As community colleges prepare for what may be a very tough budget year, they will seek support from and partnerships with their local communities.
"This is a year in which we're going to talk about what works best with our students and what works best with our institutions," Ellen Schuler Mauk, president of the Faculty Association of Suffolk Community College, told nearly 150 people at NYSUT's recent 32nd Annual Community College Conference.
She urged attendees to "push back" against federal and state policymakers who dictate what community colleges should be doing yet fail to provide the means to achieve those expectations.
NYSUT Vice President Kathleen Donahue noted that U.S. Rep. John Boehner, an Ohio Republican who will be the next House speaker, is promising to cut $8 billion in federal education spending.
Labor activist Amy Dean encouraged participants to forge partnerships with businesses, elected officials and community organizations to build support for the difficult times ahead.
Community college leaders will meet in early January to discuss legislative strategy and ideas for collaborative local relationships.