Achieving the Dream Announces 2016 Leader Colleges

22 Network Institutions Named Student Success Exemplars

Achieving the Dream designated five community colleges as “Leader Colleges,” a national honor awarded to institutions in the ATD National Network that have shown three years of steady improvement in two outcomes that measure student success.

“Leader College status represents a sustained, successful effort to build a student-centered culture,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “Colleges that stay focused on the hard work of transformation deserve to be recognized when they make measurable progress.”

For example, the 2016 first-time Leader Colleges reported improved student outcomes such as: a 7.3 percent increase in student completion of Intermediate Algebra (58.6 percent to 65.9 percent), increases in Developmental English completion (71 percent to 79.5 percent after the introduction of diagnostic exams and co-requisite and modular learning), and an increase  (53.5 percent to 72.5 percent) in the first college-level or “gateway” English course, and 68.3 percent to 73.8 percent in gateway Mathematics.

Leader Colleges are eligible to compete for all grant-funded learning initiatives and are encouraged to provide leadership and support to other colleges in the ATD network, disseminate lessons learned, support state and national efforts to advance the student success agenda, and continue to improve student outcomes.

Leader Colleges also have been winners of ATD’s annual Leah Meyer Austin award, a $25,000 prize for an ATD institution that takes whole-college approaches to improving student success and achieves notable increases in student outcomes.

The colleges that earned Leader College status for the first time in 2016:

Achieving the Dream grants Leader College designation for three-year cycles. After three years, institutions must undergo a recertification process to maintain Leader College status. 

This year, Achieving the Dream has recertified 17 Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges:

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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