Brief History

The National Alliance of Community and Technical Colleges (NACTC), a consortium of community and technical colleges from across the nation, was first assembled in 1979 by the National Center for Research in Vocational Education (NCRVE) at Ohio State University. NCRVE sought out those community and technical colleges which were considered leaders in higher education and were forward-thinking and preparing for the future. The Alliance was asked to become an advisory group addressing post-secondary trends and issues.

In the 1980’s and the early 1990’s, the Alliance published on a wide variety of topics including competency based education, program evaluation, assessment, institutional effectiveness, tech prep, quality improvement, information technology and diversity, For several years, the Alliance conducted regional workshops on “cutting edge” topics attended by both member and non-member colleges.

In 1996, the Alliance realigned with North Carolina State University’s College of Education and Psychology. Dr. George A. Baker III, a professor in the Department of Adult and Community College Education at NC State, served as the executive director. The move allowed Alliance members to participate in the various programming offered by NC State, including the National Initiative for Leadership and Institutional Effectiveness (NILIE) program.

In 2003, the Alliance moved operations to the University of Florida’s College of Education. Dr. Larry W. Tyree, President Emeritus of Santa Fe Community College and then professor in the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy and Foundations, served as the Executive Director. Dr. Tyree’s personal charter for the NACTC was to “foster a fresh, diverse, but unified community of Alliance members dedicated to outcomes that will enhance community and technical college leadership, programs and student centered success.” The Alliance was affiliated with the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Florida.

In 2005, Dr. Tyree announced his retirement, and Dr. Robert H. McCabe accepted the position of Executive Director of the National Alliance of Community and Technical Colleges. One of the giants of the community college movement, Bob McCabe led NACTC for ten years, improving the organization’s fiscal health, building partnerships with research universities and firmly establishing the tradition of two high quality conferences each year. Under Dr. McCabe, the fiscal agent was moved from the University of Florida to Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio.

Since Dr. McCabe’s untimely passing in December, 2014, Dr. Terry Sawma – a long-time NACTC Board member who originally recruited Dr. McCabe – has served ably as Interim Executive Director.

Throughout the 36 year history of the National Alliance, NACTC conferences have brought the latest innovations in leadership, institutional effectiveness, teaching and programs to this small, yet inclusive, group of higher education leaders — offering a more personal networking and group problem-solving atmosphere rarely found in other larger associations.