Institutional Change

Aligning the building blocks that strengthen whole-college practices and student outcomes.

Change is never easy. But the right improvements can yield results that transform not only institutions but also student lives.

Achieving the Dream is based on the premise that in order to substantively improve student performance in a meaningful way, colleges must fundamentally change the way they operate. By recognizing and embracing each college’s unique potential for excellence, Achieving the Dream not only builds a customized model for institutional change, but also an engaged, impassioned group of champions committed to exemplary student achievement and long-lasting success.

That’s why all Achieving the Dream Colleges commit to our Student-centered Model of Institutional Improvement. Based on five enabling principles that strengthen whole-college policies and practices, the Model offers a precise yet flexible framework that aligns leadership, pinpoints problems, establishes data-informed priorities, identifies key milestones, and builds scalable, sustainable momentum among all audiences. Ongoing coaching also provides the college’s Achieving the Dream Core Team with the expertise and confidence needed to succeed.

Lasting, scalable change is most likely when efforts engage a broad range of college practitioners in examining evidence on student outcomes, designing the change process, mastering the skills required to implement new approaches, and refining these efforts over a period of time.

The proven results: more students, particularly low-income and students of color, stay in school, earn a college degree or certificate, and successfully transition into a full-time career. While separate in principle, the five core areas of institutional improvement—committed leadership, evidence-based programs and services, broad stakeholder engagement, systemic institutional improvement, and equity—are strategically interconnected, thereby forming a strong, solid link that ensures success among diverse student populations across all racial, ethnic, and income groups.

Focus Areas

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