With this issue the Council begins its 23rd year of publication about the role of continuing education and community services in the community college. That is a singular occurrence and one in which we should all take pride. Of equal importance, this issue like so many before it testifies to the continuing vitality of our field. Unlike a flower or other plant life that manifests its growth by gradually developing into a predetermined form, our field grows but is constantly creating and recreating itself. There is no predetermined form; there is no final, essential form to achieve. Rather, we experience a constant process of development with some dead ends, some fruitful stages, and some rediscoveries of older positive aspects. This process of change and development is what makes our field fascinating--if frustrating. This process is what makes editing the Catalyst fascinating--if frustrating. New ideas, old ideas in new forms; new issues and old issues in new forms all come in to us. It often requires reflection to realize these are the ruminations of a constantly renewing field--of a field that must re-create itself to accommodate the changes in its environments.
This issue of the Catalyst represents that process of rumination, renewal, and re-creation rather well. (I pause now to admire the alliteration and to marvel at the nuances created by the word "re-creation," which becomes "recreation" when you remove the hyphen.) The lead article by Spaid and Parsons explores a new and emerging field- -the Tech Prep initiative in the community college but here applied to returning adult workers (a new concept getting much attention from the new Clinton administration). It is also an old notion with strong roots in early vocational education--especially early continuing education for adults. Maiuri revisits the role of economic development in the community college and reasserts its importance. This is an old issue but it needs revisiting now; this article does that by presenting one side of the issue. Edwards revisits the question of satisfying our clients but here couches the issue in contemporary terms. With our emphasis (I would say over-emphasis) on accountability, how do we quantify student or client satisfaction? He describes an approach. Miller uses the Catalyst as a "bully pulpit" to revisit the relationship between the continuing educator and the community. He uses his words but I hear echoes of Harlacher and other stalwarts of the profession behind those words. In each period we must rediscover or restate the values of our field. Miller does it here.
The Opinion Piece this issue is by David Braman. He basically asks what is the role of continuing education and community services in the community college. Sound like an old question? It is. Read like a new answer? It is. Part of the process, it seems to me. David Wells brings insight and humor to our pages. Do you know what a "util" is? Do you know why it's important? Read his piece and you will and you'll learn about a useful new book as well. What an opportunity!
ERIC's contribution this time is on serving older adults. Interesting new (but really old) things are happening and Karin Petersen Hsiao shares them with us. This also represents Karin's first contribution as the ERIC representative to us. We welcome her to these pages. We also welcome Sarah Keatley who contributes an Exchange piece on older adult programming at Longwood College. Sarah is a continuing educator with strong ties to this journal; she is the sister of our managing editor, Marjorie Keatley. This issue concludes with the Index for the last two issues in 1991 and all of 1992. This brings us up to date on our indexing project and represents a signal accomplishment to the editorial staff. Hopefully someone else cares.
So we come full circle. We have completed some of our projects and others continue; authors have introduced some new ideas and continued to explore old ones. The field, the journal, and we all grow and change but continue. We wish you well and offer another issue as a marker along the way.
Darrel A. Clowes