2017 Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges

Now in its third year, Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges is a national recognition that celebrates two-year community and technical college workplaces that are vibrant, diverse, supportive, and marked by a deep commitment to staff work-life balance, professional development and incluseive excellent. Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges offers institutional leaders information that may be used to improve workplace practices across the nation and serves as a useful tool for employers, career services staff and job-seekers alike.

Other Years

2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2016 2015 
Promising Places to work logos
Institution (2-year Public)Chief Executive OfficerLocationControlStudent PopulationFounding Year
Blinn CollegeDr. Mary HensleyBrenham, TXPublic10,0331883
El Centro CollegeDr. Jose AdamsDallas, TXPublic10,5491966
Montgomery County Community CollegeDr. Kevin PollackBlue Bell, PAPublic12,8051964
Mountain View CollegeDr. Robert GarzaDallas, TXPublic8,9501970
Oklahoma State University Institute of TechnologyDr. Bill PathOkmulgee, OKPublic3,3791946
Pierpont Community and Tchnical CollegeDr. Johnny M. MooreFairmont, WVPublic2,3111974
Seward County Community CollegeDr. Kenneth J. TrzaskaLiberal, KSPublic1,8521967
South Florida State CollegeDr. Thomas C. LeitzelAvon Park, FLPublic2,7801965
Southwest Virginia Community CollegeDr. J. Mark EsteppRichards, VAPublic2,5461966
Stella and Charles Guttman Community CollegeDr. Scott E. EvenbeckNew, York, NYPublic7002011
Tallahassee Community CollegeDr. Jim MurdaughTallahassee, FLPublic13,0491966


This study was first commissioned by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) and Diverse: Issues In Higher Education in 2014. The purpose of this commissioned study was to examine the extent to which diversity and inclusion permeates various aspects (e.g., administrative structures, commitments, work environments, staffing practices) of the work places at participating two-year community and technical colleges, all of which are NISOD-member institutions.

The survey was developed by Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, in consultation with members of the project’s advisory board. The larger project, Promising Places to Work, has been administered by Strayhorn and his teams at various centers at Ohio State University. It is now administered by his team at Do Good Work Educational Consulting, LLC — an independent educational consulting firm committed to inclusive excellence, student access and success.


As the Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges project evolves, we learn more and more about what’s going on at various institutions to increase faculty and staff diversity, to foster a sense of belonging for staff and to equip college student educators for their work with students. Presented here is a set of "promising practices" that have held up across each year of the study.

Promising Practice #1: Recognition of Good Work

Each year, we hear from faculty and staff who work at community colleges about the importance of good work being recognized, especially by those in leadership positions. Specifically, institutions recognized as Most Promising Places over the past three years have been known for hosting formal ceremonies that recognize the meaningful contributions of various members of the campus community. Quite often, faculty and staff described this practice as a positive feature of institutional culture that was beneficial to their retention as well as their colleagues’. In addition to institutional awards and ceremonies, many faculty and staff noted that their campus leadership also nominated them for regional and national awards, honors and recognitions. We encourage community college leaders to adopt similar practices or approaches to recognizing the good work of staff and members of the campus community.

Promising Practice #2: Commitment to Meeting the Needs of Community

The espoused mission of community colleges includes a clear focus on serving the needs of the local community. Thus, it is no surprise that faculty and staff at institutions designated as Most Promising Places underscored the importance of their institutions living up to this responsibility. Over the years, faculty and staff have consistently shared insights about their institution’s connection to, service of and appreciation for the communities in which they are located. For instance, Southwest Virginia Community College (SVCC) provides "support to the business community through 'rapid responses' when there are training needs for new or expanding businesses" through their Small Business Development Center and Procurement Technical Assistance Center. As staff indidcated, "If new needs arise in our service area, the community never doubts SVCC’s ability to provide education and training." It is important for all community colleges to truly be members of their local communities, service the needs of the people.

Promising Practice #3: Investment in the Development of Faculty and Staff

Institutions represented among our Most Promising Places over the years have prioritized significant investment in the professional development of faculty and staff to better prepare them for leadership within the organization and broader community. Faculty and staff at institutions recognized as Most Promising Places over the years have discussed at length the ways in which their institutions have signaled commitment to them by investing in their professional development. For instance, at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC), faculty and staff highlighted the Faculty Diversity Fellows program for junior minority faculty and the President’s Leadership Academy for staff members considered "rising leaders" within the institution. Likewise, Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT) staff members found that there were always resources available to support their pursuit of professional development on and off campus, including book clubs, conference attendance, webinars and on-campus leadership training seminars. We encourage senior leaders at community colleges to make concerted investments in formal professional development activities for faculty and staff; this is a promising practice at work in Most Promising Places.


Dr. Terrell Lamont Strayhorn (principal investigator) is a professor of higher education at Ohio State University. He is also founder/CEO of Do Good Work Educational Consulting. Author of 10 books, more than 100 articles and book chapters, hundreds of papers at international and national conferences and more than 500 keynotes, Strayhorn is an internationally known student success expert and public speaker, who was named an Emerging Scholar in his field by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education in 2011.

Dr. Royel M. Johnson (co-principal investigator) is assistant professor of higher education at Pennsylvania State University within the Department of Educational Policy Studies, starting fall 2017. His research focuses on major policy- and practice-relevant issues in education, such as: college access and success; race, equity and diversity; and student learning and development. He is co-editor of a forthcoming book on historically Black colleges and universities and has published dozens of journal articles, book chapters and other academic publications.

Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges takes a holistic look at those institutions that create promising places for faculty and staff who work to support students to their success.

Most Promising Place to Work in Community College Profiles

Blinn College

Blinn College

Blinn College is a public institution in Brenham, Texas, with a student population of about 18,561. Established in 1883, Blinn boasts the highest transfer rate in the state of Texas, sending students to a variety of state institutions, including Texas A&M University, Sam Houston State University, Texas State University, the University of Texas and the University of Houston. In 2013, Blinn was named one of the most affordable large community colleges in the nation by AffordableColleges.com and counts football player Chris Brazell and actor Henry Thomas among its distinguished alumni. Minority students comprised about 29 percent of the student body.

"You will quickly discover that we take tremendous pride in our more than 130-year history. Established in 1883, Blinn is the oldest publicly-owned community college in the state of Texas, and in that time we have grown from our fi rst class of just three students to more than 18,000."

-Dr. Mary Hensley
District President/CEO
El Centro College

El Centro College

El Centro College opened its doors in 1966, serving students from all parts of Dallas County, Texas. A Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), the college is a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and was the first college in the Dallas County Community College District to offer a nursing program. The college has since established relationships with hospitals in the Dallas area. In its 50-year existence, El Centro has grown from one campus into several locations across the Dallas metro area. In 2011, El Centro College became an Achieving the Dream College. Achieving the Dream is a national nonprofi t dedicated to helping community college — succeed.

"For 50 years, El Centro has served as the first college in the seven-college district, graduating its first class of students in 1968. We have had the privilege of providing a superior education to the citizens of Dallas and beyond. A quality education, and the responsibility of preparing our students for their future, is our priority. We are committed to providing a learning environment that is challenging and supportive of student personal interests and needs."

-Dr. José Adames
Montgomery County Community College

Montgomery County Community College

Montgomery County Community College was founded in 1964 with the goal of offering a high-quality, affordable and accessible education that prepares students for relevant, rewarding transfer and career opportunities. With more than 30,000 alumni, the college has had an impressive track record. More than two-thirds of their college graduates are employed in their fields of study. The college offers more than 100 associate degree/certificate programs and various hybrid online/traditional programs at several campuses throughout Eastern Pennsylvania. As a member of the Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count network, college officials say that they are constantly examining research-based strategies that support student success. "This is a tremendous honor," MCCC President Kevin Pollock says on being notified that the college had been identified as one of this year’s Most Promising Places to Work. "The faculty and staff work hard to make Montgomery County Community College a diverse, welcoming and friendly organization where employees and students alike can develop and succeed."

"Student access and success are at the heart of Montgomery County Community College’s core mission. They are the hallmarks that drive us to explore new and entrepreneurial ways to help students attain access to higher education and fulfill the dreams they have for themselves and their families."

-Dr. Kevin Pollock
Mountain View College

Mountain View College

Mountain View College is one of seven independently accredited colleges that are part of the Dallas County Community College District. The college boasts a student population that is diverse. For instance, 24.3 percent of its students are Hispanic; 23.9 percent are African-American; 8.4 percent Asian; 39.9 percent White; and 3.4 percent other races. The school opened its doors in 1970 and currently has about 10,000 credit students and 9,000 continuing education students. The college provides robust services for veterans who have a desire to reach their higher education goals.

"At Mountain View College, our mission is to empower people and transform community, and our team lives by these words each day. In our 45-year history, we have impacted the lives of more than 700,000 students in a profound way, and our enrollment continues to grow thanks to the outstanding faculty and staff we have serving our students. Thank you for recognizing all the great work being done at Mountain View College. We are MVC proud!"

-Dr. Robert Garza
Oklahoma State University Institue of Technology

Oklahoma State University Institue of Technology

Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT) was founded in 1946 with the goal of serving as the lead institution of higher education in Oklahoma and the region by providing comprehensive, high-quality programs aimed at preparing and sustaining a diverse student body to be competitive members of a world-class workforce. OSUIT partners with global corporations to develop academic coursework and training programs using industry-caliber equipment to create a seamless classroom-tocareer transition.

"We’re not simply training students to enter the workforce, we are identifying students with specific skills, with specific employers, with specifi c outcomes so that when a student graduates from OSUIT they will know exactly who their employer is going to be in many cases. There have been some occasions even at graduation I’ve been brave enough to stand up in front of a group of graduating seniors in cap and gown and ask the question: "All of those that have a job waiting for you at graduation, will you please stand?" And to my pleasure I see almost the entire graduating class stand up. As you can imagine, moms and dads in the audience erupting into applause to see that, because that’s truly in my opinion what higher education should be about."

-Dr. Bill R. Path
Pierpont Community and Technical College

Pierpont Community and Technical College

Pierpont Community and Technical College was founded in 1974 to provide opportunities for learning, training and further education that enrich the lives of individuals and promote the economic growth of West Virginia. The college shares a 120-acre campus with Fairmont State University. The student/faculty ratio at the school is 17:1.

"Pierpont is part of the state’s growing high-technology corridor with a metro area of about 250,000 residents. The college strives to enhance the quality of life for people of North-Central West Virginia through accessible, comprehensive, responsive, workforce-related training and quality higher education opportunities."

-Dr. Johnny M. Moore
Seward County Community College

Seward County Community College

Seward County Community College is a two-year institution located in Liberal, Kansas. The college offers 45 programs of study, including adult basic education, certificate programs and associate degrees. Ranked in the top 5 percent of more than 1,100 accredited community colleges in the U.S. by the Aspen Institute, SCCC serves a student body of more than 2,500 students, ranging in age from 15 to 85.

"I really want to bring people together, to encourage collaboration and connection. Quite frankly, we’re going to have a lot of fun with what we do. We’re going to be close as team members; we’re going to look out for each other; and we’re going to connect what’s happening in our internal community on campus with the external community as a whole."

-Dr. Kenneth J. Trzaska
South Florida State College

South Florida State College

South Florida State College was established in 1965 and began offering classes a year later. Today, SFSC serves over 19,000 residents and offers associate degrees in more than 60 fields of study. The college also offers 13 bachelor’s degree programs and three master’s degree programs through eight other colleges and universities.

"It is a high honor to serve the students, faculty and staff at South Florida State College. This outstanding institution has been meeting the higher educational needs of Hardee, DeSoto and Highlands counties for over 50 years. The support we receive from our community is unprecedented. That support translates directly to our students through the curriculum, delivered by a committed team of highly skilled faculty who believe in the instructional mission of our college."

-Dr. Thomas C. Leitzel
Southwest Virginia Community College

Southwest Virginia Community College

Southwest Virginia Community College, located in Cedar Bluff, Virginia, provides quality educational and cultural enrichment opportunities for lifelong learners, workforce and community. The college is guided by its four core values: student-centered learning, student success, excellence, and inclusiveness and collaboration. The college was founded in 1966 and currently offers more than 80 programs of study.

"We care about your success. At Southwest you will have the opportunity to work with one of the most dynamic groups of professors in the country. In addition, the large variety of programs and classes available at the college makes it easy for you to select one that’s just right for you."

-Dr. J. Mark Estepp
Stella and Charles Guttman Community College

Stella and Charles Guttman Community College

Stella and Charles Guttman Community College was established on September 20, 2011, making it the newest community college in the City University of New York system. In the fall of 2016, there were 995 students enrolled at the college. The urban public institution offers a rigorous set of core courses. Students enroll in a City Seminar where they explore critical issues directly related to New York City.

"At Guttman Community College, we will challenge you to think differently about New York City and the larger world — and your role in shaping the future of both. Our courses are designed to link learning in the classroom to ‘hands-on’ career experiences with city organizations and businesses in the outside world."

-Dr. Scott E. Evenbeck
Tallahassee Community College

Tallahassee Community College

Tallahassee Community College was founded in 1966 by the Florida Legislature and off ers more than 90 academic and career programs and more than 600 courses. In addition to the associate degree, TCC also off ers a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Baseball player Ryan Freel and actress Cheryl Hines can be counted among the school’s most notable alumni.

"At Tallahassee Community College, we take a very active approach to student success. That means helping students set realistic academic and career goals and follow the path that will lead them to their goals. It means connecting students with support services that will help them complete the courses and programs they have chosen. It means off ering programs that take students to the next level — admission to a college or university, employment in a rewarding career or the achievement of personal goals. It means preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow. It means measuring signs of success, such as course and program completion, admission to a four-year institution and employment. It also means investing in people, programs, facilities and technologies that help students succeed."

-Dr. Jim Murdaugh


Institution# Full Time Staff# Part Time Staff50% Female30% Ethnic Minority5% LGBT5% Living with Disability5% VeteranAverage Salary Entry-LevelAverage Salary Mid-LevelAverage Salary Senior
Blinn College200100N/RN/RN/RN/RN/R$38,000$70,000$90,000
El Centro College260194YESYESN/RN/RN/R$45,000$65,000$90,000
Montgomery County Community College240110YESNON/RN/RN/R$48,837$70,162$91,815
Mountain View College393202YESYESN/RN/RNO$30,000$65,000$95,000
Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology23317NONON/RN/RNO$30,000$60,000$80,000
Pierpont Community and Tchnical College103101YESNON/RN/RNON/RN/RN/R
Seward County Community College195255YESNON/RN/RN/R$41,918$56,598$101,075
South Florida State College26074NONON/RN/RN/RN/RN/RN/R
Southwest Virginia Community College87121YESNONONON/R$32,619$42,619$65,953
Stella and Charles Guttman Community College115128YESYESN/RNONO$53,498$70,195$125,000
Tallahassee Community College488345YESYESN/RN/RN/RN/RN/RN/R


InstitutionChild Care ServicesElder Care ServicesCargiving Leave for AllEducation LeaveContinuing EdFlexible Work SchedulesMentoringStress Reduction Program
Montgomery County Community CollegeYESYESYESNOYESNOYESYES
Oklahoma State University Institute of TechnologyYESNOYESNONOYESNOYES
Pierpont Community and Tchnical CollegeYESNOYESNOYESYESNOYES
Seward County Community CollegeNONOYESYESYESYESNOYES
Southwest Virginia Community CollegeYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYES
Stella and Charles Guttman Community CollegeNONOYESNOYESYESYESYES
Tallahassee Community CollegeYESYESYESYESYESYESNOYES