveyed state directors of community colleges about the status of funding and reported that twenty-two states are projecting budget cuts for their community colleges in fiscal year 2011. Among states with the greatest NEW DIRECTIONS FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES • DOI: 10.1002/cc 52 PRESIDENTS AND ANALYSTS DISCUSS CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES budget cuts are Hawaii (23 percent), Iowa (13 percent), Arizona and Massachusetts (12 percent each), and Oregon (10 percent). The United States weathered recessions in the early 1990s and the early 2000s, but in neither of those times were there proposals such as current ones to close four community colleges (Texas) or to cut state aid by one-half (Arizona). Some community college leaders go so far as to say “The truth is that the money will never come back” (Bumphus, 2010). The new reality is clearly a departure from previous recessions. What Are the Choices for Community Colleges? Where does this convergence of forces leave community colleges? Increasing access plus additional push for student success minus funding equals what future for community colleges? This chapter makes the case that the community college mission has been stretched beyond the breaking point in terms of sustaining access and quality and beyond the ability to serve both enrollment and student outcome goals. Something has to give. What will be diminished, and how will those decisions be reached? The deep reductions from state and local revenues can no longer be resolved with simple belt-tightening. Community colleges face fundamental questions. What are the alternatives for presidents and boards of trustees? Will community colleges change their mission? What will be the impact on quality? Will presidents and boards of trustees make courageous, conscious, and strategic decisions, or will they avoid these choices and instead permit their institutions to slip quietly and incrementally, surrendering access and/or quality? This chapter provides a framework for strategic thinking, organizational change, and management that can be used by presidents and boards to meet this urgent problem. Traditional Responses. Like the frog in a slowly heating pot of water, community colleges can and often do take incremental steps to deal with the new reality. It is the easiest thing to do. Tuition levels can be increased. Fees are created or augmented. Hiring freezes are implemented. Personnel cuts are a frequent focus, since in many community colleges, about 80 to 85 percent of unrestricted expenses are for salary and fringe benefits. A study by the Education Policy Center of actions being taken to cope with budget cuts in fiscal year 2011 reported, “Officials from 37 states predict a budget gap this fiscal year for community colleges. The most popular strategies for closing these gaps were ‘across-the-board cuts,’ ‘deferred maintenance’ and ‘furloughs’” (Katsinas and Friedel, 2010, p. viii). Another frequent target for reductions is professional development, thereby sacrificing the education and training that colleges need to keep their programs and technology relevant for the future. In community colleges with negotiated budgets, one option is to reduce enrollment by reducing the number of course sections offered. However, in community colleges NEW DIRECTIONS FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES • DOI: 10.1002/cc INCREASED ENROLLMENT + STUDENT SUCCESS − FUNDING = ? 53 in states with formula-based funding, that option may not be the most prudent; state aid and tuition may cover the marginal cost of enrolling more students. The State of Washington is considering the use of Web-based instructional materials in lieu of textbooks as a way of making college more financially accessible (Overland, 2011). Radical Thinking Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them. —Albert Einstein It is within the theses of this chapter that something has to give when colleges simultaneously experience increasing enrollment, additional emphasis on student success, and sharp declines in government funding. Something will inevitably be diminished in the process. A college that deals with this problem incrementally will suffer an erosion of access or quality; it will be the slow, sure death of the frog in increasingly hot water. What will be diminished, and how will those decisions be made and implemented? It is also the thesis of this chapter that only radical changes by community colleges will secure a future in which their quality is sustained. Three conceptual frameworks are proposed to cope with the new reality: adopt a strategic governance model, embrace a comprehensive approach to organizational change, and manage with a transformational leadership style. The first of these is likely to bring significant changes, and the other two are intended to make the change process as smooth as possible. Adopt a Strategic Governance Model. It is the role of community college boards of trustees to establish and support the vision and mission of the institution (Smith, 2000). The board of trustees is responsible for seeing the big picture and for developing an appropriate long-term strategic response to it. However, many boards struggle to focus on information about major trends and chart a course through the white water of the new reality. Are most community college boards prepared for the task? Chait, Ryan, and Taylor (2005) describe widespread disappointment with the performance of boards: “There is no question that the nonprofit sector has a board problem. Frustration with boards is so chronic and widespread that board and troubled board have become almost interchangeable” (p. 11). Carver and Carver (2010) concluded that most nonprofit boards are ineffective: “Ninety-five percent are not doing what they are legally, morally, and ethically supposed to do” (p. 2). Chait, Ryan, and Taylor (2005) propose that boards need to expand from their traditional fiduciary role to a strategic governance model and, ultimately, to a generative role in governing. In their fiduciary role, boards of trustees see their main purpose as the stewardship of assets and their main role as that of sentinel. The board monitors the work of the president. The central question for fiduciary board governance is: What is wrong? NEW DIRECTIONS FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES • DOI: 10.1002/cc 54 PRESIDENTS AND ANALYSTS DISCUSS CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES The fiduciary role of the board is important and has to be discharged properly. However, the larger responsibility of the board must include strategic governance. In their strategic governance role, boards see their main purpose as a strategic partnership with the president and staff, and their main role as that of strategist. The central question for the board in strategic governance is: What is the plan? The partnership between the board and the president is meant to include extensive and meaningful collaboration; it does not mean a brief discussion by the board, followed by approval of what the president presents to them. When operating in a strategic role, boards and presidents have courageous conversations, asking such fundamental questions as: • What is the mission of the college? What are the core elements of the mission? • What programs are most central to the mission? What is the order of importance of elements of the mission of the college? For example, is community service more important than continuing education? Is the credit program more important than the noncredit program? Where do programs for business and industry rank in relation to transfer programs? What is the importance of outreach to local high schools? • What is quality, and how is it best measured? How will the college know when quality is enhanced or eroded: In instruction? In academic advising? In library services? In instructional technology? • What instructional locations are most crucial? What are the cost and the value of each branch campus or off-campus center? • How is student financial access best measured: in relation to the median family income in the service area? In relation to the federally defined poverty threshold? In relation to the cost of public four-year education? What has been the trend in tuition and fees at the college, and at what point would the college no longer be able to claim financial access as a part of the mission? These are not easy questions to answer, and because they concern the fundamental direction of the college, they can be expected to raise the level of tension within the college and among its external stakeholders. Traditionally, boards and presidents have maintained that the college has to perform all of the evolved elements of the mission and contended that the many parts of the mission support each other. That luxury is no longer possible for many community colleges if quality is to be assured. Embrace a Comprehensive Approach to Organizational Change. Simultaneous with the board of trustees developing a clear direction for the college, how do community colleges best set out to make that change happen? At many colleges, the change process is episodic and buffeted by competing priorities. Distractions from short-term issues and day-to-day crises abound. The second framework that can help colleges deal with the new reality is to have a comprehensive, well-established conceptual and NEW DIRECTIONS FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES • DOI: 10.1002/cc INCREASED ENROLLMENT + STUDENT SUCCESS − FUNDING = ? 55 operational model for implementing the changes that are needed. Kotter (1996, 2002) provides a model based on studies done at a wide variety of organizations. At the operational level, his work on the change process (1996) outlines an eight-step process. The process is relatively linear, and a failure to achieve success in an early step can easily derail accomplishment in a subsequent step. These steps are: 1. Establish a sense of urgency. The change process begins by developing a strong drive among a large cadre of faculty and staff that they need to move on the problem and get something done. The central point is that people come to feel a need for action. 2. Create a guiding coalition. A small group of people with the authority, reputations, skills, and credibility are assembled to plan the change initiative. This coalition can work from a charge given to them by the board of trustees and the president. 3. Develop a vision and strategy. The guiding coalition develops a simple vision and sensible strategies that inspire the faculty and staff. 4. Communicate the change vision. The vision and strategy need to be explained effectively and explained again far and wide in the college and the community it serves. Numerous opportunities are provided for faculty, staff, and administrators to discuss the vision and strategy. The goal is to secure an emotional commitment from everyone at the college. The use of symbols in repeated and creative ways is important. 5. Empower broad-based action. Mostly by removing barriers to action, faculty, administrators, and staff are given the ability to act on the vision. This step can involve improvements in information systems, building of self-confidence, and even removal of administrators who disempower their associates. 6. Generate short-term wins. Given that the changes sought take some time to achieve, it is important that the college faculty, administrators, and staff have some tangible evidence that their commitment and new approaches are paying off. 7. Consolidate gains and produce more change. Changes are linked so that additional changes are built on each other and momentum is not lost. The hazard is that energy will fade and people will lose interest in the vision. 8. Anchor new approaches in the culture. The changes become enduring through changes in the faculty and staff norms. The “way we do things around here” becomes oriented to elements originally designed in the vision. Careful selection of new hires, fitting promotions, and faculty and staff development programs can help to cement the new culture being sought. Kotter’s approach at the conceptual level regarding change is clear but not mechanical. He stresses the importance of leadership and underscores the emotive component in the change process. He writes: NEW DIRECTIONS FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES • DOI: 10.1002/cc 56 PRESIDENTS AND ANALYSTS DISCUSS CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES The single most important message . . . is very simple. People change what they do less because they are given an analysis that shifts their thinking than because they are shown a truth that affects their feelings. (2002, p. 1). Our main finding, put simply, is that the central issue is never strategy, structure, culture, or systems. All those elements, and others, are important. But the core of the matter is always about changing the behavior of people, and behavior change happens in highly successful situations mostly by speaking to people’s feelings. This is true even in organizations that are very focused on analysis and quantitative measurement, even among people who think of themselves as smart in an M.B.A. sense. (2002, p. x) Orchestrating a successful change process is a difficult enterprise, as individuals and groups resist the new direction and short-term crises emerge. One way for the college to maintain a sense of focus on the most important goal is to employ a consultant with knowledge and experience in governance and change. The college can benefit from someone with an external point of reference who can help to keep the entire initiative on track. Achieving the Dream has employed this approach successfully, with a coach and data facilitator assigned to each college who make periodic visits to the campus (MDC, 2006). These two consultants begin with three two-day visits per year at the onset and two visits per year in subsequent years. A study of Achieving the Dream work in Massachusetts found the contributions of the consultants to be valuable. “Among the supports provided by Achieving the Dream, coaching and data facilitation were repeatedly cited among interviewees as the most significant contributors to colleges’ progress under the initiative” (Pauley and Torres, 2010, p. 14). Manage with Transformational Leadership Style. The first two parts for an effective response to the new reality for community colleges are to adopt a strategic governance model and to embrace a comprehensive approach to organizational change. Those elements pose significant departures from business as usual and require the development of an atmosphere that will support the changes being made. Hence, the third framework for dealing with the new reality is for the college to manage with a transformational leadership style that will provide a climate of openness, trust, and concern for individuals. In a study of leadership that began with 296 community college chief executive officers (later distilled to a group of 50), Roueche, Baker, and Rose (1989) extracted a list of five themes that characterize transformational leaders. Bass (1985) and Yukl (2011) also describe transformational leadership. The first of the five themes is vision. A transformational leader helps to shape the vision of the college in partnership with the board of trustees and in consultation with the faculty and staff. There needs to be an overarching and inspiring sense of where the college is going. This theme reinforces a similar step in Kotter’s change process (1996). NEW DIRECTIONS FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES • DOI: 10.1002/cc INCREASED ENROLLMENT + STUDENT SUCCESS − FUNDING = ? 57 Influence orientation is the second theme. It is “the process of shared attention to problems and understanding of roles to be played in resolution. Generally, it results in increased power delegation and empowerment, promoting self-actualization of both leaders and followers” (Roueche, Baker, and Rose, 1989, p. 264). The third theme is people orientation: Leaders value individuals as well as the contributions of teams in the college. There is a tone of concern for students and their success as well as each faculty, administrator, and staff member. Emphasis on student success will undergird the external pressure for improved student success with a positive internal college motivation. Transformational leaders establish and sustain a Motivational Orientation, the fourth theme. In this theme, “[f]ollowers are motivated to achieve and are excited through performance and results” (Roueche, Baker, and Rose, 1989, p. 272). Working with this perspective, faculty, administrators, and staff use their talents more creatively. Values orientation is the fifth theme of transformational leadership. Leaders need to model high standards of integrity, commitment, and ethical behavior. This theme is absolutely necessary to gain the respect of the faculty and staff. In times of great change at the college, suspicion and cynicism about the motives and intentions of leaders can accelerate. The values orientation must be well established before dramatic changes are discussed and implemented. Summary and Conclusions A new reality in the external environment of community colleges poses an urgent and significant challenge. There is pressure for increased student access plus new stress on increasing student success; both come during a time when government funding is sharply declining. The theses of this chapter were that (1) current trends in the external environment of community colleges constitute such an unprecedented threat that their mission will inevitably be damaged, and (2) only radical changes by community colleges will secure a future in which their quality is sustained. Incremental, short-term responses are futile in the face of this new reality. At substantially lower levels of funding, community colleges cannot do everything that they once did. Because of the importance of education to the national interest and the central role played by community colleges both nationally and locally, it is critically important that community colleges respond in a way that best serves students and the country. The question becomes: What will be diminished, and how will those decisions be made? Community colleges need to take a strong, proactive approach. A framework of theories is proposed to help community colleges not only survive but succeed. Four conclusions emerge: 1. Adopt a strategic governance model, where the board of trustees and the president work in a strong and active partnership to ask fundamental NEW DIRECTIONS FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES • DOI: 10.1002/cc 58 PRESIDENTS AND ANALYSTS DISCUSS CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES questions about the direction of the college. The board of trustees and the president must shape the vision of the college in the context of the big picture. The strategic governance model by Chait, Ryan, and Taylor (2005) is an excellent framework for this task. 2. Embrace a comprehensive approach to organizational change that maps out a clear philosophy and process for coping with revisions to the directions and operations of the college. Kotter’s (1996, 2002) framework for organizational change, with its clear eight-step process and a seefeel-change (versus analysis-think-change) philosophy, would be outstanding for this activity. 3. Manage with a transformational leadership style. In this element, the president and the administrators strive to establish a positive and supportive atmosphere, where every person in the college feels that he or she is a valued and respected part of the institution. Roueche, Baker, and Rose’s (1989) model of transformational leadership is an ideal framework for this effort. 4. Employ a competent consultant on a long-term basis to facilitate this work. Dealing with what often seems to be perpetual white water is a daunting task, with a wide variety of day-to-day issues competing for attention. By hiring a consultant with knowledge and experience about governance and change, the college can benefit from someone with an external point of reference who can help to keep the entire initiative on track. Achieving the Dream has employed this approach successfully, with a coach and data facilitator assigned to each college, consultants who make periodic visits to the campus (MDC, 2006). Is the “golden era” over for community colleges in the United States? It is possible for community colleges to emerge from the new external reality in a strong position. Community colleges do not have to muddle through; rather they can engage in a thoughtful process toward a renewed institution. The process will lead to a changed college, but it can be a strong one. It will depend on the courage and creativeness of community college boards and presidents. The frog does not need to cook as the water temperature rises. References Achieving the Dream. 2011. http://www.achievingthedream.org/. American Association for Community Colleges. (2011a). “The American Graduation Initiative: Stronger American Skills through Community Colleges.” http:// www.aacc.nche.edu/Advocacy/aginitiative/Pages/obamafactsheet.aspx. American Association for Community Colleges. (2011b). “Fast Facts.” http:// www.aacc.nche.edu/AboutCC/Pages/fastfacts.aspx. Bass, B. M. Leadership and Performance Beyond Expectations. New York: Free Press, 1985. Bumphus, W. G. Interview by J. Gonzalez, Chronicle of Higher Education. 2010, December 5. http://chronicle.com/article/Incoming-Leader-of/125598/?sid=cc&utm_source= cc&utm_medium=en. NEW DIRECTIONS FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES • DOI: 10.1002/cc INCREASED ENROLLMENT + STUDENT SUCCESS − FUNDING = ? 59 Carver, J., and Carver, M. “Carver’s Policy Governance Model in Nonprofit Organizations.” 2010. http://www.carvergovernance.com/pg-np.htm. Chait, R. P., Ryan, W. P., and Taylor, B. E. Governance as Leadership. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2005. College Board. Coming to Our Senses: Education and the American Future. New York: Author, 2008. Fry, R. Minorities and the Recession-era College Boom. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center. 2010. http://pewsocialtrends.org/2010/06/16/minorities-and-the-recession-era -college-enrollment-boom/. Katsinas, S. G., and Friedel, J. N. Uncertain Recovery: Access and Funding Issues in Public Higher Education. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Education Policy Center, 2010. Kotter, J. P. Leading Change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1996. Kotter, J. P. The Heart of Change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2002. MDC. “Increasing Student Success at Community Colleges.” Chapel Hill, NC: MDC, Inc., 2006. http://www.achievingthedream.org/_images/_index03/Framing-Paper-July -2006-final.pdf. Moltz, D. “Community Colleges’ Unfunded Mandate.” Inside Higher Ed., 2010, May 17. http://www.insidehighered.com. National Governors Association. Complete to Compete. Washington, DC: Author, 2010. http://www.nga.org/Files/live/sites/nga/files/pdf/10gregoirebrochure.pdf. O’Banion, T. A Learning College for the 21st Century. Phoenix, Ariz.: American Council on Education/Oryx Press Series on Higher Education, 1997. Overland, M. A. “State of Washington to Offer Online Materials as Texts.” Chronicle of Higher Education, 2011, January 11. http://chronicle.com. Pauley, E., and Torres, N. Massachusetts Achieving the Dream Phase 1 Findings and Recommendations. New York: MDRC, 2010. Roueche, J. E., Baker III, G. A., and Rose, R. R. Shared Vision: Transformational Leadership in American Community Colleges. Washington, DC: American Association for Community Colleges, 1989. Smith, C. J. Trusteeship in Community Colleges. Washington, DC: Association of Community College Trustees, 2000. Yukl, G. Leadership in Organizations (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 2011. JAMES D. TSCHECHTELIN, EdD, is an adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Management and Technology, University of Maryland University College; coach to Achieving the Dream; and retired president of Baltimore City Community College, Baltimore, Maryland. NEW DIRECTIONS FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES • DOI: 10.1002/cc
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