Student Success is What Counts- ATD Annual Report

"Revinventing institutions and ourselves to build community college capacity, pioneer new strategies, and accelerate improvement."


Achieving the Dream's (ATD) Annual Report showcases how ATD has continued into our second decade to help the ATD Network colleges thrive.  As our colleges have stepped forward to assume more visible, powerful leadership roles in the increasingly diverse communities they serve, ATD has stepped up our support for Network.  Student success matters.  The strength of the American economy, our ability to rebuild the middle class, and the opportunity for a new generation to achieve academic, financial, and personal goals depend upon the central role community colleges play in helping students gain skills and credentials.

In 2016, we introduced a new way of looking at community colleges based on a framework that includes seven essential institutional capacities: teaching and learning, data and technology, policy and practice, student and faculty engagement and communication, strategy and planning, leadership and vision, and equity. We also launched a companion diagnostic tool, the Institutional Capacity Assessment Tool (ICAT), to help colleges understand their strengths and needs. 

In fact, in 2016 two of our more mature initiatives are adding to our understanding of what it takes for a college to advance student success across the entire institution. The experiences of colleges in the Working Students Success Network (WSSN), which integrates a range of academic and non-academic supports, and the Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (iPASS) initiative, which leverages technology to transform advising and planning, suggest that deep data capacity, strong leadership, and integration of multiple efforts can propel the change process. We also have seen the essential power of what it means for colleges to be “student centered.” 

In 2016, we trained our focus on faculty, launching three new ventures that recognize their pivotal role in student success. The largest is the Open Educational Resources (OER) Degree initiative, which re-engages faculty in their disciplines and invigorates teaching while reducing the cost of textbooks for students. Engaging Adjunct Faculty in the Student Success Movement creates policies and practices to fully integrate adjunct faculty in their colleges’ student success agenda. Finally, the first Teaching and Learning National Institute, offered with four partner organizations, enlisted the enthusiastic participation of 30 faculty-administrator teams to immerse themselves in higher education’s most essential work.

We moved forward on many fronts in 2016, but the ATD Way remains grounded in the three pillars of ATD’s work. These determine the guidance, tools, resources, and professional learning opportunities we provide to accelerate colleges’ pace of improvement.  The three pillars are:  

  1. designing and developing supports for scaled solutions
  2. disseminating knowledge to the field
  3. incubating new ideas

Read more about this exciting work in Achieving the Dream's 2016 Annual Report here.

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