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What to look forward to at DREAM 2022

News & Updates
January 27, 2022

DREAM 2022, only three weeks away, features sessions that will dive straight into some of the most pressing questions higher education leaders are asking today: How can we address urgent enrollment challenges at our institutions and across the country? How are we engaging students and showing them that they belong in college? What steps can we take to increase equity on campus and throughout our community?

Join us for an immersive and interactive virtual program that will explore pressing issues, highlight innovations in the field, and inspire you and your team to recommit to the work ahead. Throughout DREAM, you’ll have the opportunity to attend sessions exploring solutions to these issues.


As the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue to affect enrollment trends, we are called to work harder than ever to attract students and ensure the most vulnerable members of our communities are not left behind.

On Thursday, February 17, the 12:00 p.m. (EST)* plenary session, “Elevating a Student-Focused Access Agenda,” will explore how institutions are addressing educational access with an emphasis on equitable pathways to and through higher education. Featuring insights from community college presidents, hear how higher education institutions can craft new avenues of access to education for students historically underserved by higher education.

To dive deeper into the colleges’ successful efforts to reach deeper into their communities, tune into a concurrent session at 1:30 p.m. on February 16 entitled “How Can Colleges Reach Underserved Learners to increase Enrollment and Completion?” This session will explore two examples of community college programs that reached two currently underserved groups: young men of color and un- or under-employed adults. Or join the concurrent session “STEM Pipelines to Success: Leveraging High-School & Industry Partnerships at Ohio Community Colleges” at 1:30 p.m. to hear how two Ohio colleges in the ATD Network have had transformative impact on their local communities through hands-on STEM education.


Equity is at the center of the DREAM experience, as community colleges continually develop themselves as hubs of economic opportunity and community well-being. On Tuesday, February 15, we will officially kick of DREAM 2022 at 1:30 p.m. with the opening plenary session, “Building Anti-Racist, Equitable, and Economically Vibrant Communities.” Featuring social justice advocate and New York Times bestselling author Heather McGhee as keynote speaker, this session will challenge attendees to identify, disrupt, and dismantle systemic barriers to student achievement as we assume the collective responsibility of advancing equity work.

On Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., “Creating a Poverty-Informed Culture” will explore how colleges can draw higher-education staff and faculty toward poverty-informed practice both in student interactions and in behind-the-scenes decision-making by walking through milestones and metrics in Western Technical College’s evolution toward economic justice. Concurrently, “Moving Equity Work to Action and Maintaining Momentum: Lessons from Florida” will share strategies and lessons from a study of ATD Network Colleges in Florida that operationalized equity work in the context of the pandemic. And at 4:15 p.m., join the DREAM Lab “Using ATD’s New Equity Resources to Navigate Your Student-Centered Priorities” to dive into a guided practice on using ATD’s equity supports to assist you in moving your equity work forward.


Effectively fostering a culture of equity and inclusion at our institutions involves intentional work in the classroom to make sure that every student knows they belong in college. On Thursday, February 17, at 3:45 p.m., the closing plenary session will center on “Fostering a Sense of Belonging in Equity-Focused Cultures of Teaching and Learning Excellence.” The discussion will feature author and scholar Dr. Adrienne Keene and Dr. Paul Hernandez, senior advisor to the president at ATD, who will discuss how we can support our students and our fellow educators to create a deep sense of belonging at our institutions.

On February 16 at 1:30 p.m., the concurrent session “Centering Identity: An Inclusive Teaching Course for Community College STEM Faculty” will share how community college instructors have used a course on inclusive STEM teaching to advance the professional development of faculty and to demonstrate the importance of inclusive teaching to institutional leaders. On February 17, a 1:45 p.m. session will focus on one of the largest community college student populations: learners who work. “The Working Learner: What We Need to Know to Help Them Succeed” will highlight why focusing on the needs of working students is critical when it comes to strengthening student success.


At Achieving the Dream, we work with our Network of over 300 community colleges not only to help them support their students, but to collaboratively grow each institution as an equitable hub for growth and vitality that can help the whole community thrive. On Wednesday, February 16, the 12:00 p.m. plenary session “Reimagining Systems for Equity and Community Well-Being,” featuring journalist and author Adam Harris, will explore how colleges can leverage their role in the community to engage partners in eradicating barriers to student success and invest in new strategies to promote community vitality.

Want to join more discussions about partnerships and community well-being? On February 15 at 3:15 p.m., join the Spotlight Session “Strengthening Pathways to Opportunity for Rural Americans” to hear from three national organizations working with rural community colleges to expand students’ opportunities. Concurrently, “The Economic Impact and Social Returns of a Collective Impact Approach to Building Community Vitality” will highlight Illinois Central College’s partnership with the Workforce Equity Initiative to provide workforce training programs in high-demand employment sectors, prioritizing two underserved populations: Black adults and learners from economically impacted communities. On February 17 at 3:00 p.m., join “H2C: A Public-Private Partnership to Address Local Health Care Workforce Needs” to hear how South Central College in Minnesota used a national early college model to put underserved students on a pathway to high-skilled, high-wage careers in the health services industry.

DREAM 2022 is designed to address pressing needs and urgent questions in the field of higher education reform. Whether your college is tackling enrollment challenges in the COVID-19 landscape, taking next steps to embed equity in institutional policies, or seeking strategies to create strong community partnerships, the collective knowledge and expertise of the ATD Network will have powerful tools and knowledge to share at DREAM to support your path forward.

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