Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count (ATD), a national nonprofit organization that helps more community college students succeed, recently designated Coastal Bend College as a Leader College for its sustained improvement on key student achievement indicators.
“We are honored to be named as an Achieving the Dream Leader College and to have this opportunity to work with community colleges across the country in improving the success of our students,” said CBC President Dr. Thomas Baynum.
CBC is included with a list of 20 other community and technical colleges in Texas, New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio. This is the first year that ATD has recognized Leader Colleges. The designated institutions have demonstrated commitment to and progress on the four principles of Achieving the Dream: committed leadership, use of evidence to improve programs and services, broad engagement, and systemic institutional improvement. They have also shown three years of sustained improvement of student success on at least one of the following measures of performance:
- Course completion
- Advancement from remedial to credit-bearing courses
- Completion of college-level math and English courses
- Term-to-term and year-to-year retention
- Completion of certificates or degrees
Additionally, each college must have successfully implemented at least one student success intervention or initiative that achieved documented improvement in student outcomes that are of sufficient scale to benefit a substantial proportion of students.
Conceived in 2004 by Lumina Foundation for Education and eight national partner organizations, Achieving the Dream has expanded to more than 100 institutions in 22 states, reaching nearly one million students. ATD is focused on creating a “culture of evidence” on community college campuses in which data collection and analysis drive efforts to identify problems that prevent students from succeeding—particularly low-income students and students of color—and develop programs to help them stay in school and receive a certificate or diploma or transfer to a four-year institution.
“These success measures are the heart of the Achieving the Dream mission,” said Carol Lincoln, national director of Achieving the Dream and a senior program director at MDC, the initiative’s managing partner. “The hard work and commitment that these colleges – their administrators, professors, support personnel, and the students themselves – have demonstrated over time have led to important educational and institutional-based improvements that have helped increase student achievement on their campuses.”
The Leader Colleges include institutions large and small, rural and urban, single campus and multi-campus that are working to address a variety of student success challenges. These colleges have identified workable solutions to issues such as enhancing the experience of first-year students, improving developmental education, closing achievement gaps, strengthening academic and personal advising for students in need of additional support, strengthening links to high schools and four-year institutions to improve student preparation, and increasing retention, persistence rates, and the number of certificate and degree recipients.
“We expect these colleges to serve as mentors within the Achieving the Dream community of learners, as well as advocates for the principles of Achieving the Dream,” Lincoln said. “Creating and implementing student success initiatives that have an impact takes time and patience. It’s critical that we get it right and that we learn from institutions that have demonstrated success in key areas and have been able to maintain progress over time.”
For more information on the Leader Colleges, go to www.achievingthedream.org.