Unrelenting Change, Innovation, and Risk: Forging the Next Generation of Community Colleges
In this book, thirty-five year veteran Dan Phelan shares key insights from his personal and professional journey as a transformational, entrepreneurial community college leader. The book's wisdom and insights are amplified by observations gleaned from interviews and visits with dozens of leading practitioners. Drawing upon his sailing experiences, Phelan argues that leaders should stop playing it safe in the harbor because the real gains driving institutional and student success are found in uncharted waters. Unrelenting Change, Disruptive Innovation, and Risk: Forging the Next Generation of Community Colleges dares community college leaders to innovate and provides them with a toolkit for understanding changing conditions, assessing risk and successfully navigating change.
Arguably, the nation's community colleges have experienced more change in the last several years than they have over the prior 115 years of their existence. Rapid changes in technology, external pressures for accountability and student completion, aggressive competition from other higher education institutions (i.e., public, for-profit, and private), changes in enrollment demographics, as well as new economic, market, and operational models stand to completely disrupt this relatively young enterprise. Unrelenting Change provides useful, practical examples for community college leaders as they seek to thoughtfully and strategically align their organization for the new dynamic in higher education. Furthermore, Unrelenting Change offers insights into the change process, including institutional assessment and readiness, consideration of cultural implications, strategic intentions toward innovation, as well as risk, failure, and success. Rather than perceiving change and disruptive innovation as merely happenstance, or luck, the author provides discernment into the topic so as to give community college leaders solid, guidance, if not improved odds, in undertaking this important, competitive edge for the future of their intuitions, and by extension, their students.