This book is a collection of essays about urban community college leaders’ experiences during the COVID-19 era and racial injustice protests of 2020. The result is a wide range of content from political commentary to leadership advice—all through the unique perspectives of African Americans leading some of the country’s biggest educational institutions with the greatest potential for redressing a system of “interlocking injustices” that has evolved and persisted for more than 400 years. While our institutions and constituencies were disproportionately impacted by these events, we believe that urban community colleges are also at the forefront of transformative solutions for the underlying social-equity issues that are most pronounced in the nation’s biggest cities.
Curtis L. Ivery has been chancellor of the Wayne County Community College District for 25 years. He is a national leader on urban revitalization and social equity. He is the author of several books including America’s Urban Crisis and the Advent of Colorblind Politics: Education, Incarceration, and Segregation; and The Future of the Urban Community College: Shaping the Pathways to a Multiracial Democracy.
Christine Johnson McPhail is president of Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, NC, founder of the community college leadership doctoral program at Morgan State University in Maryland, and former president of Cypress College in Southern California. She is a national authority on diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies and the co-author of books on community college leadership including Team Leadership in the Community College.
Foreword by Cornel West
Urban community colleges redefined for greater social impact
A lament of hope and conscience
CHAPTER 1: THE SHADOWS OVER URBAN COMMUNITIES
Curtis L. Ivery, chancellor, Wayne County Community College District
CHAPTER 2: A CLARION CALL
Beverly Walker-Griffea, president, Mott Community College
CHAPTER 3: TOWARD HEALING AND RECONCILIATION: SILENCE IS NOT AN OPTION
Kojo Quartey, president, Monroe County Community College
CHAPTER 4: EMBEDDED RACISM AND THE AMERICAN PSYCHE
Donald Generals, president, Community College of Philadelphia
CHAPTER 5: THE COVID–19 ERA AND RACIAL INJUSTICE PROTESTS
Quintin Bullock, president, Community College of Allegheny County
CHAPTER 6: LEADING THROUGH AN EDUCATIONAL TSUNAMI
Kimberly Beatty, chancellor, Metropolitan Community College
CHAPTER 7: OPTIMIZING THE URBAN HIGHER EDUCATION ECOSYSTEM
Christine Johnson McPhail, president, St. Augustine’s University
CHAPTER 8: CONCLUSIONSAND REFLECTIONS
Curtis L. Ivery and Christine Johnson McPhail (editors)
In my decades of service to the community college sector, I intentionally worked to ensure that I represented all students in word and action. I was afraid that if I spoke too much about students of color it would impact the way others saw me. In retrospect, I realize that my perspective as a Black community college leader is not only valid but is necessary if we are to truly reckon with the issues that we currently face at community colleges and across the country. Through this work, Drs. Ivery and McPhail have outlined a framework that provides context on the challenges of the current political and racial divisions that plague the nation and impact the core tenets of the community colleges and the students they serve.
Urban Voices: Racial Justice and Community Leadership is a “must read book” for trustees, college administrators, faculty and all who are interested in improving student persistence and achievement in our urban institutions of higher education. I first wrote about these challenges fifty years ago by maintaining that more open access to higher education will not result in the achievement that we should want for those students who enroll in urban and open-door community colleges. This volume provides guidance and encouragement for those leading these open access colleges and universities. These students need additional support (financial and human). This volume is a road map for institutions wanting to improve student attainment in our institutions.
Community colleges are among the primary forces driving social and economic justice in the U. S., and urban community colleges and their leaders are where the rubber meets the road. Curtis Ivery and Christine Johnson McPhail have been national models for decades for the urban voices who speak so eloquently in this first-of-its-kind book. When you read this book you will understand why Black Leaders Matter.
Urban community colleges are the perfect laboratory from which to examine, view and opine on the impact of racial and social injustice as well as traveling into the unknown landscape created by COVID. Drs. McPhail and Ivery have captured engaging perspectives from urban community college leaders, combined with their own research, to present an intriguing examination of the present status interlocked with the potential for change. A challenging and different presentation of urban community colleges that reflects all of higher education.
7/28/22, The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education: This book was featured in the journal’s roundup of recommended books for “African American Scholars.”