ATD Network News: October Edition

October 2019


(Photos from ATD's Holistic Student Supports Institute by Lance Thurman)

HSS Institute Challenges Community College Leaders to make changes for student success

Achieving the Dream’s third annual Holistic Student Supports Institute engaged 400 community college leaders around identifying obstacles that impede student success and developing plans to ensure that colleges are set up to help students overcome those barriers. Breakout sessions focused on implementing systemic changes on campus, creating equity-minded and student-ready initiatives, and redesigning the advising and onboarding experience for students. Colleges spent the final day of the Institute turning lessons from the week into actionable plans. Read more about ATD’s Holistic Student Supports Institute.

What is Your Data Strategy: Offense, Defense, and Special Teams: President & CEO Blog

The data and technology capacity of ATD Network colleges, even with our 15 years of attention in supporting colleges in building cultures of evidence, remains stubbornly low. Aggregate results from Network colleges completing our Institutional Capacity Assessment Tool (ICAT) continue to show that they are lagging in the “data and technology” fundamental. My hypothesis on why this capacity remains our weakest is that our colleges and our leaders do not have a clear data strategy—a tight game plan. A data strategy offers a vision and a plan for organizing, governing, analyzing, and deploying information assets. Read more of Dr. Stout’s thoughts on how colleges can create a game plan for data.

ATD Welcomes Dr. Monica Trent as New Vice President of Network Engagement 

Achieving the Dream welcomes Dr. Monica Parrish Trent as the organization’s Vice President for Network Engagement. Dr. Trent, who joined Achieving the Dream October 7, brings more than 25 years of experience as an administrator and faculty member at diverse, multi-campus community colleges. Throughout her career, she has maintained a sharp focus on improving student success and reducing equity gaps for low-income students and students of color. In her role at Achieving the Dream, Dr. Trent will lead the strategy to create and maintain a strong experience for colleges in the ATD Network as well as planning and delivering events for college leaders from two-year and four-year institutions. Read more about Dr. Trent’s appointment as Vice President for Network Engagement.  

Childcare Support Propels Forsyth Tech Mother

When women parents graduate college, their children and their families enjoy better economic opportunities and communities thrive. Without adequate support like public benefits, financial aid, or childcare, many mothers never graduate from college. Increasingly, community colleges are implementing programs and initiatives to help community college women succeed. At ATD Network college Forsyth Technical Community College, a childcare grant through the college’s SOAR (Success through Orientation, Advising and Registration) has helped student parent Amanda James and her children thrive. Read more.

Submit a Proposal to Present at DREAM 2020 National Convening   

ATD’s annual national convening, DREAM 2020, which will be held in February at National Harbor, MD, will feature the second annual ATD Equity Institute and a dozen pre-conference workshops. Registration for DREAM 2020 is open, and we are still accepting proposals for 20x20 presentations. The presentations, ATD's exciting and fast-paced version of Pecha Kucha, feature 20 slides with 20 seconds per slide in which participants can highlight a particular institutional or pedagogical practice. Proposals for the 20 x 20 Presentations are due November 15, 2019. Visit our Call for Proposals page for more information!  

ATD DREAM Scholar Experience Leads Kenneth Glynn to Advocate for Adult Learners   

Each year, Achieving the Dream conducts a national competition among students enrolled in ATD Network colleges to participate in a year-long experiential learning program to enhance leadership, critical thinking, and networking skills. For Kenneth Glynn, a 2018 DREAM Scholar and a mentor at DREAM 2019, the experience has been transformative. “ATD has given me the vision to inspire others in my community by joining a mentoring program that helps young Black adults to combat insecurities within their lives through education and a more holistic way of support with community and public assistance.” Read more about how Kenneth’s experience as a DREAM Scholar has informed his education and his work in the community.  

Postsecondary Data Partnership Fall Reporting Window Now Open 

The Postsecondary Data Partnership is a nationwide effort led by the National Student Clearinghouse to help colleges gain a more robust view of their students’ progress and outcomes. Using Tableau dashboards, colleges will be able to share and evaluate early momentum, completion, equity, and transfer metrics within your institution, benchmark against peers, and report your data to Achieving the Dream in a much simpler way. Participation is currently complimentary for ATD colleges. To learn more, visit or contact ATD’s Laurie Heacock at

From Struggling to Serve Students in Poverty to Becoming a Leah Meyer Austin Winner  

Earlier in October, leaders from Amarillo College presented a full-day workshop on the college’s successful Culture of Caring Poverty Initiative during ATD’s Holistic Student Supports Institute. The college, a 2019 Leah Meyer Austin Award winner, began their journey with ATD as part of the 2011 cohort of new ATD Network colleges during a time when their three-year graduation rates for Black and Hispanic students, as well as first-generation students, significantly lagged behind their peers. By working with ATD to understand and use their data to make changes, Amarillo College was able to fully eliminate equity gaps. A number of colleges in the ATD Network have significantly improved outcomes, and we encourage eligible institutions to apply for the 2020 LMA Award by October 22. For more about Amarillo College’s inspirational work, visit our website 

Achieving the Dream Stands with Immigrants 

Community colleges serve as critical gateways to postsecondary education for recent immigrants, and ATD is proud to support the fourth annual I Stand With Immigrants Day of Action on Tuesday, October 22. The day of action is designed to encourage people to explore their individual heritage and to work together to establish welcoming environments for today's immigrants. Achieving the Dream has developed a Resources for Policy & Action page to share policies and practices that can help community colleges learn how they can stand with immigrants. Please join us October 22 as we stand for immigrants and support communities around the nation! 

For ongoing news, updates, and blogs, visit us at   


February 18-21, 2020

Connect with more than 2,000 of the nation's thought leaders, policy makers, and investors at DREAM 2020, Achieving the Dream's flagship conference. Share your knowledge and learn how your colleagues across the country are advancing student success. Registration is now open.

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