Darrel A. Clowes
In this issue we continue the process of exploring the role of the community college in a rapidly changing environment. In prior issues of The Catalyst community service and continuing education people were referred to as "mavericks" by Lou Benmder and as "Scouts" ahead of the main body by Larry Tyree. In that spirit we continue to explore the unclear future of the community college since we represent the advance party finding our way so the institution may learn from out activities and better find its way.
Steve Katsinas introduces this theme with a provocative analysis of current economic policy and its potential impact upon the community college. Katsinas traces the development of Clinton economic policy reports its maturation into specific current and planned legislation, and proposes models that represent the future community college responding to these federal policy initiatives. This is a piece worth considering. Whether you accept or reject Katsinas' answers, I believe he is asking the right questions and developing an important discussion. This article will be offered in two installments in this issue and the next issue of The Catalyst.
Sally Johnstone presents another aspect of our uncertain future--the information highway. She raises significant questions about its impact on faculty, students, and our business clients. Again, the right questions are being raised. Strategic planning is the concern of Phelan and his associates as they present this technique as a method for coping with an uncertain environment and making sense of the future. Again, the right questions are raised. An underlying question is whether methods like strategic planning address only short-term issues and lave long-term and possibly more significant issues unaddressed. However, that too is one of the important questions introduced by our authors. Towles and Spencer bring together two strong trends: the emphasis on adult learners and concern with distance learning pedagogy. They use a study of the differential effects of teacher interaction within distance learning on adult learners' persistence to hint at what our futures might involve.
The ERIC Review for this issue focuses on Tech Prep programs. These programs represent a significant part of the work force development strategy of the Bush and Clinton administrations and a part of our future. The material reviewed represents policy statements and models developed through the early efforts in the field. The Exchange section follows this theme also. Crawford describes an institution's experiences with School-to-Work (a first cousin of Tech Prep) programs while Leisner and Behrend describe the college and workplace connection through the experiences of a single institution. Both represent "maverick" activities for the community college as continuing education community service professionals function as "scouts" for the community college movement.