community college classroom

Preparing for a Career at a Community College

Despite the fact that nearly 40% of our nation’s undergraduates attend a community college, community colleges remain, as one researcher puts it, “honored but invisible” (Grubb). The materials that we put before you here—including video testimony from a veteran community college teacher and administrator and insightful and reflective blog postings from a graduate student and a young instructor embarking on a career at the community college—are designed to demystify community colleges for those contemplating a career in this vital sector of public higher education.

In addition to offering practical advice when applying for a job at community colleges—such as getting first-hand experience teaching adult learners and developing a thoughtful, student-centered teaching philosophy—these accounts attest to the remarkably diverse students who attend community colleges. While acknowledging the teaching-intensive nature of the work, these statements also provide guidance for those seeking to build a varied career at the community college: the opportunity to serve as departmental chair, for example, or to engage in grant-writing, or to develop new courses.

Fundamentally, these testimonies pay passionate tribute to this bold experiment dubbed “democracy’s open door” and to the truly rewarding teaching and learning that take place within (Connor and Griffith).

Howard Tinberg

Chair, Committee on Community Colleges, 2016–17


Works cited

Connor, Ann and Marlene Griffith. Democracy’s Open Door: The Community College in America’s Future. Portsmouth, NH:  Heinemann, 1994.

Grubb, W. Norton. Honored but Invisible: An Inside Look at Teaching in Community Colleges. London: Routledge, 1999.