The significant role played by community colleges in society is not something that can be ignored. They occupy a very unique space that other institutions of learning would not possibly fill as effectively as community colleges. Therefore, all stakeholders including both the federal and state governments should protect the sanctity of community colleges. Anna Clark, in her article “Why we need to keep the ‘Community’ in community colleges,” condemns the continued trend of originally community colleges dropping the word ‘Community’ in their naming. As insignificant as this action may seem, it has great implications for the affected colleges’ mission and the intended purpose of community colleges.
I agree with Anna Clark that we should keep the ‘community’ word in the naming of community colleges. This is because dropping the name will undoubtedly alter the important role that these particular colleges play in society. Community colleges have traditionally been offering two-year or even shorter courses, including technical degrees. These particular courses are just as important and could be more crucial than the lucrative degree courses offered in the universities and other established State colleges. In addition to that, community colleges serve different populations, including working adults and less privileged students. Without a doubt, a change in the name will eventually result in a change of mission and purpose. Sadly, the rate at which community colleges are dropping the word ‘community ‘in their names, with the justification of broadening their scope and reflecting the evolving nature of community colleges, is worrying. According to Clark, “more than 80 schools have cut “community” in the past 30 years, with at least 40 doing so in the last decade.” (Clark 1) This is a threat to the scope of community colleges and therefore any attempt to alter the core intended purpose of the community colleges should not be taken lightly.
Although Anna Clark insists the move of dropping the word ‘community, in the naming of community colleges will alter their intended mission and role, various administration officials claim otherwise. Administration officials maintain that the move is only to accommodate the broadening scope of their campuses. As stated in the article, the majority of the colleges not only offer technical degrees and short-term courses but have evolved towards offering bachelor’s degree programs in various fields. These degree programs are offered by the colleges themselves and through special partnerships with various established institutions. In addition to that, the protagonists of the idea of dropping the ‘Community’ tag in the community colleges argue that the move helps in broadcasting the breadth of what they offer including bachelor’s degrees programs, and realign the college with issues to do with accreditation and funding (Clark 1). The changing of community colleges will eventually change their true purpose and mission and therefore I agree with Clark on not dropping the word ‘Community’ in the naming.
In conclusion, the word ‘Community’ in the naming of community colleges is very key to their mission and the role they play in education and the community in general. I agree with Ann Clark that the word ‘Community’ should be maintained in the naming of community colleges despite the developments that have taken place. Dropping the name will create a shift in the college’s mission and the schools will eventually lose the noble role to the community, as its mandate will shift to the wider population and market needs.
Clark, Ann. “Why we need to keep the ‘Community’ in Community Colleges.” 2015. 1-2.