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OCCRL the New Home for National Community College Organization

by Sal Nudo, OCCRL / Dec 17, 2019


College of Education at Illinois’ Office of Community College Research and Leadership selected as new headquarters for the Council for the Study of Community Colleges.

The Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL) on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus will be the new headquarters for the Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC) starting January 1, 2020.

OCCRL is an initiative of the College of Education at Illinois, where Dr. James D. Anderson serves as dean. Anderson said the joining together of two longstanding community college research entities whose missions are closely aligned will foster growth at CSCC and increase OCCRL’s public engagement capacity.

“We look forward to assisting CSCC and furthering our reach in the realms of research, leadership, and practice to create equitable outcomes for students and the improvement of institutions in Illinois and beyond,” he said.

Dr. Eboni Zamani-Gallaher, director of OCCRL since 2014 and CSCC’s executive director beginning January 1, said OCCRL is excited to serve as the administrative hub for CSCC.

“As one of the longest-running research centers for community colleges, OCCRL is an ideal home for The Council for the Study of Community Colleges,” she said.  

Both organizations hope to build upon the productive collaboration CSCC had with the University of North Texas (UNT) for six years, which led to CSCC’s highest membership level to date and the organization’s largest number of conference attendees in 2019.

“CSCC is infinitely grateful to our colleagues at the University of North Texas,” said CSCC president Mark D’Amico. “We are a stronger organization for the leadership and service of Dr. Beverly Bower as executive director and Sue Young as administrative coordinator.”  

Prior to the UNT collaboration, CSCC was housed on the UCLA campus for several decades. Future goals going forward include:

  • Building upon decades of convening leaders who are focused on community colleges
  • Expanding membership while embracing the focus on scholars, practitioner-scholars, community college leaders, and doctoral students
  • Establishing new partnerships and collaborations

CSCC Executive Director Beverly Bower said she will be retiring from the organization but leaving it under the capable direction of Dr. Zamani-Gallaher and the OCCRL team.

“Dr. Zamani-Gallaher is a talented professional who has a longtime involvement with and a commitment to CSCC,” she said. “Given her familiarity with and dedication to this organization, I am certain CSCC will blossom and grow in wonderful ways under her leadership.”

CSCC is an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges and a project of the Center for the Study of Community Colleges. Since 1957, the organization has conducted and disseminated research pertaining to community colleges and has served as a forum for dialogue among university professors, graduate students, and community college practitioners who study community colleges. The organization also recognizes the research, service, and publications surrounding community college education.

The mission of OCCRL, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, is to improve policies, programs, and practices that enhance community college education and the transition to college, further education, and gainful employment for diverse learners worldwide. OCCRL contributes to the professional development of graduate students through training and development in conducting and disseminating research related to community colleges.

Regina Garza-Mitchell, president-elect of the CSCC board, said OCCRL was selected as the new headquarters after a rigorous application process.

“OCCRL and Dr. Zamani-Gallaher have a long history and involvement with CSCC and are a great fit for the organization,” she said. “We look forward to a long relationship that will move CSCC forward in the best possible way for our members.”