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Books by Carrie B. Kisker

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Combining historical perspective with in-depth coverage of current events, the 3rd edition of The Shaping of American Higher Education offers an authoritative account of the past, present, and future of higher education in the United States. Readers will gain a thorough understanding of trends in student access and equity, faculty professionalization, curricular expansion, institutional growth, college administration and governance, public and private funding, outcomes, and accountability.

Much has happened in American higher education since the 2nd edition of this text was published in 2009. This streamlined new edition discusses contemporary colleges and universities within a broader societal context characterized by political polarization, social fragmentation, and distrust of government and public institutions, and illustrates how twenty-first century institutions are grappling with issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice; responding to decades of state and local disinvestment by engaging in public-private partnerships and other entrepreneurial ventures; and shedding historical precedents to educate and train learners in new ways. The book concludes with predictions for the future and an analysis of the challenges and opportunities that await higher education leaders, faculty, students, and policymakers.

Praise for the Third Edition of The Shaping of American Higher Education

"The Shaping of American Higher Education, Third Edition, could not have come at a better time for faculty, staff, and students. Kisker expertly weaves higher education's nuanced history with the contemporary challenges that will no doubt shape its future."

-- Dr. Ashley Finley, Vice President of Research and Senior Advisor to the President, AAC&U

"An outstanding achievement. If you want to understand how higher education works, and how it has worked and changed over time, read this book. Required reading for students and leaders of higher education and for all those who wish to truly understand our nation's colleges and universities."

-- Jeremy C. Young, Program Director, Freedom to Learn, PEN America

"Carrie Kisker's new edition of The Shaping of American Higher Education enhances this classic's long tradition of exceptional scholarship, clear presentation, and comprehensive coverage, and further confirms this work as essential reading for an understanding of the complicated trajectory of a fundamental American enterprise."

-- Dr. John V. Lombardi, President Emeritus, University of Florida

"In The Shaping of American Higher Education, Third Edition, Carrie Kisker honors Arthur Cohen's legacy by showing us the antecedents of modern higher education and extends the work into a thorough and highly relevant discussion of profound change in the contemporary era. This volume is for intellectually curious scholars, leaders, and learners seeking historical insights and nuanced understanding of where we have been in order to advance higher education's future."

-- Dr. Mark. M. D'Amico, Professor of Higher Education, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte


The American Community College, now in its seventh edition, has long been the go-to reference for current and aspiring administrators, policymakers, faculty, trustees, and researchers concerned with the role of community colleges in the United States. This comprehensive book covers the services community colleges provide, their impact on students and surrounding communities, and how they are approaching contemporary issues related to equity, sustainability, and student success.


Written by leading researchers in the field, this seventh edition has been thoroughly revised with a greater focus on equitable approaches to serving students and communities and the social role of these important institutions. Additional updates include coverage of collaborations with community, economic, and workforce development organizations; a greater focus on entrepreneurship and innovation; recent efforts to improve student persistence and attainment through guided pathways and equity-minded student supports; and the growing emphasis on preparing a skilled workforce via noncredit training, credit for prior learning, non-degree credentials, and community college baccalaureate programs. Each chapter includes guiding questions for reflection and discussion, making this an ideal textbook or training resource. As community colleges grow in significance, The American Community College keeps step with the very latest research and institutional changes.

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Praise for the Seventh Edition of The American Community College

“Serving as a primer for all things community college for the past four decades, Dr. Carrie Kisker delivers a timely update to this seminal piece, The American Community College.  College leaders and faculty who read this new edition will explore community college trends along with best practices to help successfully navigate the new realities of a post-pandemic world.”

Dr. Steven R. Gonzales, Chancellor, Maricopa Community Colleges

“Kisker artfully captures the community college movement by examining its origins, its complexity in operation, its aspirations and the perspectives of critical friends who desire to see the movement flourish.  Mandatory reading for any postsecondary professional.”

Dr. Christopher M. Mullin, Lumina Foundation and author, Community College Finance


The American Community College, 7th Edition chronicles the community college enterprise from its origins to the contemporary landscape. Carrie B. Kisker’s latest iteration offers readers the breadth of earlier editions yet greater depth relative to the evolving nuances of enrollment management, funding/resource development, shared governance, curriculum, academic equity, and student success in an ever-changing higher learning environment.”

Dr. Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher, Professor and Associate Dean for Equity, Justice, and Strategic Partnerships, University of Pittsburgh, and Executive Director, Council for the Study of Community Colleges


“For over four decades this book has been the gold standard for information on the community college, and now with Carrie Kisker’s exceptional 7th edition that standard is ensured for many years to come.”

Dr. Terry O’Banion, President Emeritus, League for Innovation in the Community College and Senior Professor of Practice, Kansas State University

“I have long used The American Community College in the graduate school courses that I teach. Carrie Kisker has updated this important volume in ways that make it even more relevant and useful for future community college leaders. She has done so by calling on her 20 years of experience that have straddled research and practice—and with heartfelt personal gratitude and respect for those who came before her in authoring prior editions. She has honored their legacy extraordinarily well.”

Dr. Lawrence Nespoli, former President of the NJ Council of County Colleges

Creating Entrepreneurial Community Colle

In Creating Entrepreneurial Community Colleges, published in 2021, Carrie B. Kisker illustrates how institutions can utilize design thinking to identify and evaluate entrepreneurial opportunities and experiment with the internal changes necessary to optimize outcomes for stakeholders. Kisker outlines a process whereby college leaders can empower faculty and staff to think creatively about how to reduce their institution’s dependence on state allocations in ways that are not only consistent with the college’s mission and values, but also provide the greatest likelihood for institutional and student success.

By telling the stories of several influential community college leaders’ experiences with entrepreneurship—using design thinking as a framework for understanding their successes and failures—Kisker provides a roadmap for colleges to move beyond their historical pattern of incremental responses to external pressures and instead begin to innovate in creative, mission-oriented ways.

Praise for Creating Entrepreneurial Community Colleges

"In this engaging book, Carrie Kisker wows us with the stories, data, and practices of a rural community college in Iowa and urban ones in Phoenix, Orlando, and Fort Worth that are using design thinking to create opportunity for students and prosperity for communities."

―Rebecca A. Corbin, president and CEO, National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship

"Kisker highlights the work of community college innovators who involved wide-ranging stakeholders—including faculty, college administrators, and employers—in collaborative ventures that respond to community needs while at the same time generating badly needed revenues. The result is a compelling analysis of how community college leaders might sustain institutional commitment to community betterment even as government appropriations decline."

―James C. Palmer, professor emeritus of higher education, Illinois State University

"Carrie Kisker’s work with four of our exemplar community colleges could not be better timed as we look toward a post-COVID era for community colleges. It will help largely risk-averse cultures purposefully forge new, more entrepreneurial futures for our Digital Age of constant, rapid change that is transforming our college landscape before our very eyes." 

―Kevin Drumm, founding board chairman, National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, and president, SUNY Broome Community College

Edited Volumes and Chapters

by Carrie B. Kisker


All Books, Chapters, and Edited Volumes by Carrie B. Kisker

Kisker, C. B., and Cohen, A. M. (2024). The shaping of American higher education: Emergence and growth of the contemporary system (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Kisker, C. B., Cohen, A. M., and Brawer, F. B. (2023). The American community college (7th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 

Kisker, C. B. (2021). Creating entrepreneurial community colleges. A design thinking approach. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Kisker, C. B., & Kater, S. T. (2021). Contemporary challenges and opportunities in U.S. community college governance. In M. A. Peters and R. Heraud, (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Educational Innovation. New York: Springer. 

Kisker, C. B., Theis, J. J., & Olivas, A. O. (2019). Enacting democracy in 'democracy's colleges.' In N. V. Longo & T. J. Shaffer, (Eds.), Creating space for democracy: A primer on dialogue and deliberation in higher education (pp. 275-284). Sterling, VA: Stylus. 

Kater, S. T., & Kisker, C. B. (2018). Redefining shared responsibility: Shared governance in the twenty-first century community college. In J. S. Levin and S. T. Kater, (Eds.), Understanding community colleges (2nd ed., pp. 227-246). New York: Routledge. 

Cohen, A. M., & Kisker, C. B. (2018) Functions, organization, and contemporary challenges of the American community college. In R. L. Raby & E. J. Valeau, (Eds.), Handbook of comparative studies on community colleges and global counterparts (pp. 361-380). New York: Springer.

Ronan, B. L., & Kisker, C. B. (Eds.). (2016). Civic learning and democratic engagement. New directions for community colleges, no. 173. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Kisker, C. B., & Ronan, B. L. (2016). Introduction. In B. L. Ronan & C. B. Kisker, (Eds.), Civic learning and democratic engagement. New directions for community colleges, no. 173 (pp. 7-11). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Kisker, C. B. (2016). An inventory of civic programs and practices. In B. L. Ronan & C. B. Kisker, (Eds.), Civic learning and democratic engagement. New directions for community colleges, no. 173 (pp. 13-21). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Kisker, C. B., Newell, M.A., & Weintraub, D. S. (2016). The civic outcomes of community college. In B. L. Ronan & C. B. Kisker, (Eds.), Civic learning and democratic engagement. New directions for community colleges, no. 173 (pp. 103-110). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Cohen, A. M., Brawer, F. B., & Kisker, C. B. (2014). The American community college (6th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Kisker, C. B., & Gragg, J. (2014). Arizona. In J. N. Friedel, S. Katsinas, E. Miller, & J. Killacky, (Eds.), Fifty state systems of community colleges. Fourth edition: Mission, governance, funding, and accountability (pp. 11-18). Johnson City, TN: The Overmountain Press.

Kisker, C, B., & Wagoner, R. L. (Eds.). (2013). Implementing transfer associate degrees: Perspectives from the states. New directions for community colleges, no. 160. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 

Wagoner, R. L., & Kisker, C. B. (2013). Editors' Notes. In C. B. Kisker & R. L. Wagoner, (Eds.), Implementing transfer associate degrees: Perspectives from the states. New directions for community colleges, no. 160 (pp. 1-4). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 

Kisker, C. B., & Wagoner, R. L. (2013). Elements of effective transfer associate degrees. In C. B. Kisker & R. L. Wagoner, (Eds.), Implementing transfer associate degrees: Perspectives from the states. New directions for community colleges, no. 160 (pp. 5-12). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 

Wagoner, R. L., & Kisker, C. B. (2013). Putting the pieces together and asking the hard questions: Transfer associate degrees in perspective. In C. B. Kisker & R. L. Wagoner, (Eds.), Implementing transfer associate degrees: Perspectives from the states. New directions for community colleges, no. 160 (pp. 91-104). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 

Kisker, C. B., & Kater, S. T. (2012). Deconstructing governance and expectations for the community college. In J. S. Levin & Susan T. Kater, (Eds.), Understanding community colleges (pp. 153-170). New York: Routledge.

Cohen, A. M., & Kisker, C. B. (2010). The shaping of American higher education: Emergence and growth of the contemporary system. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 

Kisker, C. B. (2008). Integrating high school and the community college: Previous efforts and current possibilities. In B. S. Stern & M. L. Kysilka, (Eds.), Contemporary readings in curriculum (pp. 91-99). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 

Kisker, C. B., & Hauser, P. (2007). Partnering to move students into college and community-oriented careers: The administration of justice department at East Los Angeles College. In M. Amey (Ed.), Collaborations across educational sectors. New directions for community colleges, no. 139 (pp. 29-39). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 

Kisker, C. B. (2006). Integrating high school and community college. A historical policy analysis. Doctoral dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles. UMI No. 3247442

Kisker, C. B. (2005). Key resources for student affairs professionals in learning-centered community colleges. In S. R. Helfgot & M. M. Culp, (Eds.), Community college student affairs: What really matters. New directions for community colleges, no. 131 (pp. 89-98). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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