The Community College Challenge

Just a “Junior” College?

While Joliet Junior College retains its original moniker, most two-year colleges in my home state of Illinois bill themselves as “community” colleges.  A few, like Harper College, have dropped the word community from their name.  In other states like Wisconsin (Love this state!  We have a second home in Wisconsin and spend nearly every weekend hear.  Oops.  Sorry.  You readers will soon discover that I sometimes get a bit sidetracked.  Back to the matter at hand.) they have “technical” colleges.  In reality, if I say “community college” assume that I am talking about all two-year public colleges.  Community college adjuncts confront some very unique challenges which I will discuss in upcoming postings.  I am not going to steal my own thunder, but I will say one thing for now.  This is something I told my doctoral dissertation committee, but only after I defended my dissertation.  🙂 Anyone can teach at a research university; you have to be good to teach at a community college.

So, now that I have offended all of you who teach at a university, I beg you give me a chance to explain.  In reality, many of the issues that I will address do, for the most part, apply to teaching freshman and sophomore courses at universities.  What tends to be different is …  Wait.  You’re going to have to tune in later to get my views on this one.  Any guesses what I may have to say?

© 2010 Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.


About Dr. Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.

My name is Paul Hummel, and I often introduce myself to others as a recovering engineer. If you are familiar with the Dilbert cartoons, let me simply say that I lived all of that. I started my college saga at Illinois Institute of Technology. Eventually, I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management. I worked for many years in industry, and during this time I did some college adjunct teaching. During my career I held several managerial positions in industry, the last as Director of Technology of a division of a Fortune 500 corporation. Then, in 1996, with minimal planning or forethought, I found myself working as a manufacturing consultant on behalf of Elgin Community College (ECC). My career in higher education began to take shape. I fell in love with ECC and with the mission of community colleges in general. I worked fulltime and occasionally taught college courses for my institution and two other colleges. After a couple years I set a goal to move over to the “credit side of the college” and eventually become a college administrator. In 2006, having earned my doctorate in education, I achieved that goal. I was hired by Waubonsee Community College as Dean for Technology, Mathematics and Physical Sciences. I have had the great fortune of working at two excellent colleges. The insights I want to share are drawn from the various college positions I have held. At ECC, in addition to my consulting role, I coordinated non-credit professional development training programs for three years and spent four years advising students in the TRiO Student Support Services program. That position helped me understand college education from the perspective of today’s college students. After seven years at Waubonsee, I retired April 30, 2013. I now devote my knowledge and skills to upgrading and expanding the websites I created beginning with Adjunct Assistance. I have three other websites: College Teaching Tips, Keys for College Success and Lighthouse for Learning. A lot of work lies ahead for me in terms of upgrading and expanding each of these websites, but I could not be more excited about fulfilling the vision I have for helping college instructors and their students succeed.

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