Teachers College, Columbia University

A Typology of Community College-Based Partnership Activities

By Belkis Suazo deCastro & Melinda Mechur Karp

Community colleges are tasked with providing learning opportunities in an affordable and efficient time-to-degree manner, while at the same time meeting the occupational and training demands both of student constituents and a knowledge-based economy.

In recent years, this challenge has intensified due to a growing student population, a depressed economy, decreased funding, greater accountability, and a mismatch between students' college preparedness and the technical demands of our economy. Community colleges are addressing this challenge in part by partnering with other institutions in order to streamline their services and meet the needs of students efficiently and effectively.

These partnerships can be supported—or hindered—by local, state, and federal policies. This paper presents a typology of the types of collaborations in which colleges engage so that policymakers can identify the types of activities they want to support and develop appropriate fiscal and regulatory policy that will enable colleges to pursue these activities.