Dr. Sydow’s Book

Revisioning Community CoverExtreme make-overs have value beyond the confines of reality television. This book presents a “no holds barred” analysis of the shape and direction of community colleges in a landscape of dramatic and unstoppable economic, social and political change. Re-visioning explores the ways that community colleges are or could innovate and recreate structures and systems to become leaders of an industry that is in the midst of transformation.


The very characteristics that have made community colleges simultaneously the outcasts and the darlings of higher education-open-access, low cost, convenience, community focus and responsiveness to local demand-have now positioned them for innovation and reinvention. Perpetually scarce resources and the accretion over time of inefficient programs, systems and practices common to the higher education industry have coalesced to impede the ability of most colleges to advance scalable and sustainable innovation. Change, particularly change that is innovation-driven, can defy the best efforts of leaders. Re-visioning highlights the people, the organizations and the cultures that are leading innovative change.


At a moment when community colleges are at once vulnerable and enjoying unprecedented public favor and attention, Re-visioning contemplates what future success could look like and how to get there. It presents a candid snapshot of the past and the present, and then attempts to adjust the lens to bring into focus the blurry outer reaches of the future. The ideas and insights of some of today’s leading thinkers and practitioners add nuance and texture to the image that emerges.