ECC named a national semifinalist of college readiness by ACT

Achieving the Dream is proud to Spotlight a key component in the national community-college reform network to help more students succeed:  people.  Our people have risen to the challenge and focus on the way forward and the ‘big picture’.  Our people drive the organization forward, achieve results, have a vision for the future and deliver on that vision.

One such leading force was submitted for a Spotlight feature from Elgin Community College.  Below is  ECC's submission and link to the related news article.


Elgin Community College continues to reap successes during its partnership with Achieving the Dream, currently with its nomination by ACT as a national semifinalist in college and career readiness. The proof was in ACT’s own words in announcing the nomination.

 

“By building on its partnership with Achieving the Dream, which assists community colleges in prioritizing improvements and tracking results, Elgin Community College is beating the odds,” ACT notes. “The college is retaining and graduating its students at rates far higher than the national averages for community colleges.”

 

Since its selection by ATD in 2009 and being named an ATD Leader College in 2012, the college has made the most of the resources provided by the initiative. One major change, says Philip Garber, senior executive director of planning and institutional effectiveness, is the way processes are more streamlined and uniformed.

 

“It’s nice to have a resource to tell us what we should be doing,” he said. “They train us in a way to help us achieve student success.”

 

In addition, ATD helps streamline numerous ideas and standards created by various faculty and administrators across the college into a common framework and terminology, Garber adds. That coaching also helps ECC leaders evaluate projects and prioritize them to impact the most students.

 

A recent success was finding that ECC closed the achievement gap between Latinos and their counterparts. From 2006 to 2010, Latino students showed a 19 percent gain in college completion rates followed by Caucasian students at 16 percent, Asian students at 11 percent, and African-American students at 5 percent, according to the college’s Institutional Research Department. That success garnered the attention of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which sent representatives to ECC in fall 2015 to study how the college did it and how those results can be duplicated in other colleges across the country.

 

What was unveiled during that visit were key drivers put in place aimed at improving educational attainment and achievement, particularly with Latino students. Those drivers include: the college’s equity focus, strong ties to a community that supports education, low staff turnover, sharing of leadership responsibilities, and effective use of data for decision making. Another important factor found during the visit: Prioritizing of personal interactions over technology in support of student success. Also aiding in this success was the Student Success Infrastructure—a cross-functional team of faculty, staff, and administrators that serves as a clearinghouse for innovative student success projects. Some of those projects include a professional development program for faculty which focuses on affective intelligence and support for students, working styles and classroom leadership techniques; a Transition Academy that gears area high school students toward improving college readiness, affective knowledge and cognitive skills; and an online Student Planning Module that allows students to have a 'one-stop' shop for all planning and registration needs.

To read the news article, please click here.

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