Community Colleges for Democracy: Aligning Civic and Community Engagement with Institutional Priorities

April 21, 2022

This publication from Campus Compact presents a set of contemporary case studies examining how civic engagement and learning at community colleges can be leveraged to advance institutional effectiveness, college completion, and student success. Edited by Verdis L. Robinson and Clayton A. Hurd, this book is available from Campus Compact as a download or in hard copy.

Community colleges, as local institutions, are an essential part of the American landscape of higher education, playing key roles to democratize it and to provide more people access to upward mobility. At the same time, community colleges are especially well positioned to provide benefits for the larger communities in which they are located in ways that actively engage students and deepen their educational experiences. Yet with decreasing budgets and in some cases decreasing enrollments, we are seeing institutional priorities being scaled back to only those that would appear most obvious in their ability to advance institutional effectiveness and student success. In this context, support for civic engagement programs has languished and, in some instances, disappeared altogether.

This book provides innovative strategies that community colleges have used to extend their efforts to institutionalize civic learning and democratic engagement and the impact of those efforts. Collectively, the case studies suggest that to ensure civic engagement and democratic learning for all community college students, community college leaders should intentionally align and infuse civic engagement and democratic learning with their institutional priorities, making their connections apparent and measurable.

Community Colleges for Democracy offers case studies from across the country to guide local implementation. These examples provides evidence that a variety of effective strategies can be used to educate community college students for democracy while advancing student and institutional success.

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