o you believe in miracles?  Do you cheer when a story ends in 
"they lived happily ever after"? Or, do you think it is possible 
for an institution to be "all things to all people"? If you 
answered "yes", "maybe", or even "sometimes" to the questions 
above, you are likely a promoter and a believer in the community 
college system and the authors within this special edition of AEQ 
have written their articles, essays, and research reports for you.  

Allow me to become a bit autobiographical and explain my special 
relationship to the community college and in so doing, make it 
clear WHY I volunteered to perform this labor of love. Like most 
Americans, I grew up in a home where money was not plentiful. I 
wanted to go to college but did not understand the financial aid 
system (the very idea of large loans sends waves of fear through 
most first-generation college students and their families). Hence 
my first association with the community college was as a young 
student earning my liberal arts credits. My second association 
with the community college soon followed as I elected to take an 
additional course during the summer between my junior and senior 
year while attending a 4-year liberal arts college .  In taking 
the course at the community college, I saved a great deal of 
tuition money and used my summer to gain an academic edge.

Move the story ahead to a young woman, now equipped with a bachelor's 
degree but disillusioned with the relatively few doors that the 
coveted degree opened.  I was educated, but not job-ready.  The 
solution of course, was a return to the community college.  As a 
reverse transfer student, I enrolled in a vocational program of 
electronics technology and began my third association with the 
community college - as a vocational education student.

My fourth association with the community college came a little later 
when I was in need of a part-time job.  I was hired to teach at the 
same community college I attended as a student.  My experiences, this 
time on the other side of the desk, helped me to understand the 
inner-workings of an institution as well as to deepen my appreciation 
even further.  A lifelong relationship was brewing and I knew it.  

Indeed, my fifth association with the community college can only be 
described as a continuing zest for lifelong learning.  As an adult I 
return to the community college periodically for enrichment and enjoyment.  
I have taken adult education courses in Spanish, dancing, and parenting. 
When in need of knowledge or recreation, the community college is there 
to provide a service.  

I am presently deeply involved in my sixth association with the community 
college.  As a professor of higher education at the University of Southern 
California I elected to chair a doctoral-level program specifically 
designed for community college teachers.  In addition to teaching the 
teachers, I perform research to discover ways to increase college access 
as well as transfer and retention rates.  Although my livelihood depends 
on the university, my career remains deeply entrenched with community 
colleges.  

Indeed there is a seventh association with the community college.  
Historically, the number seven has been used to signify perfection.  
There are seven days in a week, Seven Wonders of the World, seven colors 
in the rainbow, seven seas, and seven continents.  The term "Seventh 
Heaven", first used in a 1927 silent movie about a lonely Parisian sewer 
worker who found pleasure and love with a street waif, is used frequently 
to describe the ultimate in satisfaction.  Aptly my seventh association 
with the community college is being the subject editor of this special 
issue of AEQ.  It is my "seventh heaven" because I have been able to 
gather articles pertaining to each of my associations with the community 
college.  For example:

1. Liberal Arts Education  Ken Borland's Community Liberation via 
	the First Two Years' Curriculum makes an argument to promote 
	liberal education within the community college. Also, the 
	description of the Keystone Mathematics Project by Siadat, Musial, 
	and Sagher describes the important role of remediation within the 
	liberal arts curriculum.
2. Summer Sessioner  The article by Consuelo Rey Castro and me is 
	a study of why four-year college students continue to return to 
	the community college in the summer.
3. Vocational Education  Although Samuel Cotton's study does not 
	take place specifically in a community college, it addresses the 
	needs of vocational education. 
4. Instruction The team of Cambiano, De Vore, and Denny offer a 
	study pertaining to learning style preference of adult students. 
	Secondly, the article by Deborah Bice also provides some insight 
	to the classroom.  Technology and distance education and sure to 
	be a growing part of community college instruction.  For that 
	reason, the study by Beverly Bower communitycollege student 
	satisfaction with the online and teleclass experience is timely 
	and welcomed.
5. Lifelong Learning  Several of the articles in this edition 
	pertain to the on-going and complex role of the community college.  
	Specifically, Fran Newman's article on the role of student 
	services and Patrick Dilley's piece on diversity both speak to 
	the need to serve all students regardless of circumstance or 
	educational goal.  
6. Professional  The community college shares many aspects with 
	colleges in general.  Thus, the research to increase retention is 
	largely applicable.  Thus it is important to be mindful of studies 
	such as that presented by the team of Donald Lifton, Sandra Seay, 
	and Andrew Bushko.  Their study on student "hardiness" should be 
	taken seriously by both the community college and the four-year 
	college research community.  
7. Seventh Heaven  Finally there are articles in this edition that 
	attest to the many faces of the community college.  If you ever 
	wondered about the community colleges of Hawaii, you now have a 
	wonderful description written by Teresa Makuakane-Drechsel and 
	Gail Makuakane-Lundin. Berta Virgil Laden describes and studies 
	the successful community-college based program, Puente, dedicated 
	to assist students to obtain postsecondary education.  Lynn Pierce 
	describes service learning at her institution.  In addition, we 
	hear from the research team of Charles Outcalt, Barbara Tobolowsky, 
	and Patricia McDonough who examine the educational pathways 
	specifically for African American and Latino students.  Finally, 
	Athena Perrakis sums it up by giving voice to her community college 
	students.

As you read through these articles and the others included in this special 
edition, I urge you to consider the enormous role of the community college 
in American society in general and in your own life in specific.  In 
closing allow me to remind you that as an institution the community college 
is very young.  The first college, Joliet Junior College, was established 
in 1901.  In its first century of existence, the concept has become an 
American mainstay.  Today community colleges enroll about a third of all 
college students and serve over 60% of the nation's first and second year 
college students.  The community college has been called the "Ellis Island 
of Higher Education" because of its service to new entrants to the system. 
I invite you to continue the tradition of The Many Faces of the Community 
College by writing of your own experiences (both positive and negative) 
and submitting them to AE Extra (AEQ's online counterpart) for online 
publication.  Entries should be sent to the editor of AE Extra: 
 Athena Perrakis.  It is your turn to speak out!

Linda Serra Hagedorn, Ph.D
Subject Editor