The ACCT 2019 Community College Leadership Congress was held from October 16-19 in San Francisco, marking the event’s 50th anniversary. The organization supports Trustees, Leadership Boards and Presidents of Community Colleges across the country, and aims “to foster the principles and practices of exemplary governance while promoting high quality and affordable higher education, cutting-edge workforce and development training, student success and the opportunity for all individuals to achieve economic self-sufficiency and security.” The event’s theme was “Past is Prologue;” the focus heavily on preparing for the future and the evolving roles of community college leadership in the quickly changing landscape of higher education.
In a session led by Presidents and Trustees from Rogue Community College (OR), Hocking College (OH), and Tarrant County Community College (TX), leaders shared various strategies for applying “entrepreneurial principle to decision making,” and the successes and failures they’ve experienced as a result of applying this way of thinking to their campuses.
The Salt Lake Community College Trustees, President, and Vice President for Institutional Research shared how they’ve been utilizing data analytics to help support strategic decision making. They also shared how they have been able to provide a comprehensive overview of what’s happening on campus and in the local community to Trustees. Stressing the importance of collaboration and transparency through multiple faucets of their institution, they talked about where they’ve experienced success, and where they are looking to improve.
The keynote speaker for Friday, Michelle Weise, Senior Vice President Workforce Strategies; Chief Innovation Officer at the Strada Institute for the Future of Work, whose research focuses on the future of the workforce and connecting learners more directly to meaningful employment, laid out the current landscape of higher education, and emphasized that future opportunities do not include “clinging to the status quo.”
Additional topics at the event included cultivating and strengthening private and public partnerships, growing workforce development programs, inclusion and equity for underserved student populations and promoting student success; all with the emphasis that higher education is rapidly changing and the time to act is now.
I left San Francisco feeling energized and am looking forward to putting some of the things I learned to practice in my everyday life, as well as sharing this important information with others in higher education.