Achieving the Dream 15th Anniversary

We’re celebrating 15 years of the national Achieving the Dream Network of colleges! Explore our site to learn more about the anniversary celebration, ATD history, and a look ahead at the next 15 years. Be sure to follow ATD on Twitter and Facebook for updates during the year.


Timeline of the ATD Network

From 2004 to the present day, Achieving the Dream has grown from a five-year demonstration project into a national leader for community college reform, holding strong to its vision of addressing inequities in our higher education system, especially for low-income students and students of color. Here’s a look at ATD over the years


First 15 Pivotal Moments
  1. National demonstration project created in 2004 to catalyze changes in community college culture, policies, practices, and programs to support student success. Supported by Lumina Foundation.
  2. MDC and seven additional partners—American Association of Community Colleges, Community College Leadership Program, Community College Research Center, Institute for Higher Education, Jobs for the Future, MDRC and Public Agenda—work together as peers, design the initiative, and take responsibility for key aspects of the work for its five-year duration.
  3. 100+ colleges in 21 states take on the pioneering work of building cultures of evidence and acting on a student success agenda.
  4. Becomes an independent non-profit organization, Achieving the Dream, Inc., in 2009.
  5. Leah Meyer Austin Award created to recognize colleges making substantive improvements in equity and excellence. Valencia College wins inaugural award. Each year since, one or more colleges have been honored for their achievements which serve as examples of what can be done to improve student outcomes.
  6. Dr. William E. Trueheart, a foundation leader with a background in higher education and social entrepreneurship, becomes the first President and CEO in 2010.
  7. Developmental Education Initiative is launched at 15 colleges in 6 states and sets the stage for deeper understanding of how best to serve underprepared students. ATD with several partners, co-authors Core Principles for Transforming Remediation within a Comprehensive Student Success Strategy.
  8. Dr. Karen A. Stout, president of Montgomery County Community College and a leader in institutional transformation for student success, is named second President and CEO.
  9. Institutional Capacity Assessment Framework Tool developed and tested in partnership with 10 ATD colleges in 2016. Now used throughout the Network to measure capacity across each area and fully engage faculty and staff in the planning process.
  10. A new equity statement helps move the field beyond small, pilot interventions in emphasizing that all individuals have the right to a high-quality education and that colleges must dismantle structural barriers facing underserved students.  Many ATD colleges now use this statement to catalyze equity conversations on their campuses. 
  11. 34 Tribal Colleges and Universities join the Network, adapting the ATD model to their own missions and cultural traditions and teaching us what it means to truly know and serve one’s students.
  12. ATD joins the Pathways Collaborative, partnering with the AACC Guided Pathways work in supporting colleges working through the guided pathways framework.
  13. ATD completes a refresh of its organizational strategy and launches new learning events, customized coaching to colleges who have completed the first three years of their transformation journey, and a renewed 1st year experience for newly incoming colleges.
  14. ATD launches Holistic Student Supports redesign services and an annual fall Institute for colleges based on the findings of the Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success and Working Student Success Network learning initiatives.
  15. Building off its Open Educational Resources Degree Pathways and Engaging Adjunct Faculty in Student Success learning initiatives, ATD launches new supports for teaching & learning capacity building and introduces an annual spring Teaching & Learning Summit.
Photo Album - We’ll be adding to our photo album during the year, so check back often
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