With the ascendancy of Dr. Jill Biden to America’s First Lady, the policy spotlight is turning once again to community colleges.
I’ve written before why most community colleges are structurally unable to deliver reliably on the three missions with which they are tasked—academic transfer, career preparedness and training, and community enrichment—and why simply showering them with resources to bolster college transfer or employment-aligned upskilling is unlikely to work.
But this raises the question: What should a community college do to improve and solve its inherent mission conflicts? Some community colleges do manage to get much better results than others, so there is hope.
Here are three steps community colleges can take, none of which are simple to implement.