Nine members of the NCCFT attended last weekend’s annual NYSUT Community College Conference. We attended sessions on leadership development, SUNY’s perspective on assessment, identifying and preventing bullying, health care, labor history, distinguishing gripes from grievances, and meeting the increasingly challenging needs of community college students. There was lots to be learned and we each brought back useful information to share.
One of the most powerful presentations was the keynote address given by Amy Dean, labor leader and co-author of A New New Deal. Dean talked about the important role that academic labor unions have to play in framing the social and economic issues affecting our communities, and in reaching out to help those communities build their capacity for solving local and regional problems.
Community colleges are particularly well situated because we are so deeply tied to our local communities. When we reach out to those communities, listen and learn from them about what is needed, and then offer our own skills and expertise to collaboratively solve problems we build a network of local support, resources, skills, and creativity that can be used to address emerging concerns.
What needs do you see in Nassau County communities that could be more effectively addressed if the NCCFT took this kind of civic engagement approach? If you have ideas about outreach projects let us know!