By introducing data-informed practices and whole-college solutions, ATD Network colleges are outpacing peer institutions when it comes to helping more students get better jobs, live better lives and have positive college experiences.
Over the last 15 years, Achieving the Dream Network colleges have met the challenge to advance student success and reduce equity gaps, leading to improved economic and social mobility for their students. Achieving the Dream has led the effort to champion evidence-based institutional improvement to help our Network Colleges improve outcomes for their low-income students and students of color who dream of achieving academic success and economic opportunity. ATD plays a critical role in coaching college leaders to strengthen fundamental capacities of their colleges to ensure they are ready to help their students realize those dreams.
In the past year, ATD launched a full suite of customizable professional coaching options to meet the changing needs of our Network colleges, leverage strengths identified on their Institutional Capacity Assessment Tool results, and bolster capacity where needed to implement reforms and guide continuous improvement. We expanded our work with colleges by launching the holistic student supports approach nationwide and working with colleges to disaggregate and understand their own data in order to achieve more equitable student outcomes.
It was a year where we experienced the continued growth of the Network, while celebrating our Network colleges being nationally recognized for their outstanding success. Essential to these transformational efforts were our deep and reciprocal relationships with partners in the field, from serving as faculty for the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence program to supporting Jobs for the Future’s national Student Success Center Network.
A new report, Measuring What Matters, produced in partnership with Gallup, showed that institutions working with Achieving the Dream are outpacing peer institutions. By introducing data-informed practices and whole-college solutions, ATD Network colleges are helping more students get better jobs, live better lives, and have positive college experiences. We also welcomed a record 21 new colleges into the ATD Network, and the annual DREAM convening in Nashville was the largest in our 14-year history, with attendance that included representatives from most of the nation’s Tribal Colleges and Universities (126 individuals from 33 TCUs).
As ATD Network colleges have continued their outstanding success, we were pleased to recognize those accomplishments with the Leader College of Distinction designation, a new honor that celebrates Network colleges that have lived their reform work over time and seen real improvements in student achievements across the institution.
We learned in May 2018 that eight of the ten finalists for the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, a $1 million award that recognizes institutions that achieve exceptional outcomes for their students, are in the Achieving the Dream Network. Two of these eight, Miami Dade College and Odessa College, are both former Leah Meyer Austin Award winners, an honor ATD bestows annually on a college that has shown sweeping institutional change leading to significant improvement in student outcomes.
As we work to ensure that holistic student supports increase equitable success, we also recognize that it is critical to add student voice to these discussions. In 2018, our class of ATD DREAM Scholars provided rich context and insight at the February DREAM Conference. We also announced and awarded the new Harvey Lincoln Scholarship Fund, named in honor of the late husband of ATD Senior Vice President Carol Lincoln.
With our focus on helping our Network Colleges confront new and existing challenges facing their students, Achieving the Dream is committed to innovate in the services we provide and how we approach our work. We look forward to our continued work with you to increase student success and economic opportunity in your communities.
Dr. Karen A. Stout
President and CEO