During the opening plenary of DREAM 2022, Achieving the Dream (ATD) awarded Tallahassee Community College (TCC) the 2022 Leah Meyer Austin Award. The national prize is given annually to a college in the ATD Network that demonstrates institutional strength, aligned policies and procedures, a student-focused culture, notable increases in student outcomes, and reduction of equity gaps.
“The Leah Meyer Austin Award recognizes exceptional whole-college efforts to center equity and advance student success,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of ATD. “Tallahassee Community College has shown a strong commitment to supporting students, making partnerships in the community, and crafting a culture of care, resulting in transformational change that has helped its students thrive.”
Tallahassee Community College, winner of ATD’s 2022 Leah Meyer Austin Award, points to its name as a sign of its commitment to the region it serves. As one of only two Florida two-year colleges that has kept the word “community” in its name, TCC has focused on redesigning the student experience around drivers of student success and working closely with its academic and workforce partners.Download the case study
An ATD Network institution since 2004, TCC has maintained ATD Leader College status since 2009 and was just awarded Leader College of Distinction Status in 2022. The college has long leveraged the Network’s resources for continuous improvement. It created guided pathways and developed a teaching and learning framework with the help of ATD coaches and professional learning communities.
These efforts resulted in TCC’s C.A.R.E. (Connections, Academics, Resources, Engagement) framework, an integrated series of advising, academic and non-academic supports, and resources intended to ensure students are supported from applying to TCC through graduation. Virtually all (98 percent) of the college’s graduates find employment or continue their education in the same year.
The college’s longstanding focus on closing equity gaps has resulted in remarkable improvements throughout the institution:
- The proportion of Hispanic students who transferred and earned a four-year degree within six years increased 6 percentage points from 32 percent (2012 cohort) to 38 percent (2014 cohort)
- Over four years, four-year completion rates for Hispanic students increased by 15 percentage points and were equal to those of white students for the fall 2016 cohort.
- In gateway math courses, completion rates increased 9 percentage points, from 25 to 34 percent, for students who received Pell Grants between 2017 and 2020.
“We are honored to receive the 2022 Leah Meyer Austin Award,” said Dr. Jim Murdaugh, president of Tallahassee Community College. “This is a reflection of the incredible work by our faculty and staff here at TCC, who share a commitment to ensuring we are the college of choice for all our students. We are grateful for our continued partnership with Achieving the Dream and for this opportunity to share practices and policies within the higher education community that have created an environment where our students thrive.”