Call for Submissions, The Committee on Community Colleges

The End of the World as We Know It?

Sponsored by the Committee on Community Colleges

2017 Annual Meeting, Eastern Sociological Society

February 23-26, 2017

Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS:  Papers, Invited Conversations and Workshops

From one perspective, our community college terrain can be characterized as bleak as the world from which it emerges. Even a cursory review of the state of affairs in community colleges informs us of outsourced teaching, politically motivated legislation, unsustainable costs, the burden of corporate-style management approaches, and a plethora of ailments paralleling the cracks in the rest of society.  Our students are often from social locations deeply impacted by much of the economic decline and structural marginalization in America and we may watch with despair as their horizons are at risk of being unjustly and deeply truncated.

To which waves of societal changes are community colleges attuned and addressing?  What changes in our community colleges are causing fear, eruption and disruption and require our immediate attention?  Are we right to be fearful and is the end near? Would our students agree with our assessments of the existing threats, especially those for whom this is their entrance to higher education? What important insights about the curriculum, students, administration, and teaching can we contribute to the larger discussion about a world on the precipice of failure?

From another, dialectical perspective, in what ways can community colleges respond to, address and bring forth new opportunities for the collective empowerment of communities?

What examples do we have that the community college will be the iconic phoenix of higher education, positioned to arise stronger as a result of these epic social changes? Is this a time when we are vigorously reimagining and transforming our work in alignment with the pace of societal changes? What projects involve us deeply? For example, how are sociologists in community college settings engaging in student empowerment that gives rise to hope and purpose? What are we doing with our students and colleagues to break the pessimism and engage in fresh perspectives and empower agency? How are we nurturing an ethos of personal self-care, as well as caring for those we teach and work with, in environments of increasing stress and turmoil?  In what ways are we championing assessment as a meaningful and powerful tool? Are these positive changes at community colleges emerging holistically or are we bringing a higher level of intentionality? What are these efforts, who is benefiting, and how are they sustained? That is, if the world splits open, and we lead, what will emerge?

We are interested in hosting two types of panels and are inviting those immersed in community college life to participate. Our formats will be:

Conversations:  Send a paragraph (250 words, more if needed) explaining what theme you would like to see addressed in a guided conversation, others you know in community colleges who might be willing to join the conversation and how this theme resonates for you.

Workshops:  Send an overview of the workshop you would like to lead (250 words, more if needed) addressing some aspect of our theme. Give us an idea of how you would go about conducting the workshop and what you expect participant to take away.

Papers are also welcome.

Please submit by Friday, October 15, 2016.  Submissions and any questions can be sent to Jill Schultz at

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