Community college leadership program to be upgraded


The University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) is developing a new innovative curriculum for its doctoral program in community college policy and administration.

The effort will involve upgrading and redesigning the university’s curriculum to reflect the challenges faced by community college leaders today.

Ascendium Education Group awarded UMGC an $825,000 grant for the project, UMGC Chief Academic Officer Blakely Pomietto announced June 2.

American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) President and CEO Walter Bumphus will serve on a new advisory committee to guide the development of the new curriculum.

Presidents will offer insights

The advisory committee includes thought leaders from community colleges, the workforce, universities and non-profit organizations.

The co-chairs are Richard Rhodes, president of Austin Community College (Texas) and a member of the AACC board of directors, and Karen Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream Inc. and a former member of the AACC board.

Other community college leaders on the UMGC advisory committee include:

Kurtinitis is a former chair of the AACC board of directors, and Cooke and Kress are currently members of the AACC board.

Also on the UMGC advisory committee:

A changing landscape

“By necessity, the role of the community college leader has evolved over time to keep pace with changes in the educational landscape that influence how colleges operate,” said UMGC President Javier Miyares. “At the same time, a growing number of senior leaders are approaching retirement age, creating a wealth of career opportunities for the next generation of community college executives.”

“It is vital that curricula be updated and new content developed, especially in fields that must develop leaders with the comprehensive knowledge base to successfully address today’s critical economic, political and workforce issues,” Miyares said.

According to Pomietto, “Cultivating and supporting leadership development for this critical segment of the higher education landscape will help ensure that America’s community colleges continue to be a fulcrum of access to quality, affordable and innovative educational opportunities.”

Last fall, as part of its curriculum redesign process, doctoral program administrators interviewed two dozen community college and workforce leaders, as well as education policymakers, collecting feedback that will also inform the curricular update.

The commitment of Ascendium and UMGC to support the creation of a next-generation community college leadership program will have lasting and national impact on the future of community colleges and higher education, said Rey Garcia, UMGC professor and director of the Community College Policy and Administration program.

“This effort, done in collaboration with some of the finest thinkers in the community college field, is a model for high-quality program development and lasting partnerships,” Garcia said.

About the Author

Ellie Ashford
is associate editor of Community College Daily.
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