Twelve community colleges from eight states have joined Achieving the Dream’s (ATD) network of colleges dedicated to improving student success. Achieving the Dream acts as a catalyst to help colleges strengthen and build their capacity to ensure that more students complete postsecondary education and have greater opportunity for economic success.
“I welcome each of the colleges to the Achieving the Dream national network and applaud their willingness to start a challenging change process that will improve their student outcomes,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, President and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “Joining Achieving the Dream prepares colleges for transformative change, strengthens equity and helps them use data and technology to guide and measure the change.”
The colleges met last week in Scottsdale, Arizona to flesh out their work plans and build their understanding of ATD’s new capacity-building framework and companion self-assessment. The self-assessment allows the colleges to pinpoint strengths and areas for improvement across seven institutional capacities in areas such as leadership and vision, teaching and learning, and data and technology.
ATD sends coaches to college campuses to provide coordinated, personalized advice to help build needed capacities, align student success efforts and support change where it’s needed.
The 12 colleges now joining ATD will be the first group to use the capacity framework from the start of their ATD work. They also join the network as ATD is consolidating lessons learned from more than a decade of experience leading and supporting community college reform.
For example, ATD will guide colleges toward connecting or scaling interventions because boutique initiatives have not shown strong results. Developmental education must be accelerated, customized to learners’ needs and connected to students’ programs of study. And colleges will be encouraged to connect deeply and dynamically to other education systems, employers and community-based organizations.
As colleges in the new cohort progress, they may apply to participate in initiatives supported by philanthropic funding and managed by ATD. These initiatives help incubate new ideas that help colleges refine practices based on evidence of what works and allow ATD to disseminate knowledge to the broader network and the field. New initiatives address the challenge of engaging adjunct faculty more deeply as key members of colleges’ workforces and implementing degree programs using only open educational resources (OER).
The new colleges are:
- American River College (Sacramento, CA)
- Chattanooga State Community College (Chattanooga, TN)
- Dutchess Community College (Poughkeepsie, NY)
- Florida State College at Jacksonville (Jacksonville, FL)
- Lanier Technical College (Oakwood, GA)
- Montgomery College (Rockville, MD)
- Northcentral Technical College (Wausau, WI)
- Schenectady County Community College (Schenectady, NY)
- Southwest Tennessee Community College (Memphis, TN)
- Suffolk County Community College (Selden, NY)
- SUNY Broome Community College (Binghampton, NY)
- University of Hawai'i- West Oahu (Kapolei, HI)
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.