Theory, Practice, and Change
Chapter Two: Historical Legacy of Community Colleges
This chapter provides an overview of the history of the junior-community college with primary focus given to its origins. In doing so, this chapter will include the following: (a) an examina- tion of social and philosophical forces that led to the development of the junior college;(b) an overview of the individuals who promoted its creation, specifically William Rainey Harper; and (c) a historical snapshot of the development of the junior/community college through seven periods. When reading this chapter, consider the following questions: What social and philosophical forces spawned the development of the • junior/community college? What evidence, if any, is there of these forces existing in your institution? How do these forces influence leadership practice? What can leaders learn from the success of William Rainey Harper? • What can be learned from leaders and colleges that were not successful? How can this information be applied in your institution? What historical themes and trends are evident throughout the history of • the community colleges? What implications do these themes and trends have for today’s educational leaders? At the dawn of the twentieth century, a unique set of higher education institu- tions emerged in the United States. From their origins as high school extensions and divisions of universities, they are now referred to as community colleges. The history of the community colleges is as diverse as the institutions themselves. Understanding their history will improve leadership in several ways, it will: (a) enhance leaders’ understanding of the role community colleges have played in responding to...
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