New Initiative at Six Achieving the Dream Colleges Harnesses Faculty Expertise to Improve Student Success

 Achieving the Dream (ATD) selected six of its Leader Colleges to participate in a new initiative to engage part-time faculty as active contributors to their colleges’ reform efforts under the leadership of full-time faculty.

Achieving the Dream, a national nonprofit organization working with more than 200 colleges to increase student success across the country, is administering the 24-month initiative, which will help the participating colleges strengthen their relationships with their adjunct faculties to encourage instructional reform and make all faculty members’ skills and experiences fully available to students.

Achieving the Dream received $2.3 million from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation to fund the project.

The colleges selected for the Engaging Adjunct Faculty in the Student Success Movement initiative are: Harper College (IL), Community College of Baltimore County (MD), Patrick Henry Community College (VA), Delta College (MI), Community College of Philadelphia (PA) and Renton Technical College (WA).

“Adjunct faculty voices are essential to community college reform efforts,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, President and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “Colleges need to involve all faculty leaders, full-time and part-time, in creating systems that allow them to be fully engaged participants in the change process.”

Adjunct or part-time faculty teach more than half of all students in U.S. community colleges, frequently in students’ first college-level courses and developmental education courses.

The initiative will enable the participating community colleges to provide support for their adjunct faculty and create more opportunities for them to increase their knowledge of and satisfaction with professional learning and build awareness of campus resources and policies relevant to adjuncts. Policy changes could lead to improved orientation, stronger communication channels, allocation of resources, data collection and reporting, and common hiring and evaluation processes.

In addition to placing full-time faculty at the center of the initiative, colleges also are planning to review professional development systems, expand teaching and learning centers, begin faculty mentoring relationships, and revise existing policies and practices that limit adjunct faculty’s involvement in colleges’ culture and operations.

The initiative recognizes that adjunct faculty with close connections to their colleges can be more valuable to their students if they have access to information about college programs and resources, data on student performance and progress, and the informal knowledge developed by full-time faculty. Over time, the colleges may build capacity to include adjunct faculty in college governance structures and college-wide student success agendas.

Teams from each of the colleges will formally begin their work at a launch event on Saturday, July 30, at Evergreen State College, in Olympia, WA. Following the one-day event, the colleges will participate in the Teaching and Learning National Institute (TLNI), co-sponsored by Achieving the Dream. The TNLI is bringing together faculty teams from 30 community colleges and four-year institutions to develop evidence-based action plans to improve instructional practices, student engagement, and student learning at their campuses.

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About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective organizations in health, place-based initiatives, and education and human services. Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1.5 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. The Trust's Education Program seeks to advance American economic competitiveness as well as individual social mobility. In K-12, the Trust focuses on ensuring all students graduate high school prepared for college or careers by supporting teacher effectiveness and the adoption and implementation of high academic standards. In higher education, the goal of the Trust’s grantmaking is to increase the number and diversity of college graduates in STEM fields by improving persistence to graduation.

About Great Lakes: Dedicated to making college education a reality since 1967

Knowing that education has the power to change lives for the better, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates was established as a nonprofit group focused on a single objective: helping students nationwide prepare for and succeed in post-secondary education and student loan repayment. As a leading student loan guarantor and servicer, we have been selected by the U.S. Department of Education to provide assistance and repayment planning to more than 8 million borrowers – as well as assistance to colleges and lenders nationwide. Our group’s earnings support one of the largest and most respected educational philanthropy programs in the country. Since 2006, we have committed nearly $172 million in grant funding to promote higher education access and completion for students of color, low income students, and first-generation students. For additional information, visit

Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of more than 277 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing equity gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with nearly 75 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with Network colleges in 44 states and the District of Columbia to reach more than 4 million community college students. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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