– State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher is one of 36
individuals in the country today appointed to a new national commission tasked with reshaping the
future of community colleges.
The commission was appointed by the American Association of
Community Colleges (AACC) and is
comprised of individuals who represent a broad array of constituencies and
expertise from education, business, policy, and communications. Over the next
10 months, the group will work to examine the opportunities and challenges
confronting the nation's largest and fastest growing higher education sector.
Chancellor Zimpher said, “SUNY and its 30 community colleges that
serve over a quarter of a million students are an essential higher
education resource to New York. Collectively, they are critical to the economy
of our state and the nation. The time is right for the convening of this
commission, and I am honored to serve as a member.”
Community colleges currently enroll close to half of all U.S.
undergraduates, according to AACC. The ratio is even greater at SUNY,
where more than half (246,000) of the system’s 468,000 students are enrolled at
30 community colleges.
Community college enrollments
have surged by double digits over the last two to three years, reflecting a
deep and lingering U.S. recession and persistently high unemployment rate that
has caused families to seek lower cost college alternatives and workers to
throng to the classroom for new skills or careers.
This new commission marks the
third such effort to realign the community college mission to reflect national
needs and changing times. The Truman Commission (1947) challenged higher
education to provide universal access based on its belief that then-junior
colleges could broaden and further democratize their mission by becoming community
colleges. Four decades later, the AACC Futures Commission (1988) set forward a
reform agenda designed to strengthen the comprehensive mission the Truman
Commission originally proposed.
About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive
university system in the United States, educating more than 467,000 students in
more than 7,500 degree and certificate programs on 64 campuses with nearly 3
million alumni around the globe. To learn more about how SUNY creates
opportunity, visit www.suny.edu.