Roane State Community College is among six colleges across the U.S. earning a “Leader College” designation from Achieving the Dream, a national reform organization for student success, for achieving and sustaining significant improvements in student outcomes.
In announcing the new Leader Colleges last week, Achieving the Dream (ATD) said the six institutions “have shown measurable progress in areas critical to improving success for all community college students.”
Twelve Tennessee community colleges are members of the national ATD Network, including eight which joined last year as part of a major Tennessee Board of Regents initiative to close academic achievement gaps and improve graduation rates for all students. Roane State joined ATD in 2015.
“I’m very proud to recognize a new group of Achieving the Dream Network colleges that are advancing equity, offering a more impactful student experience, and achieving stronger, measurable results,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and chief executive officer of Achieving the Dream. “ATD Leader Colleges’ gains in student success and progress toward improving outcomes for all students make them examples for their peers.”
ATD said the six colleges “excelled in their work to improve in areas critical to student success.” They showed institution-wide improvement in completion of Gateway math and/or English in a student’s first year, persistence from Year 1 to Year 2 (fall-to-fall retention), courses attempted/completed with a C- or higher grade within one year of initial enrollment, and completion of a certificate or degree within four years of initial enrollment.
Roane State President Chris Whaley thanked the college's faculty and staff for their daily efforts on behalf of students. “I greatly appreciate the work that our faculty and staff do every day to help students succeed. Recognition as a Leader College is a result of their efforts. I also greatly appreciate the guidance and support we receive from Achieving the Dream and from the Tennessee Board of Regents as we all strive to provide students with a high-quality education that leads to great careers,” Whaley said.
Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora W. Tydings, a strong advocate for Achieving the Dream and its student-centered mission, also congratulated the Roane State community for this major recognition of its work to ensure that all students succeed. “I’m very proud of the work that President Chris Whaley and all the faculty and staff at Roane State have done to improve student success, which is what earned them this high honor and recognition from Achieving the Dream,” she said.
“Our System shares the ATD vision of community colleges that highly value preserving access and ensuring success for all students, especially first-generation students from economically disadvantaged families and under-represented minorities. That’s why we encouraged all of our colleges that were not already in Achieving the Dream to join last year,” the chancellor said.
Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges are eligible to compete for all grant-funded learning initiatives and are encouraged to provide leadership and support to other colleges in the ATD national Network, disseminate lessons learned, support state and national efforts to advance the student success agenda, and continue to improve student outcomes.
Network institutions must now be Leader Colleges in order to compete for Achieving the Dream’s top national award, the Leah Meyer Austin award – a $25,000 prize for an institution in the ATD Network that successfully implements whole-college approaches to improving student success and achieves notable increases in student outcomes.
In addition to Roane State, the other new Leader Colleges are: Anne Arundel Community College (MD), Central Alabama Community College (AL), Grayson College (TX), Western Technical College (WI) and West Hills Lemoore College (CA).
Achieving the Dream leads a growing network of more than 220 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 academic achievement 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 41 states and the District of Columbia to reach more than 4 million community college students.
For more information on Achieving the Dream, click here.
The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.