Dr. Karen A. Stout

President and CEO, Achieving the Dream, Inc.
President Emerita, Montgomery County Community College

Read Dr. Stout's President and CEO Communications, including speeches, presentations, articles, and messages.

Since 2015, Dr. Karen A. Stout has served as president and CEO of Achieving the Dream, leading the nation’s largest movement to improve success for all students, especially low-income students and students of color. Dr. Stout leads, through ATD, a network of institutions in whole-college transformation using a coaching process that is constantly informed and improved by its longstanding partnerships and practice in the field. ATD anticipates future needs and issues, leveraging knowledge through collective learning. She has received national recognition for her achievements and accomplishments in higher education innovation and leadership including Diverse: Issues in Higher Education’s Leading Women, Honorary Degree from Miami Dade College, American Association for Women in Community College’s Woman of the Year and Washington Monthly’s 16 most innovative higher education leaders.

Dr. Stout serves as a member of the College Promise National Advisory Board, Campus Compact Board of Directors, Jobs for the Future Policy Leadership Trust, University System of Maryland William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Transformation Center Advisory Board, Center for First Generation Student Success, Community College Research Center Advising Board, and Montgomery County Community College Foundation Board of Directors, and Chair of the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research Advisory Board. She also contributes her time and experience as an Achieving the Dream Leadership Coach and Aspen Institute Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence faculty contributor and mentor, and has served in the past on the American Association of Community Colleges Board of Directors and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Prior to serving as President and CEO at ATD, Dr. Stout was president of Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) from 2001 to 2015, where she led the college through a transformation process to improve student success. The college distinguished itself as an ATD Leader College, earned the prestigious Leah Meyer Austin Award in 2014 for its college-wide approach to student success, and won numerous awards for work on campus sustainability. MCCC was an early iPASS grant recipient and is a national leader, now in advising redesign efforts. Under her leadership, MCCC established dual admission and core-to-core transfer agreements with more than 20 colleges and universities, including the Bucknell University Scholars program and a transfer program with Bryn Mawr College, and created a physical University Center at the college’s West Campus for students and faculty involved in the college’s bachelors, masters and doctoral degree programs. To accommodate their growing enrollment and demands for new programs, MCCC developed and implemented its first comprehensive Campus Facilities Master plan, yielding more than $160 million in improvements to the Blue Bell and Pottstown campuses, including construction of a new Advanced Technology Center, Children’s Center, Fine Art Center, Health Sciences Center, and Culinary Arts Institute. In addition, the college increased public grants support from $800,000 annually to $12 million annually, tripling the net assets of the college’s Foundation and completing the institution’s first capital campaign for scholarships, raising more than $9 million. In addition to institutional awards, Dr. Stout was recognized for her achievements including American Community College Trustees CEO of the Year Northeast Region, American Student Association of Community Colleges President of the Year, and Montgomery County Woman of the Year. 

As president of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges, Dr. Stout led the formation of a Trustees Council to support advocacy efforts and successfully changed the 40-year Community College Act with legislation to improve operating and capital funding for the Commonwealth’s 14 community colleges. She also led the development and securing of Pennsylvania’s $20 million TAACT I grant and $2.5 million TAACT2 grant in consecutive years, including managing the grant to develop a state-wide prior learning assessment framework and portal that launched in January 2015.

Prior to her presidency at MCCC, Dr. Stout held leadership positions at Camden County College from 1994 to 2001, including Vice President/Campus Executive Officer, William G. Rohrer Center, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Enrollment Services, and Dean, Planning, Research and Communications.

A frequent speaker and writer, Dr. Stout focuses on strategies for enhancing student success and completion, accelerating and scaling innovation, and on launching a new era of community college fundraising.

She holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Delaware, a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Baltimore, and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Delaware.

Read Dr. Stout's President and CEO Communications, including speeches, presentations, articles, and messages.



SPEAKER AND PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT REQUESTS: Please email president_stout@achievingthedream.org to request Dr. Karen A. Stout as a commentator on community colleges and the changing higher education environment.


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