Bunker Hill Community College and Montgomery County Community College Receive National Award

BHCC and MCCC receive national recognition and $25,000 award for building whole-college solutions to improve student success and equity

Orlando, FL (February 24, 2014) – Achieving the Dream, with the support of The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, this evening announced Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) and Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) as the winners of the sixth annual Leah Meyer Austin Award. Along with this prestigious recognition, the colleges will each receive $25,000 to support their ongoing student success work.

As this year’s award-winners, BHCC and MCCC are being honored for building whole-college solutions to improve student success and equity, which have resulted in noteworthy increases in student success.

BHCC’s focus on student success has led to college-wide, data-informed decision making resulting in:

  • Increased fall-to-fall persistence from 41 percent to 51 percent
  • Improved black students' completion rates from 68 percent to 72 percent
  • Increased Hispanic students’ completion rates from 68 percent to 74 percent
  • Raised completion rates in gateway
  • English from 67 percent to 74 percent
  • Improved completion rates in developmental English courses (reading and writing) from 72 percent to 78 percent

MCCC’s focus on student success has led to college-wide, data-informed decision making resulting in:

  • Reduced new students' placement in developmental English by 31 percentage points without impacting their subsequent success in college-level English
  • Increased success rates among the highest-need developmental education students by as much as 20 percentage points
  • Improved college readiness of students in feeder high schools by as much as 63 percentage points
  • Increased persistence among new students by 10 percentage points Improved minority men's persistence by an average of 15 percentage points

*For more information on the exemplary work of these two colleges, click here.

BHCC and MCCC accomplished these impressive gains through the implementation of strategies within each of the core principles of the Achieving the Dream Student-Centered Model of Institutional Improvement: committed leadership, use of evidence, broad engagement, systemic institutional improvement, and equity. Both colleges embraced the Achieving the Dream model to meet the needs of their specific student populations, with a particular focus on the highest need students, resulting in culture shifts and reform from the classroom to the board room. These colleges are demonstrating how a commitment to student success and equity can be infused across an institution through bold policy changes, scaled student success interventions, broad engagement of faculty and staff, and a culture of evidence.

The Leah Meyer Austin Award, sponsored this year by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, was established in 2008 to recognize outstanding achievement in supporting and promoting student success through the creation of a culture of evidence, continuous improvement, systemic institutional change, broad engagement of stakeholders, and equity, with particular attention to low-income students and students of color.

Leah Meyer Austin is the former Senior Vice President for Program Development and Organizational Learning at the Lumina Foundation, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Achieving the Dream. Austin’s visionary leadership shaped the development of Achieving the Dream.

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Achieving the Dream, Inc. is a national nonprofit that is dedicated to helping more community college students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree. Evidence-based, student-centered, and built on the values of equity and excellence, Achieving the Dream is closing achievement gaps and accelerating student success nationwide by: 1) guiding evidence-based institutional improvement, 2) leading policy change, 3) generating knowledge, and 4) engaging the public. Conceived as an initiative in 2004 by Lumina Foundation and seven founding partner organizations, today, Achieving the Dream is leading the most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. With over 200 institutions, more than 100 coaches and advisors, and 15 state policy teams - working throughout 35 states and the District of Columbia – the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network helps more than 4 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.

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