As the community-college sector faces declining state funds, heightened expectations for student success, and deep public scrutiny, many of its approximately 1,200 institutions will also go through changes in leadership. About 500 presidents are expected to retire in the next five years, according to an analysis by the American Association of Community Colleges, which is holding its annual meeting here this week. And nearly 200 colleges have new presidents at the helm since the group's meeting last year.
The challenges for community-college leaders today and for the next generation are profound, three long-serving presidents told a crowd on Monday. National attainment goals and the push to graduate more students put pressure on the sector's traditional commitment to open access, they said, just as colleges' financing structures are falling apart.
That day of reckoning is already here, said Kenneth L. Ender, president of Harper College, outside Chicago. "The current business model that we rest upon," he said, "is not sustainable."
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