The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is a national organization that has provided leadership to the community and technical college movement for the past half century and is comprised of more than 1,300 members representing two-year public and private institutions. Through a system of councils, the AACC has helped generate the greater involvement of special-interest groups in its activities. The National Community College Hispanic Council (NCCHC) is an affiliated council of AACC and believes that “education is essential for realizing the fullest potential of each member of our society and that appropriate higher education should be available to all…” While Hispanics in American society do not comprise the only group that may need special attention and assistance in taking full advantage of higher education opportunity, this is the group to which our primary attention shall be directed. NCCHC is a non-profit, charitable organization founded in April, 1985.
Hispanic Educators: Entering the 21st Century
The National Community College Hispanic Council organized in 1985 as an effort to link Hispanic presidents nationwide and promote communication. The beginning group of six presidents and one vice president has grown to our present leadership numbers of sixty-eight. As of Spring 1997, there are seven chancellors, five vice chancellors and fifty-six presidents.
Today, we are still addressing the on-going issues of the development of up and coming Hispanic professionals in order to create a pool of presidential and other administrative applications, the need to increase Hispanic representation on boards of trustees as well as provide awareness of opportunities for potential and current elected board members, student access to college, faculty/ staff diversity on college campuses, friendly campus environments, and affirmative action. NCCHC will need to provide the leadership which will be critical for us to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.
Hispanic Students: Preparing for the 21st Century
Hispanics are a fairly young and rapidly increasing population with a median age of 26.7 in 1993. By the year 2015, Hispanics will be the largest ethnic minority group in the United States. The percentage of Hispanic students in K-12 is dramatically increasing. Yet, completion of a high school diploma for many of these students is at risk. Hispanics have the highest high school dropout rate of any racial or ethnic group.
In 1990, Hispanic students were enrolled in two-year higher education programs approximately twice as often as in four-year degree programs. Nine percent of Hispanic Americans age 25 and over had completed a Bachelor’s degree or higher compared to almost 23 percent of the non-Hispanic population (1993). Hispanic enrollment in higher education has not gained much ground compared to gains by non-Hispanics. It is in the core mission and values of NCCHC to advocate for equal opportunity and accessibility in higher education, specifically community colleges, for Hispanic students.