Gunder Myran, PhD

Gunder Myran, PhD

Hall of Fame Class of 2009

Gunder Myran, PhD has been a national leader for the past 48 years in the community college field in general and the adult and continuing education field in particular. He is regarded as the “father” of adult and continuing education in the community college for his seminal work during the 1960s and 1970s as a professor in the Kellogg Community College Leadership Program at Michigan State University in creating a new definition for community services and adult and continuing education that provided the conceptual framework for the national movement of community colleges from campus-based to community-based institutions.  

Hundreds of practitioners have used his publications to guide the development of adult and continuing education programs. His role as a founder of the National Council for Continuing Education and Training (NCCET) and an early chair of the organization’s board of directors are additional examples of his influence in shaping the contours of adult and continuing education in the community college. 

Since the 1970’s, Dr. Myran has continued to influence national community college directions through his role as a community college president and his writing, teaching, consulting, and speaking. For example, AACC is publishing his book on re-inventing the community college open door this summer.  His contribution is symbolized by his recognition in 2000 by the NCCET with a lifetime achievement award. 

Dr. Myran’s greatest contribution to the adult and continuing education field is that he has, for over 40 years, been a pivotal national figure in the transformation of community colleges from campus-based to community-based institutions. Throughout his career, starting with his seminal work as a professor at Michigan State University, he has been an advocate for democratizing and diversifying the programs and services of the community college. 

In the 1974 reprint of his book, Community Services in the Community College, Dr. Myran states that “Providing educational services to individuals and groups without being wed to traditional academic forms such as credits, semesters or quarters, and grades has found a responsive new clientele. Students seeking job upgrading or expanding avocational interests found these new programs of community colleges suited to the natural grain of their lives. Unlike traditional collegiate programs, continuing education and community services represented for many adults an approach to re-entering the educational sphere and to easily merging educational experiences with work, family, and other live experiences.” 

Through his writing, teaching, consulting, and speaking, Dr. Myran has been a leader in moving adult and continuing education principles, concepts, and programs from a position of marginality in the community college to a position of centrality. In the 1960’s, the typical community college adult education offering was a modest number of evening credit classes. Today, adult and continuing education programs that embrace both individual and community development, hold a central place in nearly every community college. 

Following his service on the faculty of Michigan State, Dr. Myran became president of Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan where he served for 23 years. During his tenure, WCC became a model for community-based education with adult and continuing education as a central focus. For several years, Dr. Myran served as an adjunct profession in the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Michigan. Following his retirement as president of Washtenaw Community College in 1998, he formed the consultant firm of Myran and Associates. 

He has served as a consultant to a number of community colleges and universities, and currently has a long-term consulting relationship with the Wayne County Community College District. Dr. Myran also serves on the national advisory board planning a community college leadership program at Ferris State University (Big Rapids, Michigan).

Dr. Myran is the author of a number of books, chapters of books, and articles. Soon to be published by AACC is his new book, Reinventing the Open Door: Transformational Strategies for Community Colleges. He edited Leadership Strategies for Community College Executives in 2003 and Community College Leadership for the New Century in 1995. Dr. Myran has been one of the founders of three national community college organizations that continue to thrive today: the national COMBASE consortium, the Continuous Quality Improvement Network (CQIN), and the National Council for Continuing Education and Training (NCCET).