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Teaming up to address the leadership crisis

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Image: iStockphoto​​

​With nearly 75 percent of community college presidents expected to retire by decade’s end, the issue of leadership development is of prime concern for many organizations that represent the work of two-year colleges.

On Thursday, six leading community college associations and organizations agreed to work more closely to address the impending leadership exodus. They include the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), Achieving the Dream, Inc., the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, the League for Innovation in the Community College and Student Success Initiatives at the University of Texas at Austin​.

Grooming the next generation of leaders​

A 2012 AACC report ​noted that three-fourths of current presidents surveyed plan to retire within the next 10 years. In the last 17 months alone, nearly 200 college CEOs have transitioned out of the presidency. The partnering groups noted that recruitment, preparation and selection of leaders with the skills required to improve community college student success is critical to the sector.

A support group

The six organizations have pledged to share program information and to support each other as they accelerate their efforts to fill the leadership pipeline. The goal is to leverage their strengths and resources to better align recruiting, selection and development practices in ways that will increase student success.

AACC President Walter Bumphus and ACCT President J. Noah Brown are excited about the collaboration.

“The pool of potential applicants to fill those CEO positions who possess the requisite skills to ‘hit the ground leading’ is shrinking,” Bumphus said.

AACC Leadership Suite​

To help develop that well-trained pipeline, AACC has revamped its leadership programs and will launch new leadership development and training initiatives in the coming year, he said. The coalition of the six organizations will help strengthen national efforts to address the issue.

Working together

Brown added that the leadership for the next century could be the most critical challenge for community colleges. Boards have a real stake in the future of presidential leadership if they are to meet the needs of communities and of the nation in the coming decade, he said.

“The partnership between boards and presidents enables our colleges to equip students for success, while also contributing to workforce and economic development,” Brown said.

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