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21st-Century Commission Issues Landmark Report

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The 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges, whose membership includes Phi Theta Kappa Executive Director Dr. Rod A. Risley, has issued their landmark report, Reclaiming the American Dream. Read the report here and watch a video featuring Phi Theta Kappa members Heather Herbert, Darton College, Georgia, and Doris Woodson, Pulaski Technical College, Arkansas.

The Commission was launched last year by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), and in addition to Dr. Risley includes leaders from the higher education, education policy and business arenas. The Commission was charged with setting new directions for community colleges to ensure student success, while safeguarding the community colleges' fundamental mission.

The report, issued during the recent AACC Convention in Orlando, calls for reimagining the community colleges through imperatives termed the three "Rs":

Redesigning students' educational experiences

Reinventing institutional roles

Resetting the system to create incentives for student and institutional success.

In unveiling the report, AACC President and CEO Dr. Walter Bumphus said a 21st-Century Center will be established to coordinate implementation of recommendations, serve as a clearinghouse for research and strategies, act as a repository for promising practices and promote development of future community college leaders.

"Serving on the Commission was both an honor and a challenge," said Dr. Risley. "As the report indicates, our work is just beginning. I am proud to say that Phi Theta Kappa will serve on the task force charged with the responsibility of designing strategies and best practices for implementing the Commission's recommendations."

The report cited, among other issues, a need to focus on success as well as access, to develop a culture of evidence and to improve credentialing rates, Dr. Risley said. 

"In his remarks at AACC Dr. Bumphus acknowledged the role of Phi Theta Kappa in promoting the college completion agenda," Dr. Risley said. "I am so very proud of the work our chapters have done to boost credentialing rates - your energy and enthusiasm have brought national and international attention to these efforts. I encourage all chapter leaders and college administrators to continue to focus on student success and degree completion."