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President Mellow Honored for Advancing the Public Image of U.S. Community Colleges, for Essay in Baltimore Sun

Long Island City, NY (April 3, 2017)—LaGuardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow has been selected as a winner of the 2017 Public Image of the Two-Year College Award (the “Fame” award), from the Two-Year College English Association (TYCA) of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Dr. Mellow shares this award with DeRionne Pollard, president of Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland. They were selected for an essay they co-authored and published in the February 20, 2017 issue of the Baltimore Sun, “ Community Colleges Can Heal a Divided America.” In the award notification, TYCA noted that their article “exemplifies the type of work honored by the Public Image of Two-Year Colleges Committee,” and recognized their continued advocacy of the two-year college.

Dr. Mellow and Dr. Pollard’s essay was a response to the polarization throughout our communities following the 2016 presidential election. They write that because of the inclusiveness, affordability, and high-quality academics available at community colleges, that they are potential places of “dialogue and healing.”

As they write, “Almost without notice community colleges have become the one place where diverse groups meet in search of a common end: opportunity. There are 1,100 community colleges in the U.S., serving almost half the undergraduates in the nation. Sixty-two percent of community college students work while going to college, despite financial aid from federal and state governments. These are students who are living the realities of low-wage service jobs in urban sectors, shuttered production plants in the Midwest and collapsing family farms in the south. In the classrooms of our colleges, discussions of inequality, racism and immigration don't need the "trigger warnings" so hotly debated in some universities; our students live them every day.

Now is the time to ask community colleges to advance the American ideal of e pluribus unum —from many, one. We must lead the movement to understand the "other" in all of our communities, to renounce efforts to vilify one another for narrow political advantage. As college presidents, we call on our national leaders to work to preserve the opportunity for Americans to learn and train without exorbitant debt, to build careers and work productively with dignity.”

The TYCA Fame Award was established to publicly acknowledge the best positive mention of the two-year college appearing in any media during the previous year. The award gives credit to reporters, writers, filmmakers and others who seek out and publicize exemplary students, faculty, programs, campuses, and/or recognize the two-year college system.

An announcement of the award to Dr. Mellow and Dr. Pollard was made during the TYCA Breakfast at the 2017 Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) Convention in Portland, Oregon, and it is also posted on the National TYCA website. For more about TCYA’s Fame Award, click here.

To read the Baltimore Sun essay coauthored by Dr. Mellow and Dr. Pollard, click here.

 Two-Year College English Association (TYCA) of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)


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