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 (ATD) leads a growing network of more than 220 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing academic achievement gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with more than 100 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with Network colleges in 40 states and the District of Columbia to reach more than 4 million community college students.

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