This Editor's Page begins, and I hope will end, on a high note. I am currently at 31,000 feet being carried from Atlanta to Portland, Oregon for the AACC convention. As I peck away on my Apple Notebook, announcements in English, Japanese, and Korean bombard the ear. My flight companions are a mixture of those three nationalities plus, I am sure, many others. As I listen, my thoughts go back 26 years to when I headed East to serve with the Peace Corps in Korea; today my Korean flight companions represent not a third world nation but a modern technologically sophisticated economic partner. My Japanese companions represent our major economic competitor, not the struggling state I knew in 1967. And I write this on a laptop computer with more power than any existing computer in 1967. How the world has changed in my brief lifetime. How our institutions, politics, and alliances have changed in that period. And how little you and I have changed. Except for the new ideas and skills we have learned, we are basically the same. But it is that learning of new ideas and skills "that has made all the difference." And that brings us to this issue of the Catalyst.
Thematically this issue is centered on the acquisition of new ideas and skills. David Pierce leads off with a conceptual piece in which he explores the "special place" the community college ought have in its community. We are fortunate to have this piece. I believe it is the clearest articulation to date of David's vision for the community college; it can assist us in seeing how continuing education and community service might fit in the institution of the 1990s and beyond. David builds off Building Communities and underscores the need for community colleges to make a difference. The balance of this issue represents attempts to make that call real and immediate in practice. Perhaps the greatest difference an educational institution can make for an individual is to assist in providing the gift of literacy. Friere insists literacy is the beginning of self-awareness, self-respect, and the creative and political life. In these ways it represents the beginning of community. I agree and ask what greater gift could we bring an adult illiterate than literacy or a community than a participating citizen.
The world of practice is represented by the balance of our authors. Hilbert and Tollefson describe the characteristics of successful and unsuccessful workplace literacy programs. David Wells returns to these pages to ask "What's it all about" and in his down country talk discusses how raising cows and keeping secrets is related to literacy and to your and my roles in our communities. David Deckelbaum begins his partnership with us by reviewing the recent ERIC holdings related to workplace literacy. The Exchange section this issue consists of four related articles. Giovannini and Hendrick describe a technology assisted workplace literacy program; Habel moves beyond workplace literacy to describe a college-industry linkage for skill upgrading. Breeding describes a College for Kids program that represents a type of community involvement that is becoming more and more common. Erwin concludes the section with a description of a program on community based internships that again addresses the link between the college and the community.
As a capstone piece for this issue focusing on the workplace, Beckman and Doucette offer suggestions for policy and practice related to training and retraining the workforce. We offer our thanks for permission to reprint this information abstract.
In the best editorial tradition, we end where we began. David Pierce took his leadership pulpit to describe a vision of a "special place" the college ought hold in the community. You, our authors and readers, provided specific examples of that involvement at the practitioners' level. For this opportunity to present both theory and praxis, I am grateful. I hope this issue provides the high I experienced when I began, and ended, this page at 31,000 feet
Darrel A. Clowes