In the heart of the community: foundation of a junior college
There has been much written on the topic of higher education in America. All facets from formation to expansion to experimentation to controversial issues in institutions of higher education have been discussed and dissected. However, one of the most compelling higher educational topics is the emergence and development of the junior college. This educational innovation is particularly American and formed in the early years of the twentieth century. The two-year college is purported to have been founded in 1901, and the institution today shows great variety and responsiveness to its communities. The early versions of the two-year institution sought to provide basic coursework that students could transfer to a university, but over time two-year institutional offerings expanded to include terminal degrees as well as technical education. The two-year college was then and is now, responsive to the social and economic needs of the communities that they served. The emergence of Snead Junior College is illustrative of the development of two-year institutions. Snead evolved from a private Methodist Episcopal elementary and high school and become a junior college in 1935. The foundation laid by educational missionaries allowed for the institution’s early transformation into a two-year college. The challenges that were faced were both local and national in scope, but with planning and determination Snead Junior College was founded. Today, the institution is still providing educational opportunities to the people in northeast Alabama as a community college, operating as Snead State Community College.