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Professor and student co-edit community college reference guide

BOONE—A new book co-edited by four community college experts, including two at Appalachian State University, lays out state-by-state, comparative data on two-year higher education systems at a time when state legislatures consider new funding options and accountability measures.

View larger imageDoctoral student Emily Miller with her mentor, Dr. Jim Killacky. Together they co-edited a book on community college systems in the U.S. with faculty from the University of Alabama and Iowa State University. (Photo by Susan Musilli)View larger image

“Fifty State Systems of Community Colleges: Mission, Governance, Funding, & Accountability” published by The Overmountain Press serves as a quick-reference guide for policymakers, educational administrators, college trustees and higher education scholars.

The book is co-edited by Appalachian State University doctoral student Emily Miller and retired Appalachian professor Dr. Jim Killacky, along with University of Alabama’s Dr. Stephen Katsinas and Iowa State University’s Janice Friedel.

Called an “excellent resource” and a “must read” by the editor in chief of the Community College Journal of Research and Practice, the book is particularly relevant because each state developed its own community college system without a common model to follow. Readers can compare the political and financial aspects of various administrative systems and understand their challenges and opportunities.

“As we collected information about the various states’ community college systems, I was astonished at the many different ways the college systems functioned, and I recognize the value of having the data compiled in one text. As state systems transition, an exploration of the state of community colleges in the nation is particularly warranted,” said Miller, who has taught curriculum and continuing education courses at North Carolina community colleges since 2000.

“Since the last edition was published in 1999, there have been lots of major changes in the community college world,” said Killacky, who retired in June 2013 as professor and director of Appalachian’s doctoral program in educational leadership.

Overall, there has been a shift in focus from accessibility to workforce development. In addition, the Iowa Board of Regents and the Missouri Senate are considering appropriating money to schools according to their performance measures. In Oregon and Tennessee, lawmakers are considering offering free tuition to all community college students. The City University of New York is asking why many community college credits don’t transfer to four-year universities.

An up-to-date overview of the state of community college systems is significant, Killacky said, because these systems provide education to millions of people who otherwise might not have access to postsecondary education, and who in many cases go on to further education.

Miller, who graduates in May, served as Killacky’s research assistant while working on her doctorate. The pair said this collaboration was a natural fit.

“Emily, who has a rich teaching background in community colleges, made priceless contributions to this edition, through careful review and editing of state chapters, and her expertise on a variety of technological matters were vital in working with the publisher in the final production of the text. For me, working with Emily over four years was a major reason why my time at Appalachian was the very best job I have ever had. This project was a rich contribution to that overall stimulating scholarly and professional mix,” Killacky said.

“Appalachian’s program in educational leadership is truly a transformative experience. I was lucky enough to spend several years working with a wonderful mentor, Dr. Jim Killacky, and was in classes with great thinkers, educators and instructors. The collegial environment has had a profound and lasting effect on both my personal life and my career,” Miller said.

Appalachian’s doctoral program in educational leadership prepares students for leadership roles in public schools, community colleges and universities. Students are encouraged to apply theory to practice in conducting research and constructing knowledge to improve educational systems and inform social change.

To order “Fifty State Systems of Community Colleges,” visit or call 800-992-2691.