Why colleges join the ATD Network

An Engine for Innovation, Transformation, and Results

Hundreds of colleges have worked with Achieving the Dream to build key institutional capacities to address the crucial challenges that confront them in their commitment to better serve students and increase student outcomes. They benefit from the collective learning of the national ATD Network of institutions and partners and from our 15 years of experience innovating and anticipating future needs and issues in the face of continual change.

Colleges in the ATD Network transform at multiple levels using ATD’s successful coaching process that is constantly informed and improved by our work facilitating institutional change and leading research and development projects to address emerging areas of need. Leaders have a forum to discuss issues and challenges with their peers or to try new strategies, innovate, and improve. ATD’s staff and coaches serve as trusted advisors and facilitators to help build capacities that research shows makes a difference in student outcomes.

Three Pillars Anchor ATD's Work

1. Innovation
We help introduce and scale innovative new approaches such as creating a culture of teaching and learning excellence and redesigning student supports to integrate across all areas of the institution. We identify more effective ways to also scale proven approaches , such as refining and expanding structured academic and career pathways.

2. Coaching
Diagnostics and customized coaching initially help strengthen the institution’s leadership and data-analysis capacity. Coaches help institutions improve their ability to track leading indicators that research has shown lead to improved student retention and completion and identify and address achievement gaps. Ongoing coaching helps address key challenges— from looking deeply at how to improve teaching and learning, to how to build more robust partnerships with business and community partners.

3. Connections 
We enable institutions and their leaders to learn from and with their peers through regular network events, summits, institutes and webinars, and reports, briefs, and guides that share information about best practices across institutions. Our network draws from the expertise of ATD Leader Colleges, which have met important institutional benchmarks, as well as other institutions that have, as a group, significant experience in all aspects of campus transformation.

Strategic, Sustained Support

Colleges that continue their work in the ATD Network after their initial experience accelerate their progress in capacity building and delve deeper into key challenges for ongoing improvement. For colleges that have already strengthened core competencies, ATD offers a suite of targeted coaching services—in areas such as teaching and learning, introducing holistic student supports, and implementing pathways—that colleges can use at any time, but are particularly valuable once the initial capacity building work is complete.

Presidents See Return on Investment
Leaders of ATD institutions say that participation in the reform network has helped:
• Identify blind spots and root causes of issues on campus that were not previously apparent
• Introduce a coherent capacity framework to address key challenges that enables institutions to embrace change at scale
• Institutionalize best practices (in using data, implementing student academic and nonacademic services, teaching and learning, and other areas) across the institution
• Put everyone and every program on campus on the same page to achieve shared institutional goals
• Connect disparate student success initiatives that colleges often have underway when they join the Network
• Better meet accreditation, accountability, and performance-funding expectations.
• Make far more progress in strengthening campus culture and increasing student outcomes far more quickly than they could on their own

Learn more

Read more about how ATD can help accelerate student success.

Not a Network college? Join us! We're building our next Cohort now and invite you to become part of our growing national network of colleges that are committed to improving student success for their students. Contact us to learn more about what the application process, timeline, and eligibility criteria at

(click to maximize)