Benefits of Rural Community Colleges

OUTdrive Episode 123 with Dr. Brent Bates

OUTdrive Episode 123 with Dr. Brent Bates

Community colleges offer accessible and affordable training and education to a diverse demographic of students. This brings value and economy to the rural communities in which they serve. In this episode, Cliff chats with Dr. Brent Bates, the president of State Fair Community College, to discuss how community colleges should be considered a solution and asset to community challenges and opportunities.

Brent is the sixth president of State Fair Community College. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Ft. Hayes State University in Kansas, a Master of Arts degree in Communication from Pittsburgh State University in Kansas and he earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Kansas State University in Manhattan. Brent brings over 40 years of experience in higher education along with a passion to enrich students’ lives through quality education.

Brent and his team are committed to reaching students and finding ways to fill gaps in the communities around them. Tune in to hear learn how innovation in technology and marketing are combining to help SFCC live out its vision.


  • 2:00 – Brent takes Cliff through his career journey and how he found his calling in education
  • 5:45 – Cliff and Brent discuss the importance of exploring career opportunities and how discovering what you don’t like is just as important as what you are interested in
  • 7:45 – Brent shares why being president of State Fair Community College (SFCC) is his dream job
  • 11:30 – Brent describes the vision he has for SFCC
  • 17:45 – Details behind the development of the Olen Howard Workforce Innovation Center and the advanced education technology happening there
  • 23:45 – The career paths available to SFCC students and the advantages that community colleges may have over a four-year university
  • 28:45 – How the demographics of community colleges tend to fluctuate with the state of the economy
  • 30:30 – Brent describes the change in marketing strategy SFCC has implemented in recent years
  • 35:45 – Brent talks about things his family enjoys outside of the college
  • 38:00 – Some of the lessons SFCC learned through the pandemic and improvements made to their virtual learning environment
  • 40:00 – Brent’s closing remarks about community partnerships and how SFCC can help serve the surrounding community