"Hopefuls for the 2020 presidential election have unveiled their higher education policy agendas, which largely focus on emphasizing debt forgiveness and free tuition as means to make postsecondary education more accessible. The attention on college affordability is indeed merited. It is a top issue for many young Americans saddled with student debt.

But in an era of economic disruption from globalization and technological change, unidimensional investments in the demand side of higher education are insufficient to address the heightening economic inequalities and changing needs of our workforce. The conversation must also include the supply side of postsecondary education: the institutions themselves. And especially, it must include community colleges.

Community colleges are vital in providing the advanced training needed to adjust to new economic realities, especially for workers

On November 6, the Texas Success Center recognized excellence in implementing and scaling guided pathways essential practices with the inaugural Texas Pathways Awards.  The Texas Success Center presented awards to the colleges that have excelled in scaling essential practices in each of the four pillars of guided pathways and to the college that has made the most progress overall.  In collaboration with the Charles A. Dana Center, the Texas Success Center also recognized one college that has excelled in the implementation of mathematics pathways. 

  • Excellence in Implementation & Scaling: Paris Junior College
  • Mapping Pathways to Student End Goals: San Jacinto College
  • Helping Students Choose & Enter a Program Pathway: Amarillo College
  • Keeping Students on Path: Alamo Colleges District
  • Ensuring Students are Learning: McLennan Community College
  • Mathematics Pathways: Kilgore

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 5, 2019 — The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program today named the nation's top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation's signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America's community colleges. Based on strong and improving student outcomes—including in learning, completion rates, employment rates and earnings, and equity—15 percent of community colleges nationwide have been invited to apply for the Aspen Prize.

Data show that over the last two years, student retention, graduation rates, and degree completion have improved at the top tier of 150 Aspen Prize-eligible colleges.

“Community colleges play a vital role in developing talent and enabling social mobility across the country, and it’s critical for them to get better at what they do,” said Josh

"For Dustin Meador, it seemed as though the nagging, complex and contentious issue of college transfers was the Texas legislature’s Moby Dick: The problems were big and obvious, but solutions were elusive.

“It was just the white whale of public higher education policy. Legislators said it was the number one issue they heard about, and they very much wanted to get something done, but it just never could get traction,” says Meador, director of government relations for the Texas Association of Community Colleges.

It’s a situation frequently faced by those working in this arena, where the interests of four-year universities, community colleges, lawmakers, taxpayers and families of college students often diverge, stymieing efforts to resolve a problem they all agree needs to be addressed."

Read more via Community College Daily. 

The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) presented Dr. William Serrata, EPCC President, the 2019 Marie Y. Martin Chief Executive Officer Award.

Serrata was originally announced as a Western region finalist and ACCT presented him the national award during the 50th Annual ACCT Leadership Congress.  The award honors chief executive officers who demonstrate commitment to excellence in advancing the community college movement.

“Dr. Serrata is a true champion of EPCC’s efforts to provide innovative opportunities in higher education,” Board Chair Brian Haggerty said.  “Under his leadership, EPCC has increased completion rates for degrees and certificates, improved transfer rates, accelerated college-readiness and achieved national and regional recognition for the college.”

Read more via the El Paso Herald-Post.