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3 Resources to Reclaim the American Dream

By Corey Murray

Free tools provide community college leaders with resources for driving change on campus.

When the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) unveiled this site to its members at its 94th Annual Convention in Washington, D.C., back in April, its goal was simple: create a destination where community college leaders could return to share ideas, learn about promising practices and draw inspiration as they continued the hard work of driving 21st-century reforms on their campuses.

Our editors have sought to accomplish this by rounding up opinions and news stories from community colleges across the country and by providing a forum for community college administrators, industry partners and other stakeholders to discuss the “next big things” in higher education.

But the opinions and news featured on the homepage of this site are far from the only tools available to community college leaders and others as part of their experience here. The 21st-Century Center also features a vast Resources section (see the tab on the homepage just above this story) within which administrators can find links to relevant research, videos and other information designed to help colleges achieve the seven recommendations issued by AACC’s 21st-Century Initiative.

Looking for a few tools to help your college better state its case for continued investment and reform? Below are three resources worth checking out. Be sure to return often for changes and new information. And feel free to take a look around at what’s here now. We’re happy to have you.

Communicate your mission

When community college leaders talk about change, one of the toughest challenges outside of creating a strategy to move the needle on student success is effectively communicating that plan — and the reasons for it — with stakeholders, both inside and outside of the organization.

AACC’s 21st Century Toolkit attempts to make that job easier. It offers resources for reaching out to and communicating with stakeholders. Read core messaging authored by the members of AACC’s 21st Century Initiative and download a set of talking points to use during meetings with board members, legislators and other supporters. The toolkit also provides resources for external messaging, including sample press releases, blog posts and letters to the editor and sample social media posts for Twitter and Facebook to help get the message out.

Do it with data

Anecdotes are effective — who doesn’t like to put a face with a story? But administrators say its numbers that often drive the case home. That’s why the resources section of our site includes a downloadable library of the latest AACC Data Points. Find information on a range of important topics, from the influence of remedial education on community college education to falling high school graduation rates to projected earnings by level of educational attainment. All told, the site features more than a dozen individually downloadable reports and resources to help administrators make the case for reform. And we’re adding new materials all the time.

Watch and learn

One of the biggest advantages to holding an annual convention is that you have an opportunity to bring a lot of really smart people together in one place. But what happens once that convention is over and people head home to test all the bold ideas and strategies they discussed with colleagues during the event on campus? Sometimes it helps to have resources to refer back to. Our video library provides a one-stop-shop for community college leaders to hear from the members of AACC’s nine Implementation Teams about promising practices for driving change in key areas, from student completion to college readiness to leadership to institutional roles and functions and much more.

Need a little inspiration to jumpstart your creative thinking? This video offers just a few reasons for change from the initial release of our Reclaiming the American Dream report.

We hope you find these resources helpful. Be sure to check back here for updates and new information as it becomes available on the Center. 

Corey Murray

is editor of the 21st-Century Center.

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