Recommendation 5 – Collaborative Support

Invest in collaborative support structures

Invest in support structures to serve multiple community colleges through collaboration among institutions and with partners in philanthropy, government, and the private sector.

To increase institutional efficiency and strengthen service to students, groups of community colleges should pool resources and develop shared systems for managing student data, institutional research, professional development, and other efforts that support student learning.

How Can Colleges Do This Work?

Advice to colleges focuses on three actions:

  • Develop models for collaborative support structures and brokered/coordinated services. Colleges can build alliances with other community colleges, universities, and community-based or national nonprofit organizations. The resulting partnerships can define shared goals, pool resources, and align operations and procedures.
  • Create statewide and border-crossing data systems. These interactive systems ideally track students from pre-K through the K–12 system, community colleges, baccalaureate and graduate education, and into the workforce. They give colleges easy-to-access student data and tools to monitor student progress, institutional performance, and changes in community and labor force needs.
  • Create consortia to optimize the capacities of collaborating institutions. Colleges—particularly small and rural institutions—can function with higher quality and lower cost through joint development of key resources, such as learning analytics technologies, institutional research operations, professional development programs, and purchasing cooperatives.

In addition, a national or regional network could develop and use a universal enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, which would offer cost savings, operational efficiencies, and the power of big data for analytics to the institutions and convenience and improved services for students.