Dr. Robert Templin has been honoring and advancing the field of adult and continuing education for more than 40 years. As the recently retired of Northern Virginia Community College’s six campuses, he has become a legend and role model for others in his commitment to collaborative endeavors between postsecondary education, the corporate world, and civil society, including an array of non-governmental and community-based organizations, nonprofits, and philanthropic organizations. Today he serves as a professor and an executive in residence in the Adult and Community College Education program at North Carolina State University.
Templin’s demonstrated leadership has brought disparate parties together, influencing policy making and best practices and introducing needed programs and initiatives. He has served on numerous business and nonprofit boards, produced more than 20 publications and more than 50 professional presentations and papers, gained visibility for the adult learner, the community college movement, and adult lifelong learning. Moreover, he has led partnerships to effect change, such as enabling low income individuals to receive degrees and become gainfully employed. He has been influential in a recommendation he made to the U.S. President, resulting in the establishment of the President’s Community-Based Job Training Grant Program, providing $125 million annually to America’s community colleges. Most recently he was named a “Champion of Change” by the White House for his contributions to adult and community college education.
One of Templin’s greatest accomplishments in the field was the development of a successful model where capabilities of community-based nonprofit organizations (CBOs) merge with those of community colleges (CCs) to lift adults out of poverty. He hypothesized that by jointly committing to common outcomes and redesigning programs together CCs and CBOs could serve greater numbers of more diverse adult learners with significantly better outcomes at a declining cost per learner. He approached the headquarters of Goodwill Industries International, proposing that the nation’s largest system of postsecondary education (community colleges) and the nation’s largest nonprofit adult training organization (Goodwill) embrace a common outcome for low-income and disabled Americans, and together they could have an impact that neither could have alone. In 2008, under Templin’s leadership, Goodwill Industries International and the American Association of Community Colleges launched what today is known as the C4 Initiative (Community College Career Collaborative). Currently, over 90 American cities enjoy community college-Goodwill operating partnerships.
Adding to the visibility of the field, his work is often published in sources such as the Community College Journal, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, American Council on Education, and others, whilehis professional presentations include many keynote addresses spanning professional associations, academic venues, national summits, and other arenas. He has been recognized with many awards acknowledging his accomplishments in education, global leadership, excellence in government, business, and commitment to the immigrant community.
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