Fifteen community colleges will each receive a $100,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to bolster faculty and staff engagement in student success efforts being promoted by the Achieving the Dream reform effort..
Each college already has been designated a “leader colleges” by ATD, a national nonprofit group promoting non-governmental college reform aimed at improving community college student success. Leader Colleges are selected based on their commitment to and progress on four principles: committed leadership, use of evidence to improve programs and services, broad engagement, and systemic institutional improvement. They must also show three years of sustained improvement of student success.
The grants are intended to get faculty and staff more involved in student success efforts.
“These 15 Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges have met high standards of practice and performance and are well-positioned to tackle one of the toughest community college reform challenges our nation is facing: engaging more full-time and adjunct faculty and staff in student success efforts,” said Rachel Singer, vice president of Achieving the Dream, Inc.
While community colleges have made significant strides in boosting student success rates, the proportion of faculty, including adjunct faculty, and student services personnel deeply engaged in the work is small compared to the total number of faculty and staff at the colleges. Moreover, reform work has yet to knock down the silos between academic departments and student services that limit vital collaboration, according to ATD.
Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges, known for their commitment to student-centered, evidence-based reforms were deemed a most ideal network of colleges for testing and expanding innovative faculty and staff engagement strategies. The 15 colleges were selected to receive a Walmart PRESS (Persistence, Retention, and Student Success) grant.
The grant will include a 27-month process during which the selected colleges will receive technical assistance and support from Achieving the Dream. In addition, each selected college has agreed to serve as a peer coach and be active in the learning community among the more than 175 colleges in the Achieving the Dream network.
The winning colleges are Aiken Technical College (Aiken, S.C.); Alamo Colleges, (San Antonio, Texas); Brazosport College (Lake Jackson, Texas); Community College of Beaver County (Monaca, Pa.); Cuyahoga Community College (Cleveland, Ohio); Durham Technical Community College (Durham, N.C.); Guilford Technical Community College (Jamestown, N.C.); Northampton Community College, (Bethlehem, Pa.); Northern Essex Community College (Haverhill, Mass.); Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College (Orangeburg, S.C.); Pulaski Technical College (North Little Rock, Ark.); Roxbury Community College (Boston, Mass.); Tallahassee Community College (Tallahassee, Fla.); Valencia College (Orlando, Fla.) and Yakima Valley Community College (Yakima, Wash.)