A book co-edited by an Iowa State University professor outlines the governance, financing, and accountability of community colleges in all fifty states.
A book co-edited by an Iowa State University professor outlines the governance, financing, and accountability of community colleges in all fifty states.

New book compares community college systems in all 50 states

As lawmakers across the United States debate ways to finance colleges and hold schools accountable, a new book edited by an Iowa State University professor lays out a state-by-state rundown of two-year higher education systems.

Community college leaders are shifting their focus from accessibility to workforce development, while legislators search for ways to spur commercial growth by empowering citizens with relevant job preparation.

The Iowa Board of Regents and the Missouri Senate are considering appropriating money to schools according to their performance measures. In Oregon and Tennessee, lawmakers are considering offering free tuition to all community college students. The City University of New York is asking why many community college credits don’t transfer to four-year universities.

“Fifty State Systems of Community Colleges: Mission, Governance, Funding, & Accountability” summarizes the key factors driving community colleges. The book serves as a quick-reference guide for policymakers and educational administrators as well as college trustees and higher education scholars.

The format allows the reader to glean, compare, and contrast the political and financial aspects of various administrative systems. It also sums up how each system answers to taxpayers and policymakers.

The book is particularly relevant because each state developed its own system, withoutjfriedel2 a common model to follow, said the lead co-editor, Janice Friedel, an associate professor in Iowa State University’s School of Education who served as a community college administrator for almost 30 years.

 ”Following the Truman Commission Report in 1946, states across the nation established systems of two year colleges to meet the post-secondary education and workforce training needs of their growing numbers of  baby boomers graduating from high school and the veterans,” Friedel said. “There was no ‘cookie cutter’ model for these colleges, and so  today we have state systems of community colleges reflective of their state’s unique characteristics and needs.”

Since each system works differently, leaders need to be aware of — and learn from — all the variations, Friedel said.

 “This book is the only one of its kind that provides current information about the mission, governance, structure, funding, accountability and the challenges and opportunities,” Friedel said.

Divided out by state, chapters in the book were each written by a specialist familiar with the state’s system. Along with Friedel, the book was co-edited by three additional community college experts: Jim Killacky, Steve Katsinas, and Emily Miller.

Killacky retired in June 2013 as professor and director of the doctoral program in educational leadership at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. Katsinas is a professor and director of the Educational Policy Center at The University of Alabama. Miller is a doctoral student who has taught curriculum and continuing education courses at community colleges in North Carolina since 2000.

The book is the fourth edition in a series and was last revised in 1997. “Fifty State Systems” is available from the Overmountain Press, where it is featured as the book of the month.

Contacts:

Janice Friedel, associate professor, School of Education, Iowa State University, 515-343-9474, jfriedel@iastate.edu

Cathy Curtis, communications director, College of Human Sciences, Iowa State University, 515-294-8175, ccurtis@iastate.edu

  • Quick Look

    A new edition of “Fifty State Systems of Community Colleges: Mission, Governance, Funding, & Accountability” summarizes the key factors driving community colleges. Co-edited by Janice Friedel an associate professor in Iowa State University’s School of Education, the book serves as a quick-reference guide for policymakers and educational administrators as well as college trustees and higher education scholars.


  • There was no ‘cookie cutter’ model for these colleges, and so today we have state systems of community colleges reflective of their state’s unique characteristics and needs.