MCC Daily Tribune

President's Wednesday Message

This week, The Chronicle of Higher Education released its 2019 Trends Report. The Chronicle's Editors set up this year's report by writing: "No one in higher education can afford to be complacent. Cultural, demographic, and economic forces are changing the world around and on campuses, challenging long-held beliefs and upending traditions. To remain effective, vital, and true to the academy's mission, college leaders must strive to improve -- even as debate rages about exactly what improvement looks like." They identify five major trends, four of which have direct impact on all sectors of higher ed including community colleges:

  • A New Assault on the University: A look at how legislators on both sides of the aisle, the public, and industry are increasingly questioning all aspects of higher education from freedom of speech to curricular relevance to cost of instruction.
  • The End of the Remedial Course: A look at how demographic shifts coupled with concerns about the effectiveness of stand-alone remediation have led systems and some whole states to move away from traditional developmental education.
  • The Rise of New Mega University: A look at the rise in online higher education institutions that have their roots in traditional, nonprofit private and public universities with growth driven almost entirely by non-traditional models that serve adult learners.
  • The New In-Loco Parentis: A look at shifting parental and public expectations about the legal and professional obligations of colleges, including their responsibility for comprehensive health and mental health services, time to degree and other student outcomes, personal safety and security, and more.

The Editors also point to more trends on the horizon: the increasing use of open educational resources, a growing number of college mergers as enrollment and other financial challenges impact higher ed, and ongoing challenges related to Title IX.

Reading the Chronicle's overview makes it plain that the changes we see impacting MCC are part of a larger story of change that is impacting all of higher education. But, importantly, these trends are not news to us: we have seen them coming and have been preparing.

MCC has been clear in communicating our value to the public, including our elected officials, and in partnering with industry. Our faculty have embraced co-requisites and focused on redesigning developmental education to improve student learning and outcomes. MCC's online education leads SUNY's community colleges, and over the past year, we have begun significant new programs and initiatives to serve adult learners--work that will continue to intensify in importance and impact. And, our College has become a state leader in guided pathways and other interventions designed to promote student success. In addition, MCC continues to explore how to expand non-academic services that help students persist to degree.

To be sure, as these waves of change in higher education keep coming, we will have more to do to innovate and improve, to respond and advance, to assure that--whatever comes next--our students remain first. And we will do it together.

Please feel free to leave your comments on the blog.

Kress, Anne
Office of the President