FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 29, 2003
Contact: Norma Kent
202/728-0200, ext. 209
KELLOGG AWARDS $1.9 MILLION TO DEVELOP NEW GENERATION OF COMMUNITY COLLEGE LEADERS
Washington, D.C. – With an expected 45 percent of community college CEOs expected to retire by 2007, the American Association of Community Colleges has received a $1.9 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to develop a program that seeks to prepare a new generation of leaders for America’s largest higher education sector.
The two-year grant, Leading Forward, will support the planning stages of a comprehensive national leadership development program to address the growing leader gap at the nation’s 1,173 community, junior, and technical colleges. The colleges currently enroll over 10 million students annually -- almost half of all U.S. undergraduates -- and have experienced double-digit enrollment growth for the past three years. The initiative will put particular emphasis on helping colleges transform leadership positions to better fit the diverse needs of a growing and demographically evolving community college population.
Gail McClure, the Kellogg Foundation’s vice president for programs in youth and education, says the new effort comes at a critical time in the 100-year history of community colleges. “With the demographic shift changing the face of America, this is a real opportunity to address which people need to be at the table,” said McClure.
The planning phase of Leading Forward will focus on the assessment of existing leadership development programs to identify key skill sets, current best practices, and areas where expanded professional development options should be implemented. The project will also explore the notion of the “leadership portfolio” as a way to document skills gained through experiential learning and via a variety of career development opportunities.
The Kellogg-funded program is the latest and most ambitious aspect of a leadership development continuum that AACC has developed over the last three years, beginning with a 2001 Leadership Summit. Since the summit, AACC has polled educators nationally to identify characteristics of and skills needed by future leaders. This “leader index” puts greater emphasis Kellogg Foundation funds leadership on outwardly focused leaders, skilled at working with business and industry, developing new revenue streams, and advocating with local, state and national policy-makers.
In addition, AACC has expanded research on institutional leadership, including an online inventory of community college leadership development programs at both two- and four-year institutions. This summer, the association will launch a pilot Future Leaders Institute, an intensive workshop targeted to individuals in the leadership “pipeline” at community colleges. The Institute will ultimately be replicated at regional sites around the country.
AACC President George R. Boggs says AACC’s overarching goal is to act as “catalyst and convener” to bring together the disparate "stakeholders" involved in community college leadership development. “We want to engage university leadership programs, affiliated councils and organizations, and institutions who now offer 'grow your own’ leadership programs,” Boggs said. “The vitality of our colleges and the success of our students rests in large measure on future leaders who have the right skills, a strong support network, and a firm commitment to the community college mission.”
That mission is unique, McClure notes, and provides the most accessible and affordable pathway to college for millions of students. “Community colleges offer the most flexible, most vibrant opportunities. We’re looking forward to the work ahead,” McClure said.
The American Association of Community Colleges represents the nation’s 1,171 community, junior, and technical colleges and their more than 10 million students. The colleges comprise the largest sector of U.S. higher education, enrolling almost half of all U.S. undergraduates.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 “to help people help themselves through the practical application of knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and that of future generations.” Its programming activities center around the common vision of a world in which each person has a sense of worth; accepts responsibility for self, family, community, and societal well-being; and has the capacity to be productive, and to help create nurturing families, responsive institutions, and healthy communities.
To achieve the greatest impact, the Foundation targets its grants toward specific areas. These include: health; food systems and rural development; youth and education; and philanthropy and volunteerism. Within these areas, attention is given to exploring learning opportunities in leadership; information and communication technology; capitalizing on diversity; and social and economic community development. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and southern African countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. For further information, please visit the Foundation’s Web site at www.wkkf.org.