AACC Competencies for Community College Leaders, Third Edition
The third edition of the Competencies is a fully comprehensive document to guide the development of emerging leaders and to assist colleges with the selection of employees dedicated to the community college mission, vision, and values. There are 11 focus areas in the document. Focus areas are specific categories identified as having significance to the internal and external workings of the community college. Competencies are listed under each focus area along with illustrations as to what each competency means to jobs within each specific employment-level grouping.
The competencies were revised with certain considerations. The first is that student access and success is the North Star for community colleges. Since 2011, community colleges have been on a mission to increase the completion rates of students earning certificates and associate degrees by 50% by 2020, while preserving access, enhancing quality, and eradicating attainment gaps associated with income, race, ethnicity, and gender. The third edition of the Competencies reflects the skills necessary to be a leader advancing a student success agenda or a member of a team actively engaged in implementing student success initiatives and activities. Second, the competencies focus on institutional transformation. Like other institutions, the community college has evolved over time and it must continue to do so. Two-year colleges continue to have an evolving mission with fewer resources, which requires leaders to think beyond traditional ways of delivering programs and services. This is coupled with the changing demographics of the students who community colleges serve. In order to maintain relevance, 2-year colleges must redesign educational experiences and operations to meet the needs of students in less traditional ways while still ensuring efficiency and effectiveness. This component was a critical factor in the revision as the goal is to prepare leaders capable of spearheading change at all levels within the institution. And last, the document serves as a guideline for career progression and/or to improve in current position. The purpose of this revision is to provide useful information on the proficiency required to improve within one’s current position, as well as to show a progression of how the competency is applied as one ascends into roles with more and broader responsibilities.
This document is comprehensive and it should be viewed as being aspirational. No one has entered into a job market having fully mastered every competency outlined in this publication. And while no one is born with an innate endowment of experience in every competency, at one time or another experience with or knowledge of each competency is needed. Community colleges are complex operations, and working within and leading them requires a complex set of skills. The AACC Competencies for Community College Leaders was revised to give individuals access to the abilities that institutions seek when hiring, as well as those things one must understand to keep the job over the long term.