The Organizational Efficiency of Multiple Missions for Community Colleges

Bailey, Thomas R.; Morest, Vanessa Smith

Community colleges are complex institutions serving a multitude of constituencies with dozens of programs and activities. Comprehensiveness has flourished since the 1970s, as the colleges steadily adopted more missions, and many community college advocates argue that the constant expansion of activities is a natural outcome of the community-based function of the colleges. But during the past two decades, academics and researchers have almost universally condemned the comprehensive model. Even some community college insiders have suggested that these institutions cannot accomplish their goals by trying to be all things to all people. Despite this backdrop of criticism, the accretion of activities continues unabated. The list of community college missions now goes well beyond the core degree-granting programs. Activities now include developmental education, adult basic education, English as a second language, education and training for welfare recipients and others facing barriers to employment, customized training for specific companies, preparation of students for industry certification exams, noncredit instruction in a bewildering plethora of areas (including purely avocational interests), small business development, and even economic forecasting.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Community College Research Center
Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University
CCRC Brief, 19
Published Here
March 8, 2013