2020 Leah Meyer Austin Award - Lorain County Community College

Lorain County Community College (LCCC), one of two winners of the 2020 Leah Meyer Austin Award, undertook a process of improvement that lowered barriers to student success, elevated completion outcomes, and transformed the college culture. The change began when LCCC joined the Achieving the Dream Network in 2011 and adopted a “culture of care” to more proactively guide students on
their journey to degrees. Faculty, staff, and institutional researchers probed into students’ first-year experiences and dove deeply into disaggregated data, exposing more of what they didn’t know:
Students were getting hung up on completing gateway English and math courses and on even finishing their first year. More significantly, the college saw that equity gaps were falling starkly along racial/
ethnic, income, and gender lines. To focus on equity and help students complete their degrees in the shortest time possible, faculty and staff redesigned developmental education, introduced case management
advising, designed academic and career pathways, and implemented other proven interventions. Today, the culture of caring has led to a holistic overlay of internal and external services as well as academic
and nonacademic supports to guide students. As a result:

  • The three-year graduation rate increased from 8 percent in 2011 to 30 percent in 2019.
  • Eighty percent of students who completed gateway English, gateway math, and 15 college-credit hours in the first year earned an LCCC credential or bachelor’s degree within six years.
  • Equity gaps for gateway English course completions narrowed between 2011 and 2019.

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