DETROIT – A powerful voice has been added to an influential group tasked with determining the best ways to dramatically boost the number of citizens with post-secondary degrees with the appointment of Wayne County Community College District’s Chancellor Dr. Curtis Ivery to the 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges.
The Commission, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kresge Foundation, aims to set forth a bold new vision for the nation’s community colleges – one that will safeguard the fundamental mission of American community colleges while ensuring that diverse and often under served students attain a high-quality college education. The Commission’s final report promises to shape the efforts of nearly 1,200 institutions serving more than 6 million credit students, or nearly half of all undergraduates nationwide.
“I’m honored to participate on a Commission that will play a critical role in shaping our front-line education institutions,” Dr. Ivery said. “We are tasked with not only providing our nation with the innovative, highly-skilled workforce that we will need to thrive in the new century, but to accelerate what we have done in the past – provide all who come through our doors with the knowledge and passion they need to influence change in their communities and lives.
“I’m particularly proud to bring the many voices and insights gleaned from those in our region to the esteemed group,” he said. “Detroit and its surrounding communities are known for their ingenuity, courage and relentless focus on innovation. These are precisely the characteristics that will fuel our nation’s success as we move forward.
“We, as a region, have much to contribute to the Commission,” he said.
Community colleges are the front-line education providers and vital bridges to other post-secondary institutions. To maintain global competitiveness, ensure equity and preserve the vitality of the nation, community colleges and their partners in education, policy, business and philanthropic arenas have been leading the charge to ensure that current and future generations are prepared to thrive in knowledge-based and other emerging industries.
Wayne County Community College District is the largest urban community college in Michigan, serving 32 cities and townships and spanning more than 500 square miles. Under Ivery’s leadership, the District has grown from about 7,000 students to more than 71,000, and been recognized for its leadership in innovative programs and community transparency.
The ultimate goals of the Commission’s work will be to develop and execute ways to dramatically increase the number of citizens with post-secondary degrees – including historically underrepresented groups – but also to provide a vision for what community colleges of the future must look like and accomplish if they are to achieve that goal.
The Commission’s final report is also expected to provide key ways that the institutions can achieve equity in outcomes across diverse student groups, and demonstrate public accountability for improving institutional performance and student success.
“We are looking for quantum leaps in improvement in our work,” Ivery said, “not to maintain the status quo. “I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work,” he said.
The Commission will issue its final report during the opening session of the 2012 American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) national convention in Orlando. Dr. Ivery is an active AACC Board of Director and currently chairs the Commission on Economic & Workforce Development.