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Community Colleges

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What’s the Idea?
CURRENTS Article Wallace State Community College's Little Black Dress Charity Bash is an annual ladies-only event for dressing up, catching up, dining, and networking.

What’s the Idea?
CURRENTS Article Community colleges can promote their campuses without a big advertising budget by recruiting and educating community ambassadors. Each fall, Craven Community College Foundation in North Carolina invites 15 to 20 community members to join its VIP Ambassador Program. During four half-day sessions between September and December, the ambassadors tour Craven's two campuses and speak with students, faculty, and administrators about the college's goals, funding, and programs. Ambassadors promote Craven in their respective circles, some even hosting College 101 events.

Talking Points: Decision Dilemmas
CURRENTS Article To bump up graduation and retention rates, community colleges need to develop more structured and coherent programs and services that lead to students' timely graduation and career aspirations. Some leading community colleges are now employing a "guided pathways" approach that focuses on the four main areas of the student experience, from enrollment to graduation.

An Honorable Gesture
CURRENTS Article Providing microscholarships increased membership in Phi Theta Kappa at Klamath Community College.

Stewardship and the Second Gift
CURRENTS Article Barbara Samper would drive through Salinas Valley and see migrant workers in the field and think, "How can I help their children obtain a college education?"

Talking Points: State of Attainment
CURRENTS Article Federal policies provide crucial support to students working to earn a degree, but states play the primary role in determining the educational attainment of their population. The opportunity to enroll in and complete college varies from state to state, as well as within states. Here are three key ways states can help more students obtain higher levels of education.

What’s the Idea?
CURRENTS Article Alumni relations staff partnered with an English 101 class to interview graduates about their time at Elgin Community College, what the institution means to them, and their lives after graduation.

Bonding with Voters
CURRENTS Article When community colleges need resources, they must seek funding through bond initiatives or property tax hikes. A successful campaign engages the community and uses a number strategies to gain voters' support.

If You Build It, Alumni Will Engage
CURRENTS Article Many community college students complete the requirements for a degree or certificate but then transfer to a four-year college or university and don’t apply for the credential. So how should these institutions define and count their alumni? How can alumni relations leaders reach out to campus partners to gain access to alumni information? Read this article to learn the answers.

Odds and Ends: Community’s Center
CURRENTS Article Danny Pudi, cast member of the NBC comedy "Community" and an alumnus of Marquette University in Wisconsin, waxes philosophical about whether the show will return for a fifth season, talks about his college study habits (or lack thereof), describes what a reunion of the "Community" study group at the fictional Greendale Community College might look like, and tells us about the best job he ever had: being a Marquette University admissions tour guide.

Outlook: A New View on Fundraising
CURRENTS Article With public funding for community colleges dwindling, the leaders of these two-year institutions will be increasingly focused on raising philanthropic support, necessitating a change in their traditional campus roles.

Smaller Is Better
CURRENTS Article Bronx Community College in New York is piloting alumni programs that organize graduates by small, tight groups with specific interests and needs.

Mind the Gap
CURRENTS Article If good communication is the key to a successful relationship, it might be time for chief fundraisers and their institutional CEOs to consider couples counseling.

Cultivating Models of Success
CURRENTS Article Community colleges throughout the country are beginning to engage alumni as donors and advocates who can testify to the value of a community college education.

Scaling New Heights
CURRENTS Article Community colleges are seeking and raising previously unheard-of sums through major campaigns. Driven by the need to fill budget gaps caused by reduced public funding, these colleges also have strong leaders championing their fundraising cause and newfound confidence that they are worthy of investment.

Talking Points: A Measured Response
CURRENTS Article For years, U.S. community college leaders have argued that graduation rates are not a good barometer for measuring community college success. Two efforts are underway to address questions about community college performance with new yardsticks that provide a more accurate assessment.

Odds and Ends: Community Opportunity
CURRENTS Article In this interview, CURRENTS talks with Kweisi Mfume about the impact community college had on his life. He also talks about rising tuition costs and the role of the government.

Connecting with Commuters
CURRENTS Article With decreased government funding for higher education the world over, many public two- and four-year commuter institutions are paying more attention to fundraising, which means reconnecting with alumni and building relationships. Since commuter schools are not likely to have much success with traditional alumni programming such as homecomings, class reunions, and tailgate parties, these institutions are finding other ways to engage former students and foster a sense of community.

Talking Points: An Overlooked Resource
CURRENTS Article Many of today's community college students are among the best students in America and have the potential to thrive at elite four-year colleges and universities. However, too few of them have the opportunity to transfer. This article discusses the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation's Community College Transfer Initiative, which makes grants to highly selective four-year institutions that agree to increase admissions of, establish programs for, and provide financial aid to low- to moderate-income community college students.

Odds and Ends: Through the Gates
CURRENTS Article In this interview with CURRENTS, Hilary Pennington of the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation offers advice for institutions seeking funding and discusses the Gates Foundation's particular interest in community colleges.

Talking Points: Funding Efficiency
CURRENTS Article The U.S. Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act puts the federal government in charge of student loans, and uses the resultant savings for a variety of priority higher education programs, including increased Pell Grant allotments and dedicated funding to community colleges and minority-serving institutions.

Suddenly in the Spotlight
CURRENTS Article Community college enrollments in the United States are soaring. At the same time, however, states are slashing budgets, and more students applying to community colleges today qualify for financial aid. With less money to educate more students, community colleges are turning to more strategic fundraising to fulfill their missions and meet expectations.

Advance Work: Midnight Madness
CURRENTS Article Community colleges are getting creative with class schedules to battle enlarging class sizes.

Talking Points: Standards that Fit
CURRENTS Article Traditional outcome measures, particularly those collected at the federal level, inadequately capture the breadth and varied missions of community colleges. Community college leaders are working on developing new metrics by which to measure their institutions.

Talking Points: Plans for Parity
CURRENTS Article The time is right for a more diverse community college leadership corps.

Matter of Scale
CURRENTS Article Community colleges are poised to communicate the true value they provide to students and higher education in America.

Advance Work: All for One
CURRENTS Article The Foundation for California Community Colleges and the Network of California Community College Foundations have teamed up to produce a statewide community college alumni magazine and companion Web site.

Advance Work: A Community Evolves
CURRENTS Article A recent report found that during their time in community college, many students raise their education goals.

Advance Work: Think Locally, Educate Globally
CURRENTS Article Students at Blue Ridge Community College had the opportunity to help a local community in Haiti.

Advance Work: Bugged About Recruiting
CURRENTS Article A welding rodeo is not your common campus event, but it is the perfect recruitment and community building tool for one technical college in Washington.

Talking Points: Change Is Good
CURRENTS Article This column deals with the complexities of the credit transfer process throughout higher education.

Springboard for Life
CURRENTS Article This article focuses on public perceptions--and misperceptions--of community colleges and explores how these institutions fit into the overall landscape of higher education in the United States. It also looks at what community colleges are doing to combat some negative images that persist about them.

Big Pond, Small Fish
CURRENTS Article Large foundations are casting about for community colleges so their gifts will have a bigger impact. A parallel trend is two-year institutions creating their own educational foundations. The combination means greater funds for education improvement, research, and more.

The Advancement Myths of Community Colleges
CURRENTS Article This article shows how community college advancement is busting the myths about poor fundraising results, lack of alumni loyalty, and negative public perceptions. The reality is that development at two-year institutions is becoming more sophisticated and successful, alumni do stay engaged with their two-year alma maters, and the community college brand is coming into its own.

A Road to Be Taken
CURRENTS Article Michael Wall, director of alumni relations at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, discusses how alumni relations at communities colleges is not only possible but critical.

Career Path: The Perfect Fit
CURRENTS Article Sometimes a person outside of the field can make the best leader. That's what happened when a marketing professional became the head of the foundation of a large community college system.

Advance Work: Financial Aid Simplified
CURRENTS Article Pima Community College offers gift certificates to use for tuition or fees. They aren't the flashiest gifts to give, but they make sense.

Holding the Line
CURRENTS Article It's the best and worst of times for U.S. community college leaders. Even as they enjoy attention and recognition from national leaders and enroll greater numbers of students--including students who could have attended four-year colleges--they must contend with state budget cuts, tuition increases that threaten access for low-income students, competitive pressures from nonprofit and for-profit education institutions, and calls for greater accountability.

AdvanceWork: Spinning Straw into Gold
CURRENTS Article A North Carolina community college successfully turned an abandoned textile mill into classroom, office, and community space. Local residents contributed generously to the $1.8-million campaign that made the conversion possible, and by restoring a site with significance to many in the area, the institution built stronger community relations.

Setting Up Shop
CURRENTS Article The author presents stories of how institutions, ranging from two-year colleges to independent schools, have launched or revived alumni associations. Alumni officers can adapt the strategies she describes to match the needs of their own campuses.

AdvanceWork: Fruitful Marketing
CURRENTS Article Last year, Silicon Valley community-college administrators became concerned that the region's four-year institutions were attracting potential community-college students by incorrectly implying that community-college courses take longer to complete and are less relevant to the job market. Administrators needed to get the word out fast that their campuses offer convenient, online, weekend, and evening classes and cutting-edge programs for Internet-related careers. This article describes a collaborative public-service campaign to solve the communication problem.

Small Office: Capitalizing on Volunteers
CURRENTS Article As the first and only advancement professional at three-year-old Nunez Community College, Tucker helped organize a fund-raising campaign that far exceeded its goal of $1.1 million. The idea originated when the chair of the foundation board accompanied Tucker to a conference on fund-raising methods for community colleges. This dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer led the push to establish an endowment and conduct a capital campaign. Tucker recommends these steps for other small institutions: 1) educate the board; 2) solicit the board's full support; 3) hire consultants when needed; 4) recruit volunteers who can open doors; 5) accompany volunteers on solicitation visits; 6) role-play with volunteers before solicitations; 7) reward volunteers for their efforts; and 8) have fun.

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