Celebrating the Bellwether Awards Together
On February 2, I have the honor of being a keynote speaker at the 2020 Community College Futures Assembly, which sponsors the highly coveted Bellwether Awards. As an indicator of leading programs and activities in community colleges, the Bellwether Awards provide valuable insights as to what new and effective practices and programs will shape the community colleges of the future. I am proud to note that 10 NACCE members are among this year’s 30 finalists.
- Instructional Programs and Services Category
- Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (NC)
- Housatonic Community College (CT)
- Nicolet College (WI)
- Pima Community College (AZ)
- Planning, Governance and Finance Category
- College of the Desert (CA)
- Howard Community College (MD)
- Pima Community College (AZ)
- South Mountain Community College (AZ)
- Workforce Development Category
- Maysville Community & Technical College (KY)
- Missouri State University - West Plains (MO)
- San Jacinto College (TX)
It’s an exciting time to be in community college education, and important for all of us as we usher in the new decade and embrace the unique challenges for community colleges and the role they play in contributing to economic vitality locally and nationally. As an educator and administrator, I see many parallels between NACCE’s mission and the Bellwether Awards.
Like NACCE’s annual conference, the Futures Assembly convenes annually as an independent national policy forum for key opinion leaders to identify critical issues facing community colleges, and to recognize Bellwether winners and finalists as trend-setting institutions. As members of the NACCE community, we too are thought leaders, continually looking to the future for entrepreneurial opportunities for our communities and students.
The finalists from community colleges throughout the country, including were selected from among 1,100 highly competitive submissions in three major categories: Instructional Programs and Services; Planning, Governance & Finance; and Workforce Development. All finalists are presented at the Assembly in February, and one winner is selected from each of three categories by a panel of national experts.
Bellwether finalists shine a spotlight on many of the best practices and initiatives from community colleges around the country. This is similar to NACCE’s growing Centers of Practice, through which entrepreneurial practitioners and leaders share best practices and entrepreneurship resources. These are scalable, replicable programs and activities that have been designed and successfully implemented to foster or support teaching and learning in the community college, improve efficiency and effectiveness in planning and governance, and encourage public/private strategic alliances and partnerships that promote community and economic development.
We can all learn from the finalists who will be present at the assembly. They well represent community colleges as leading institutions of higher education whose outstanding and innovative programs and practices are making an impact in rural, suburban and urban areas across the nation. The Bellwether Award is widely regarded as one of the country’s most competitive and prestigious recognition awards for community colleges. Let’s celebrate these award winners, their community colleges, and their outstanding achievements in bringing imagination, entrepreneurial thinking, and innovation to their practices and programs.