Back

The community college landscape has changed over the last couple of years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Recent national research centers reveal that community colleges have faced student enrollment declines due to the pandemic and economic uncertainty (Huie, et al., 2021). With a closer look at these declines, students of color (e.g., African American, and Hispanic) had the largest enrollment declines (Huie, et al., 2021). Scholars have noted that community colleges provide the most accessible pathways for these students due to open admissions policies (Ocean, et al., 2022), flexible class offerings (Grosz, et al., 2022), and affordable tuition rates (Hallberg et al., 2022). Nonetheless, previous admissions policies (e.g., re-enrollment guidelines), teaching practices (e.g., in-person classroom attendance), or outreach programs (e.g., orientation sessions) are no longer sufficient to reverse the enrollment declines, lower persistence progress, or declining degree (or credentials) completion rates. These challenges compel community college leaders (e.g., Board of Trustee members, central administration, and academic deans) to create an institutional narrative to address the declining enrollment trends and educational outcomes, specifically for racial/ethnic minoritized student groups3 . The purpose of this policy brief is to highlight the brave and essential conversations of Texas community college leaders to advance an equity-minded agenda for racial/ethnic minoritized student groups during the pandemic era. The guiding principle of this brief is to illustrate the importance of community college leadership engaged in critical conversations to shape institutional policies, programs, and practices to improve the educational experiences for these students.