Track 1: Advancing the Completion Agenda – A commitment to helping more students complete credentials with value in the workplace has gained significant traction at both national and institutional levels. What strategies are colleges deploying to achieve this challenging goal and how can their methods help other colleges build success by the numbers?
Track 2: Improving College Readiness – Far too many students arrive at the community college open door ill-prepared to succeed in college level coursework. Many colleges are confronting this vexing trend through creative partnerships with K-12 institutions and innovative approaches that give students a leg up—both before and after they arrive.
Track 3: Closing the Skills Gap – It’s a workplace conundrum: persistently high unemployment at a time when key employers say they cannot hire enough qualified, domestic workers to keep their businesses competitive. What role are responsive community colleges playing in finding solutions that match student aspirations to a continually evolving workplace?
Track 4: Reinventing the Community College Model! – After more than a century of growth, community colleges face a stark reality: a state-funded, enrollment-based operating model may be irreparably broken. How are colleges innovating their way to a new operating paradigm, and what lies ahead for the successful community college of the future?
Track 5: Collaborating for Progress (philanthropy, government, private sector) – As disenchantment grows with public institutions and outmoded operating models, major foundations, business leaders, and cash-starved governments are calling for new ways to leverage dwindling resources. Savvy community college leaders are advancing their institutions and communities through aligned partnerships and collaboration.
Track 6: Incentivizing Institutional and Student Success – When resources are scarce, disparate sectors aggressively seek and protect their own piece of the public pie. But much can be gained through cross-sector collaboration and incentives that encourage student performance, progress and completion. What policies advance such “investment in the public good,” and what statewide systems exist or are needed to track how students are doing?
Track 7: Promoting Accountability – What metrics equate to student and institutional success, and how do we measure knowledge? Community colleges have long been evaluated by one-size-fits-all measures that many believe are ill-suited to their broad and diverse mission. As policymakers increasingly focus on transparent and measurable outcomes—often as a condition of funding—community colleges are striving to meet growing assessment requirements while also defining their own “brand” of success.
Track 8: Meeting the Leadership Challenge – With an estimated 43% of current community college CEOs expected to retire in the next five years and fully 75% saying they will retire within the decade, community colleges are faced with an urgent need to develop more and better qualified leaders. What successful programs are helping to meet the need at state, national, and institutional levels?