2017 ATD Year-in-Review

As the year comes to a close, it’s humbling to reflect on the strides we’ve made to advance student success nationwide.  Our accomplishments are your accomplishments.  Thank you for being a part of the Achieving the Dream Network.

ATD is advancing Guided Pathways work on campus.  We are a partner in the AACC Pathways Project with 21 of our colleges participating in the inaugural Pathways Institute series.  The foundational capacities developed through ATD have propelled these colleges to scale work around the Pathways framework.

We welcomed our biggest cohort yet, with 46 colleges, including 32 new Tribal Colleges and Universities.  The ATD Network now includes over 220 colleges in 39 states and the District of Columbia serving 4 million students.

Several of our Network colleges truly went above and beyond in 2017.  To honor them and their performance, we recognized eight new Leader Colleges, two Leah Meyer Austin Award winners and presented a Community College Financial Empowerment Award.

In addition to hosting our national conference DREAM, we held several specialized Institutes, including Math Pathways Redesign, co-sponsored with the Dana Center, the third annual Data and Analytics Summit, and our first-ever Integrated Advising and Student Support Institute, with 300 attendees and teams from 69 colleges. 

Our talented staff were also thrilled to participate in several partner conferences including AACC’s Annual Conference, the Jobs for the Future (JFF) State Policy Meetings, the 14th annual Open Education Conference, #RealCollege and the 2017 ACCT Leadership Congress.

Financing college continues to be a barrier for many students, especially low-income students and students of color.  To reduce costs that often prevent students from continuing their studies, we continued to work with 39 colleges to expand access to Open Educational Resources (OER) on campus.  In addition to saving students money, we’ve been very pleased to find OER is re-energizing faculty regarding course design and sparking dynamic approaches to teaching. 

We all know that access and completion are not enough.  Community colleges must also prepare our nation’s next generation of skilled workers.  To prepare colleges to advance workforce development we partnered with Arconic Foundation to determine best practices in devising advanced manufacturing pathways. 

To enable colleges to learn on the go and from each other, we held 33 (now on-demand!) webinars and powered ATD Connect, our online peer learning portal.  Finally, we updated and re-released The Finish Line Game, a fun professional development tool to enable teams to walk in the shoes of ten students as they navigate their journeys through college and explore the impact of college policies, practices, and culture on student progress and success.

And to ensure that colleges have the tools they need to serve the whole student, we continued to work with 19 colleges in the Working Students Success Network to offer and determine best practices in integrating student support services to help low-income students persist in school and secure good jobs.  This included publishing Addressing Food Insecurity on Campuses: Establishing Food Pantries at Community Colleges and Connecting Students to Wider Services.

In September, we hosted our first Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill to educate lawmakers on the benefits of OER.  Finally, along with other leaders in higher education, the ATD Network members signed a resolution to #defendDACA.  Immigrant students are not “illegal.”  They are the future of our country. 

And last, but certainly not least, we hosted 2,300 of our friends, colleagues and partners at DREAM 2017, our flagship annual conference, and recognized 6 amazing DREAM scholars!  These women and men are the reason we go to work every day.  Their success is our reward. 

We are wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season and looking forward to working together in the New Year!

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