I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Ryan Streeter, director of domestic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Our wide-ranging discussion on the issues facing the community college sector is available as part of AEI’s Viewpoint series.
Inside Higher Ed published an interview looking back at my tenure at City Colleges. As with my book, the Q&A doesn’t shy away from the controversy that leaders like me often face when challenging long-established systems and structures. But to me, controversy can overshadow an important fact — that things simply have to change, and they have to change more quickly, to meet the needs of our students and our communities. As I said in the Q&A:
My biggest concern with the whole community college movement is not that people are not doing good things. People are doing good things and a lot of states are making progress, but my concern is that we’re not moving quickly enough … We see so much disruption taking place in so many industries, and higher education is not exempt. Somehow our traditional institutions have some level of complacency where there is a belief that this disruption won’t impact them as much, but I can tell you employers are not going to wait for institutions to get it right. There are people who every day are trying to figure out how to grab their piece of the American dream. They come to these institutions to figure out how to make that happen. We have to move out of our comfort zone and stop fighting things that challenge the status quo for our sake and understand we’re working on behalf of others.