The summer of '93 is ending and autumn beginning. This has been a difficult year for many. The bright promises of summer were blighted by severe floods throughout the midwest; by conflict in the Balkans, Middle East, and Somalia; and by a continuing global economic slowdown. Autumn apparently will provide a backdrop for continued conflict but with hope for Middle East peace, for reports of a deeper national crisis in adult literacy but with the promise a new school year always brings, and for continuing global economic difficulties and the associated constraints on our colleges. In this uncertain and possibly unstable environment, most of us address the concerns of our daily lives with increased awareness of the tenuous nature of our forms of "normality" and increased awareness of the possibility and the need for change in our lives and our institutions. This issue of the Catalyst reflects that backdrop. Our authors this issue explore the role of the community college in a changing environment from a variety of perspectives.
Judith Eaton is a scholar of the community college. She has moved from college president to roles in national policy forums; her writings explore the role of the community college in an uncertain future. She has thoughtful and firm beliefs about the college and its future that warrant our attention. Barbara Roberts maintains a broad perspective but situates it in a practical world. As Governor of Oregon, she sees a strong role for the community college in advancing the economic and educational agendas of that state. Through her illustrations of that role she points toward changing priorities for community colleges of the future. Two current college presidents next explore dimensions of leadership for the colleges caught up in this changing environment. Jim Perkins from Virginia discusses the need for vision and shared interest as colleges work to shape their own futures. He sees a need for shared goals and vision among all members of the college community and addresses the leader's responsibility in furthering that effort. Stan Spanbauer writes with the practicality and vision appropriate to his Wisconsin background. He, too, urges a shared vision and discusses how one institution adapted the T.Q.M. approach and current technology to advance and realize the quest for a shared vision.
Our next authors shift the emphasis from role and leadership concerns to issues of mission. These are not unrelated to role and leadership, but they bring the discussion to a more immediate focus. Mike Hensley addresses literacy from a unique perspective. He traces and discusses the role of labor unions in addressing literacy issues. His discussion of literacy is both topical and useful as he expands the traditional interpretation to fit the needs of our current workplace. Inherent in his discussion is the limited role of the community college. Is there really a lacuna? Have community colleges and labor unions had meaningful educational relationships? He presents a situation that warrants investigation. Betty Allen turns her attention to the now traditional nontraditional students in higher education. She reminds us of the special needs and special attention appropriate to those groups. Again our authors signal areas of change ahead. David Deckelbaum contributes an ERIC review of Tech Prep in the Community College. Again an area of change is presented. Federal policy drives the Tech Prep initiative. Its impact has not yet been felt by the community college, but it may be a major factor within five years. Again, change looms. Frank Falcetta adds another dimension of change in his Opinion Piece. Frank argues for the importance of expanded horizons, especially in involvement in international aspects of education and economics. Again, change looms.
The Exchange section illustrates change in immediate terms. Ceil Tilney discusses the adaptation of the academic approach to a business oriented approach for training activities. Thomasine Crawford discusses one college's experiences with a training program representing nontraditional careers. Both pieces demonstrate responses by community college personnel to changing environments.
Please note the revised procedures and expanded access to the electronic form of this journal. We wish you well for an exciting and productive new academic year and hope the ideas and issues addressed in this issue help you address the complexities of your daily and future worlds.
Darrel A. Clowes