|With Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s blessing, the City Colleges of Chicago on Thursday dumped the presidents of Malcolm X, Olive-Harvey, Truman and Wright Colleges and issued a mandate to boost the system’s seven percent graduation rate and reverse an enrollment decline that defies industry trends.
Emanuel said the new college presidents chosen after a nationwide search will have the autonomy to tailor solutions to the needs of students. But they will be held accountable for improving student performance.
“You cannot continue with [a] seven percent graduation rate. You cannot continue with a system … with a declining enrollment when everybody else during the recession was seeing dramatic increases,” Emanuel told a news conference at Harold Washington College.
“We owe the taxpayers — and most importantly the students — a better community college system. … Now, we have new leadership that will be focused on the academics, focused on the quality, focused on the students — not entering, but graduating. Too many of the students were dropping out.”
City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman argued that what’s needed to reverse the enrollment decline is to “change the brand, change the perception” of City Colleges. But, she said, “we can only do that by changing what we offer” and new college presidents are the key to that.