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College Leadership Awards & Recognition

Application Information 

Achieving the Dream has simplified the application process for annual awards and recognition. There are only two applications to choose from: The Leah Meyer Austin Award application, or the Leader College and Leader College of Distinction application. 

Colleges should submit one application to be considered for all the awards and recognition for which they are eligible. For example, if your institution has been invited to apply for the 2022 Leah Meyer Austin (LMA) Award, you may also be eligible for Leader College of Distinction and/or Leader College status. When you submit your LMA application, Achieving the Dream will use the same application to assess your eligibility for all other levels of recognition for which your institution is eligible. 

Detailed information about eligibility criteria and the application process is available on the application forms. 

Review one of our 2023 Awards Office Hours Sessions

Colleges applying for 2023 awards and recognition are invited to join virtual office hours. During these webinars, the Network team will provide more information about the application process and answer any questions participants may have. 

Frequently Asked Questions

A: We have three levels: Leader College, Leader College of Distinction, and Leah Meyer Austin Award 

A: September 30, 2022, at 5:00pm ET 

A: The Leah Meyer Austin (LMA) Award is the highest honor an ATD Network college can earn, and the application process is rigorous. Only colleges that have been invited by the Network team can apply for the LMA Award. This same application can also be used to determine eligibility for Leader College and/or Leader College of Distinction (LCOD) status, so each college should only fill out one application. Colleges that complete the Leader College/LCOD application will not be considered for the LMA Award. 

Colleges eligible to apply for the Leah Meyer Austin Award are Leader Colleges (or LCODs) that have been active in the ATD Network since 2019 or earlier (having completed the three-year experience), are in good standing with their accreditors, and have not been awarded the LMA within the last five years. Further, these colleges meet at least one of the following eligibility requirements: 

  1. Four-year improvement in the IPEDS on time completion for the level of associated credential awarded of at least three percentage points (first-time full-time students) [Note: previously, this metric had been 3 years graduation rate but due to the increasing number of community colleges offering baccalaureate degrees, was updated to reflect two- and four-year credentials]
  2. Four-year improvement in the National Student Clearinghouse three-year graduation rate of at least three percentage points (first time ever in college, degree seeking, both full-time and part-time)
  3. Six-year transfer-out bachelor’s degree completion rate at or above the national level
  4. Selection as one of the top 150 colleges in the competition for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence 

A: Yes. Your team should complete the application for the highest level of award or designation your college wants to earn. Keep in mind that even if you complete the application portions for Leader College of Distinction and do not meet the requirements, you will still be assessed for Leader College eligibility based on the same application. If you only complete the sections for Leader College status, you cannot be assessed for Leader College of Distinction. 

A: You can email us at [email protected] and/or can also speak to your ATD coach to make sure your contact information is updated.  

A: The impacts of COVID should be described in the narrative. You can also add a note in the data template directing the reviewers to the narrative to understand the trend. We know growth is often not a straight line, even without pandemics. Use the narrative to explain the trends in the context of your institution. 

A: There are no requirements to have a coaching contract from ATD to be eligible for any of our designations or the Leah Meyer Austin award. Applicants must be in active status in the ATD Network. 

A: Please use the rubric provided with the application. You may view a brief video on rubrics here. You may view a brief video on connecting efforts with reforms here.  

A: Yes, if those courses are being used to move toward a degree or certificate from your institution. 

A: Be consistent. If you chose to include summer first you must continue to use that same term consistently in the whole application and please make a note of the term you chosen to use. 

A: You should not include students who are currently dual-enrolled in high school. Please see cohort definitions in the data template. 

A: Yes, there are a couple places on your application in narrative sections where you can express trends add context to your data. 

A: Use the narrative portion of your application to expound upon the grade metrics you use. ATD analyzes and reviews each application on an individual basis so please be consistent with the way you present your data. 

A: ATD understands your institution may not track certain demographic information. Please include as many demographic categories as you have data available. Applicants should use the narrative response section in the application to expand upon any data trends you would like to highlight. 

A: Yes.  Groups should tie to the focus of your student success agenda.  We recommend that group sizes consist of at least 25 students or more (when possible), with no fewer than 10 students.

Eligible Colleges – 2023

Below is a list of all ATD Network institutions that are eligible to apply for — or recertify as — Leader Colleges or Leader Colleges of Distinction in 2023. These lists represent the highest designation for which each college is eligible; institutions eligible to rise to Leader College of Distinction status may choose instead to apply for Leader College recertification, if they wish. 

These lists do not indicate eligibility for the Leah Meyer Austin Award. Colleges that have been invited to apply for the award were contacted individually.  

Leader College of Distinction

Alamo Colleges (TX)

Athens Technical College (GA)

Atlantic Cape Community College (NJ)

Austin Community College District (TX)

Bakersfield College (CA)

Brazosport College (TX)

Broward College (FL)

Bunker Hill Community College (MA)

Central Piedmont Community College (NC)

Century College (MN)

Cerro Coso Community College (CA)

Chattanooga State Community College (TN)

Coastal Bend College (TX)

Columbus State Community College (OH)

Community College of Allegheny County (PA)

Community College of Baltimore County (MD)

Community College of Beaver County (PA)

Community College of Philadelphia (PA)

Danville Area Community College (IL)

Delaware County Community College (PA)

Delaware Technical Community College (DE)

Delta College (MI)

Doña Ana Community College (NM)

Durham Technical Community College (NC)

Edmonds College (WA)

El Paso Community College (TX)

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College (MN)

Gaston College (NC)

Grand Rapids Community College (MI)

Harper College (IL)

Highline College (WA)

Houston Community College (TX)

Indian River State College (FL)

Jackson College (MI)

Lane Community College (OR)

Lone Star College System (TX)

Macomb Community College (MI)

MiraCosta College (CA)

Montgomery County Community College (PA)

Muskegon Community College (MI)

Northern Essex Community College (MA)

Northern Virginia Community College (VA)

Oakton Community College (IL)

Oklahoma City Community College (OK)

Paris Junior College (TX)

Patrick & Henry Community College (VA)

Renton Technical College

San Jacinto College (TX)

South Central College (MN)

South Texas College (TX)

Southwest Tennessee Community College (TN)

Southwest Texas Junior College (TX)

Southwestern Oregon Community College (OR)

St. Petersburg College (FL)

Stanly Community College (NC)

Tacoma Community College (WA)

Temple College (TX)

Trident Technical College (SC)

Tyler Junior College (TX)

University of Hawai’i Community College System (HI)

Valencia College (FL)

Wallace State Community College – Hanceville (AL)

West Hills College Lemoore (CA)

Western Technical College (WI)

Zane State College (OH)

Leader College

Aaniiih Nakoda College (MT)

Albany Technical College (GA)

Augusta Technical College (GA)

Bay Mills Community College (MI)

Bellevue College (WA)

Blackfeet Community College (MT)

Blue Ridge Community College (NC)

Cankdeska Cikana Community College (ND)

Chief Dull Knife College (MT)

Cleveland State Community College (TN)

Clover Park Technical College (WA)

Coahoma Community College (MS)

College of Lake County (IL)

College of Menominee Nation (WI)

College of Southern Maryland (MD)

College of the Muscogee Nation (OK)

Columbia State Community College (TN)

County College of Morris (NJ)

Dallas College (TX)

Diné College (AZ)

Dyersburg State Community College (TN)

Flathead Valley Community College (MT)

Florida State College at Jacksonville (FL)

Forsyth Technical Community College (NC)

Fort Peck Community College (MT)

Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District (CA)

Harford Community College (MD)

Haskell Indian Nations University (KS)

Hudson County Community College (NJ)

Iḷisaġvik College (AK)

Illinois Central College (IL)

Institute of American Indian Arts (NM)

Ivy Tech Community College (IN)

Jackson State Community College (TN)

Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College (MI)

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College (WI)

Leech Lake Tribal College (MN)

Little Big Horn College (MT)

Little Priest Tribal College (NE)

Miami Dade College (FL)

Modesto Junior College (CA)

Mohawk Valley Community College (NY)

Montgomery College (MD)

Motlow State Community College (TN)

Mott Community College (MI)

Nashville State Community College (TN)

Navajo Technical University (NM)

Nebraska Indian Community College (NE)

North Central Texas College (TX)

Northcentral Technical College (WI)

Northeast State Community College (TN)

Northwest Florida State College (FL)

Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College (ND)

Oglala Lakota College (SD)

Olympic College (WA)

Onondaga Community College (NY)

Palm Beach State College (FL)

Pellissippi State Community College (TN)

Pitt Community College (NC)

Portland Community College (OR)

Prince George’s Community College (MD)

Red Lake Nation College (MN)

Rogue Community College (OR)

Sacramento City College (CA)

Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College (MI)

Salish Kootenai College (MT)

San Joaquin Delta College (CA)

Santa Fe Community College (NM)

Schenectady County Community College (NY)

Sinte Gleska University (SD)

Sisseton Wahpeton College (SD)

Skagit Valley College (WA)

Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (NM)

Spokane Community College (WA)

Spokane Falls Community College (WA)

Stone Child College (MT)

Suffolk County Community College (NY)

Tohono O’odham Community College (AZ)

Triton College (IL)

Turtle Mountain Community College (ND)

United Tribes Technical College (ND)

University of the District of Columbia Community College (DC)

Vance-Granville Community College (NC)

Volunteer State Community College (TN)

Walters State Community College (TN)

West Hills College Coalinga (CA)

Westchester Community College (NY)

White Earth Tribal & Community College (MN)

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