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A Capital Conundrum

For years we have discussed doing an article about the lack of a community college in the nation’s capital. And recently the article was assigned to David Pluviose, assistant editor at our former sister publication Community College Week. The story behind this glaring absence goes back more than 150 years. Politics, money and a distinct lack of commitment have all played a role.

It seems obvious to many educators and policymakers that the district’s residents would be well served by a community college. Other officials believe that the existing University of the District of Columbia is all the city needs. With the district’s large minority presence and a growing immigrant population, a community college seems like a natural fit. Some say the lack of vocational training has and will continue to hurt employment opportunities for the city’s residents. Although community colleges in Maryland and Virginia have been filling the void, they are often difficult for Washington residents to get to. And growing immigrant communities in those areas are already testing the limits of the colleges. In “A Conspicuous Absence,” David takes you through the fascinating history of higher education in the nation’s capital.

Diverse correspondent Garry Boulard’s “Demographic Dilemma” looks at the relative lack of Hispanics in higher education, primarily in graduate schools. Some colleges and universities have begun recruiting in Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries to increase their numbers. Policymakers are concerned that Hispanic college attendance and graduation rates have not changed much in 20 years, despite a significant jump in the country’s Hispanic population. Census projections indicate that this community will continue to grow. And because a large percentage of Hispanics are under the age of 18, policymakers expect that higher education will see an increase in students over the next decade.

Lastly, in “A Kodak Moment,” Daniel A. Carp, the former chairman of this multinational corporation, speaks to Frank L. Matthews about how diversity in the academic world ties in to diversity in the corporate world. Matthews met up with Carp at the Diversity Best Practices conference in Washington, D.C., last fall. Carp won the organization’s CEO Leadership Award in 2003 and chaired last year’s CEO Leadership effort. Having worked for Kodak in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, Carp says the issue of diversity is not unique to the United States. But he warns that “if we don’t get it right, we won’t get the biggest pool of people with the best minds.” 

Hilary Hurd Anyaso

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