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Book cover: Diversity in Higher Education

Diversity in Higher Education

ISSN: 1479-3644
Series editor(s): Professor Henry T. Frierson

Subject Area: Education

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African American Women in Community Colleges: Overcoming Challenges and Seizing Opportunities

Document Information:
Title:African American Women in Community Colleges: Overcoming Challenges and Seizing Opportunities
Author(s):Amanda A. Turner
Volume:8 Editor(s): Crystal Renée Chambers ISBN: 978-0-85724-943-2 eISBN: 978-0-85724-944-9
Citation:Amanda A. Turner (2011), African American Women in Community Colleges: Overcoming Challenges and Seizing Opportunities, in Crystal Renée Chambers (ed.) Support Systems and Services for Diverse Populations: Considering the Intersection of Race, Gender, and the Needs of Black Female Undergraduates (Diversity in Higher Education, Volume 8), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.163-183
DOI:10.1108/S1479-3644(2011)0000008013 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article type:Chapter Item

The first community college, Joliet Junior College, was founded in 1901 by William Rainey Harper, an early president of the University of Chicago as a means of providing an associate degree for students (Geller, 2001). As with many higher education institutions of that period, enrollment was limited to a select group. With the introduction of the G. I. Bill after World War II, community colleges began to thrive in the United States as more servicemen began to pursue training. Researchers suggest that community colleges have evolved through various stages: extension of secondary schools, junior colleges, community colleges, comprehensive community colleges, and now learning community colleges (O'Banion, 1997; Tillery & Deegan, 1985). Consistently, the public community college has at the core of its mission a focus on access – open admission regardless of ethnicity, gender, or social economic status. This open admission policy contributes to the attractiveness of community colleges for many students, particularly adults and women. They were designed to meet students at their individual point of entry and help to prepare them for the workforce or transfer to a Baccalaureate degree granting institution (Lanni, 1997). They offer flexible course scheduling, lower educational costs, smaller classroom settings, and more intimate contact with faculty and staff members than many of the larger universities (Lundberg, 2003; Ness, 2003). Additionally, they provide occupational training for individuals seeking to increase employability skills, as well as educational opportunities for underprepared students in a diverse environment.

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