Tag Archives: community colleges

Bridging Town and Gown: Looking Beyond Academic Credentials

In today’s competitive marketplace academic credentials are not enough. Recruiting educators, administrators, faculty and staff with a history of community engagement can create a double win for your campus. Members of the campus community who participate in the local community are an asset. They help bridge the gap between “town and gown” and can help attract students, resources, funding, partnership opportunities, and goodwill.

Members of the campus community are ambassadors and dispel misconceptions about a disengaged college or university when they serve on boards, volunteer their time and talent, and help other organizations and institutions meet their goals. They help attract students when they personally invite community members to campus events. New employees meet individuals and families and begin to become part of a community that may be new to them, reducing feelings of isolation.

A healthy campus and community relationship offers personal, professional, and networking opportunities to employees at all levels. A healthy reciprocal relationship also strengthens the institution’s standing in ways that impact fundraising – an all important institutional priority.

Here are 10 things a recruitment officer can do to strengthen community relations.

  1. Partner with the Advancement Department to create How to be an ideal volunteer workshop and handbook. Most advancement departments have extensive experirence engaging and managing volunteers.
  2. Include information on volunteer opportunities in new employee packages.
  3. Highlight volunteers and their service in campus publications.
  4. Meet with members of leading non-profits to learn about how they impact the local community, what their needs are, and how campus employees can help.
  5. Encourage non-profits to actively recruit faculty and staff to volunteer. Facilitate meetings between nonp-profit leaders and select faculty, staff and administrators with specific skills and connections that can make a differernce.
  6. Ask your president or chancellor to create a culture that encourages top administrators and faculty to serve on local boards and provide technical assistance.
  7. Encourage faculty to attend local events and participate in organizations related to their discipline.
  8. Identify campus ambassadors who can help relocating employees connect with individuals and leaders within the community.
  9. Offer incentives, awards, and recognition to campus members who are engaged with the local community.
  10. When recruiting and interviewing ask applicants about their community service experience. Let them know from the beginning that it is valued at your institution.

Community College Trends, Part Two

Last week Robert “Bobby” McDonald, a member of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, talked with us about community college trends. This week he discusses the importance of fundraising by community colleges.

Saad & Shaw – Why do community colleges need to engage in fundraising?

McDonald –In 2008, California’s Community Colleges made history, when they received the largest gift to community colleges. The Bernard Osher Foundation made a commitment of $50 million to the California Community Colleges, which created a new trend in community college philanthropy, helping raise awareness of the need to increase scholarship support to California’s community college students. With an additional $50 million funds, raised by our community colleges and the scholarship endowment, the total could reach $100 million.

The goal of the California Community Colleges Scholarship Endowment is to support student success and opportunity by creating a permanent fund for scholarships, offering long-term relief to the rising costs that keep many students from completing their education.  Our communities need to actively support the fundraising goals of the community colleges in their area to help support a winning opportunity that has a clear total impact on our future.

Saad & Shaw – What are the challenges that impact district chancellors and college presidents as they begin the work of fundraising?

McDonald – Before our financial crisis, there wasn’t a strong emphasis to fundraise. Now there is a need to find good development/foundation consultants, community organizations, grant writers and the like.  The new breed of leaders now must look at entrepreneurial opportunities from the public and private sectors, in the communities, as a regular way of garnering resources.

Saad & Shaw – There must be hundreds of thousands of community college alumni in California alone. How can alumni get involved? What should they do?

McDonald – Hopefully, the directors of the community college foundations have been challenged and engaged to use the Osher gift as impetus to grow their college foundations.  Now more than ever alums need to be asked to give and support. Whether it be a name on a building, a special art or science wing, an athletic field, a nursing facility, whatever is part of the mission and vision of the campus. Just ask!!

Saad & Shaw – Beyond alumni, who should support and invest in community colleges?

McDonald – We are serving 2.9 million students. We are setting, maintaining and enhancing the educational opportunities for everyone in our communities.   Veterans continuing their education, students of fire science, police science, criminal justice, and nursing, just to name a few, are being served by our community colleges.  We serve everyone and anyone that wants to improve their business or their quality of life. Everyone should invest in our community colleges. It is the best investment in our country.

Community College Trends


Community colleges play a vital role in educating people of all ages across our country. Enrollments are increasing as people look to gain new skills in our changing and challenging economy. Those seeking a four year degree are often beginning their educations at their local community college. They know they can receive quality education at a much lower price. At the same time community colleges are facing challenges such as decreased state funding, and the need to provide services and scholarships not covered by funds from state government allocations or federal grants.

We wanted to know more about community college trends and so we reached out to Robert “Bobby” McDonald, a member of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. If you have met Bobby you won’t forget him! He began his education at a community college – Los Angeles Harbor College – and is a strong advocate for community colleges.

Saad & Shaw – What are current and emerging trends within community colleges?


Bobby McDonald – I really believe the most critical trend is understanding that the usual sources of income have dried up.  Funding from federal and state, due to our current financial climate, will force community colleges to seek that innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.  Community colleges will have to revamp and outreach in the community, both public and private, to garner resources. It’s no longer business as usual.  Outside sources of revenue will be needed for program development, athletics and scholarships.  Community colleges will have to build stronger relationships and partnerships while securing stronger relevance, like the four year institutions, especially in the fundraising arena.

Saad & Shaw – What is the profile of California’s community college student?


McDonald – The profile of California community college students is as varied and diverse as the 112 campus system.  The 2.9 million students range from high school students using the community college for additional classes or AP courses; to the returning veteran’s reintegration process with education, career technical support and adjustment; to the laid-off worker or career changing individual who is seeking a necessary skill set change.  The age group is from 17 to 68, more women than men, but very, very multicultural, cross-cultural and diversified, similar to the make up of our communities.

Saad & Shaw – What do you envision as the future role of community colleges?


McDonald: The mission of the California Community College’s Board of Governor’s is “Empowering Community Colleges through Leadership, Advocacy and Support.”  During these difficult financial times, the Board will play a significant role for the future, especially maintaining the precepts and enhancing the mission. We are forced to review, revise and re-evaluate the way we go to market.  Key issues such as basic skills, transfer, career technical training, counseling, and graduating are paramount.  As we look into the upcoming “Green Era,” major corporations are already investing in the community colleges to begin to train and educate students for these jobs. We will always be there for that second chance, for that new wave of technology and more importantly, for that student or employer that needs that special training or help with training.

$6.3 million raised for community college

lanecommunitycollegeFundraising by community colleges is increasing. Lane Community College just publicly launched its first capital campaign with an announcement of $6.3 million in gifts. Six donors joined together to launch the campaign with gifts ranging from $500,000 to $1,875,000. Learn more at The Register Guard.