Through funding made possible by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and in partnership with the Rural Community College Alliance (RCCA), the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) is working to strengthen rural community colleges. Our project builds on ACCT’s prior work through the Strengthening Rural Community Colleges report that engaged rural community college presidents and trustees to gather information about the challenges faced by these institutions. One of the findings of this work was that rural colleges did not feel that they had a way to connect with one another to share ideas and discuss issues. They also expressed concern over the many barriers to accessing federal grant funding.
One of the components of our project is the creation of a Rural Community College Peer Learning Network, which serves as a way for rural community college leaders to share best practices, institutional experiences, and processes. The Rural Community College Peer Learning Network serves in conjunction with our monthly webinars and an opportunity to learn directly from other rural community colleges. Also, this is an opportunity for rural community colleges to learn how similar institutions operate while providing supportive resources to potentially utilize.