This working paper describes demography as opportunity, which is a simple idea grounded in a commitment to affirm the worth of the students who attend community colleges by being responsive to their life circumstances. As the demography of the nation changes—the United States is predicted to be majority minority by 2045—human capital investment in students from racial and ethnic groups, many of whom are first-generation college goers and low-income, is critical to the nation’s vitality. Demography as opportunity marries the racial and ethnic shifts underway in the country and in higher education with equity perspectives on historically disenfranchised populations. It is a constellation of policy and practice that abides by implementation principles common to well-executed change efforts. It attends to both people and place and aspires to strengthen communities and the nation by investing in the increasingly diverse population of college goers. Community colleges are the ideal venue for demography as opportunity not only because of who they serve but also because of what they do.
This working paper is based on a chapter in 13 Ideas That Are Transforming the Community College World edited by Terry U. O’Banion and published by Rowman & Littlefield and the American Association of Community Colleges in March 2019. All rights reserved. The book can be purchased from Rowman & Littlefield at 800-462-6420 or www.rowman.com. Mention “RLEGEN18” for a 20 percent discount. Copies can also be purchased from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers.