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Welcome to the Terry O'Banion Archive on Community Colleges

Terry O'Banion is one of the most prolific and provocative writers on the community college in the history of the community college. The most important of his more than 300 documents are featured here for anyone interested in the community college but especially for:

  • Community college administrators, faculty, and trustees committed to improving and expanding student success

  • Higher education scholars and graduate students committed to research

  • Staff in professional associations, foundations, and policy centers committed to championing the community college

You may access all the publications here free of charge and make them available to anyone you wish. The publications are organized into categories that reflect O’Banion’s priorities such as Learning College, Student Success, Rogue Trustees & Curmudgeons, Community Colleges, General/Liberal Education, etc.

Meet Terry

In a 1998 survey of 11,000 higher education leaders, Change magazine named Terry O'Banion one of eleven "Idea Champions"—leaders who set the agenda for all of higher education. O'Banion was the only community college leader on the list.

Over six decades, O'Banion has been one of the most prolific writers in the community college world and often one of the most provocative.  He has written 18 books, 24 monographs and reports, 28 chapters, and 230 articles, and he has consulted on topics he has written about in over 1,000 community colleges in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates. As of 2023, readers from 133 countries have accessed Terry O’Banion’s publications. For his work, six national awards have been created in his name.

O’Banion has influenced the field in his steadfast efforts to expand opportunities for community college students by challenging administrators and faculty to place student learning as the primary value in the community college. He has described himself as a provocateur, explaining that a “provocateur in the field of education proposes what can enhance learning and exposes what reduces learning” and “challenges what is to create what can be.” He says, “A provocateur is an advocate, reformer, provoker, proponent, and challenger,” and his publications reflect these beliefs.

O’Banion began his community college career as a dean of students at then Central Florida Junior College in Ocala, Florida, in 1960 and has been deeply committed to the community college's open door and inclusive values throughout his career. He is driven by the need to make an impact, to make a difference, and that has been his criteria for every job he has held, from a dean of students at Central Florida and Santa Fe College (FL) and Vice Chancellor of Education for the Dallas Community Colleges to professor of higher education at Illinois, Berkeley, Texas, Walden, and Kansas State and president of the League for Innovation in the Community College for 23 years.
Wanting to make a difference is reflected in his writings. The selected publications on this website have been read by thousands of community college educators and are now made available for thousands more in the future. At the age of 87, Terry O’Banion is still a prolific and provocative spokesperson for the community college, producing 10 or more articles a year.


What Higher Education Leaders Say about Terry O'Banion


"Few individuals are as qualified to identify, analyze, and put into context the key concepts that drive the contemporary community college as is Terry O'Banion. As CEO of the League for Innovation in the Community College for 23 years, a prolific author of seminal works for the two-year college sector, and an engaged and engaging presenter, O’Banion has few equals. He has been a recognized thought leader and a passionate defender of community colleges for more than six decades."

--Walter Bumphus, President and CEO, American Association of
Community Colleges

"I have known my good friend and colleague, Terry O'Banion, for over five decades and have watched him become one of the most provocative and prolific community college leaders in the nation. He has opened up new vistas by studying and writing about rogue trustees, community college curmudgeons, merging career and technical education with the liberal arts, leaders who disturb the universe, and the learning college for which I wrote the Preface for his seminal work A Learning College for the 21st Century. As the long-time executive director of the League for Innovation in the Community College and as a writer, scholar, and insightful observer of the community college scene, Terry O'Banion has a broad perspective, possessed by few people, of the role of community colleges in education. And because he is a popular speaker and consultant to individual colleges, he also brings to this task a working knowledge of how individual colleges deal with the practical realities and exciting challenges of change."

--K. Patricia Cross, Endowed Professor Emerita,Harvard University and The University of California, Berkeley

"It would be impossible to list all of the research and development initiatives that Dr. O’Banion fostered. His impact on the nation’s community colleges is profound. I can think of no other scholar whose work has had greater positive impact on community colleges and the millions of students who attend our institutions each year."

--John E. Roueche, Executive Director, Roueche Center for Community Colleges, Kansas State University

"The Phi Theta Kappa Board of Directors has voted unanimously to invite Terry O'Banion to become an International Honorary Member of Phi Theta Kappa which is the highest honor provided a non-member. As a true community college pioneer, we are honored to recognize him. Over the course of his historic career, he contributed to the growth and success of community colleges in so many ways. I consider his 1997 publication, A Learning College for the 21st Century, the genesis moment of the modern student success movement—a movement that encourages colleges to focus more than on accessibility by helping students through and to completion of their degrees. In doing this, he helped create Phi Theta Kappa’s operational framework—we thank him for that!"

--Lynn Tincher-Ladner, President and CEO, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society

Publications: Organized by Theme

*Note: Open access to a selection of the following articles is generously provided by the publishers. We kindly request that any references to these articles appropriately cite the original publication dates and publications. Special thanks to the American College Personnel Association, Community College EnterpriseEDUCAUSE, Inside Higher Ed, The League for Innovation in the Community College, NACADA, Journal of Higher Education, American Association of Community Colleges, Association of Community College Trustees, AACRAO, Community College League of California, Community College Review, Diverse, Evolllution, Faculty Association of California Community Colleges, Community College Week, AAC&U, NISOD, and OCCRL.

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