Are community colleges a public good? Do we benefit the common weal? If your answer is “yes” (as mine is), then here is another question for you. What can we do – what are we doing – to tell the story of the public benefits of our community college?
Inside Higher Ed and others recently reported on some interesting survey results. Community colleges are a public good, and the article makes the point – our work is not just about ROI (return on investment) for the individual, it’s also about the investment in our civic, cultural, social, and economic systems. In other words, it’s about the work that we do that becomes an investment in the common weal. Teachers College at Columbia University conducted the survey and presents the results – overall, good results, but significant differences across gender, race/ethnicity, age, political persuasion, and other categories. It appears as if we need to be more intentional about telling our story.
To adapt some language from Thomas Jefferson, community colleges are guardians of “the public prosperity”. Our open doors, our community focus, our belief in second chances, our broad scope of programs – all serve to support “the diffusion of light and education” that is at the heart of the community college mission. I will always believe that the good work of faculty and staff at Austin Community College deserves “the reward of esteem, respect, and gratitude.”
My respect and esteem for the adjunct and full-time faculty at ACC is immense. Please help me tell our story in every way that we can. And thank you for your work in ensuring that what we do supports the common good.