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Donald "Guy" Generals Jr., president of the Community College of Philadelphia, said the issue of college costs transcends party lines, so building consensus should be possible.

"I think if we could get the acrimony out of Washington politics, we could make it happen," he said. "There's never been a more important time than right now to provide greater access to education. I think the momentum is building toward it."

For many leaders of two-year programs, community college completion is a springboard to a four-year degree. The Community College of Philadelphia has agreements in place for dual admissions transfer partnerships with 12 area four-year programs, including Temple and Saint Joseph’s Universities. CCP President Donald Generals said the attention given to community colleges by President Obama’s announcement has only helped his college develop further partnerships in the area.

“President Obama really put the spotlight on community colleges,” he said. “Business and industry is more willing to work with us. Four-year colleges are more willing to work with us.”

Generals’s campus hosted an event this week to celebrate the inclusion of free community college in the Democratic platform and discuss how higher ed leaders can build more momentum behind the idea.

Following the screening, audience members engaged in a panel with Mary Cathryn Ricker, executive vice president of the American Federation of Teachers; Dr. Donald Generals, president of the Community College of Philadelphia; Michael Flores, communications and government affairs director at the College of Southern Nevada and James McCoy, associate vice president of academic affairs at the College of Southern Nevada.

The panel focused on the significance of community college, strategies to alleviate student debt and the effects of the Democratic National Convention.

“In the last two decades, we have been ramping up expectations — expecting students to go to higher education because all indicators say that they need to,” Ricker said. “We have this 30-foot expectation that kids are supposed to go to college, but our path for them to get there has not caught up.”

In order to help students prepare for success, many community colleges have started to require pre-orientation, standardized testing and mandatory career advising. The Community College of Philadelphia also requires their students to participate in civic engagement.

Across town earlier that day, at the Community College of Philadelphia, President Donald Generals said that the issues of cost and affordability are front and center in the conversation about higher education. The campus hosted a viewing of the film No Greater Odds, a documentary following five community college students at the College of Southern Nevada. Afterwards, a panel including Generals and other higher ed leaders discussed the role two-year institutions can play in meeting the country's growing needs for postsecondary education and the prospect of achieving free community college.

“Free tuition is a bipartisan issue, and I think it is something this nation can get done,” Generals said.

Contact: Linda Wallace, 215-751-8082, liswallace@ccp.edu
Annette John-Hall, 215-751-8021, anhall@ccp.edu

 

PHILADELPHIA, PA., July 11, 2016 — As President Barack Obama continues to encourage independent engagement with a newly actualized Cuba, a group of faculty and administrators from Community College of Philadelphia recently embarked upon the Caribbean island to develop study abroad programs that will teach students what it means to be a global citizen.

Participants included Dr. Judy Gay, vice president for strategic initiatives and chief of staff; Dr. Ashley Brenner, study abroad coordinator and instructor of English; Christopher DiCapua, International Studies coordinator and associate professor of foreign languages; and Dr. Connie Watson, assistant professor of Psychology. They traveled throughout Havana and Trinidad, Cuba, on a week-long site visit. The s goal is to foster opportunities for service-learning and research for students.

Until President Obama took the historic step in 2014 to normalize relations with the Caribbean’s largest nation, Cuba seemed light years away historically and politically, even though it is located only 90 miles from U.S. shores. A multi-ethnic country whose people, culture and customs derive from diverse origins, Cuba is uniquely equipped to attract students interested in community development and social inclusion - issues that directly affect them.

In addition to traveling throughout Cuba’s capital city of Havana, some of the participants also explored the city of Trinidad, home to significant Afro-Cuban influence and history, informed by local sugar plantations and the slave trade. Trinidad and Philadelphia share the distinction of being UNESCO World Heritage sites, and the visit represents an opportunity for participants to explore and compare the two cities’ cultures and histories.

Since 2000, various groups from Community College of Philadelphia’s Study Abroad program have visited a total of 13 countries, including Argentina, Cambodia, Greece, Israel and Turkey. Last month, a group of students and faculty traveled to Tanzania for 14 days to study sustainable development and East African culture.

 

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Community College of Philadelphia is the largest public institution of higher education in Philadelphia and the sixth largest in Pennsylvania. The College enrolls approximately 34,000 students annually and offers day, evening, and weekend classes, as well as classes online. Visit the College at www.ccp.edu. Follow us on Twitter. Like us on Facebook.

The College Promise Campaign has arranged screenings to take place at community colleges during both the Republican and Democratic  National Convention. In Philadelphia during the DNC, scheduled panelists include: President Donald Generals, Community College of Philadelphia; American Federation of Teachers Executive Vice President Mary Cathryn Richter, White House Social Secretary Deesha Dyer, Monique Makhlouf, a CSN alumna featured in “No Greater Odds,” and CSN Communications & Government Affairs Director Michael Flores.

Philadelphia college student Jimmy Mulholland, who bicycled across the country last year, received many offers of help after his bike was recently stolen at 30th Street Station.

On July 10, Mulholland had locked up his old bike outside of 30th Street Station, where he took a train to Media, Delaware County, to visit his parents overnight. When he returned to get his bike the next day, it was stolen from the rack on the Schuylkill River side of the station. He realizes he probably shouldn't have kept his bike there overnight.

The bike had been his constant companion on his road trip last year when he took a break from Temple University, where he was having difficulties in school.

This past spring semester, Mulholland, who still lives in an apartment near Temple University in North Philadelphia, transferred to the Community College of Philadelphia, where he is studying business administration. He is taking summer classes now.

He plans to start a photography business and hopes to transfer back to Temple to finish his bachelor's degree.

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When community colleges first opened their doors, they widened the gateway to social mobility and were fondly celebrated as America’s “people’s colleges.”

Today, more and more scholars are enrolling at Community College of Philadelphia because they know they can travel to just about any destination from there – while spending less money along the way. Plus, rigorous academic preparation and skill development are now woven into its nationally known Liberal Arts - Honors Option curriculum, which was designed to serve students who plan to advance into professional life and attend competitive four-year schools.

Community College of Philadelphia's president, Dr. Donald "Guy" Generals, is more blunt when it comes to the need to intervene early on, particularly for those who have dropped out of school.

"If we don't find a way to catch them early and put them on a path towards something more productive, they are only going to be a burden in terms of the services they are going to need later on in their life," Generals said. "Their inability to find gainful employment and incarceration is way more costly than community college. So these programs are incredibly important."

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