American Sociological Association

Community Colleges: Great Places to Start and Great Places to Stay

April 26, 2017

By Rebecca Romo, Santa Monica College

“We all need to start somewhere,” and “Start there, and then move on,” are two of the statements that were said to me after telling colleagues at the ASA that I was hired full-time at Santa Monica College, a public community college located in Santa Monica, California. These statements speak to the subordination and lack of respect that community college professors sometimes encounter in our profession. Not only is community college a great place to start, it is also a great place to stay and to grow professionally. I chose to teach at the community college level because these institutions prioritize students, because they are family-friendly, and because of the kinds of students that I teach. 

When I was on the job market a few years ago, I applied to positions at R-1s, R-2s, liberal arts, and community colleges. While on the job market, I felt that I was prepared to work anywhere. After all, I was an ASA Minority Fellow, I had published a peer reviewed article, I had a few articles under review, a book contract with an academic press, and teaching and campus organizing experience. I went to a couple on-campus interviews, but I began hoping that I would be chosen by the community college jobs most of all.

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