National initiative seeks to increase student success at community colleges; Network now includes more than 130 colleges in 24 states and the District of Columbia, reaching more than 1 million students
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Anne Arundel Community College has joined Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count, a national commitment to student success and institutional improvement, aimed at identifying new strategies to improve student success, close achievement gaps and increase retention, persistence and completion rates.
AACC believes this new effort mirrors its own Student Success 2020 initiative, launched in December, and the college hopes that being part of Achieving the Dream will bring more attention to and community support for the college’s student success efforts through its connection to a high-profile, nationally recognized organization. The Achieving the Dream organization also will expose the college to a range of strategies being employed by Achieving the Dream colleges and give it a stable, nationally recognized set of benchmarks to work toward, as well as enable an effective collaboration with Maryland’s other Achieving the Dream college, the Community College of Baltimore County, to work on statewide policy issues.
AACC will concentrate its efforts on these commitments:
- Helping all students identify meaningful educational goals;
- Building systems and programs to track, monitor and support students’ progress in achieving their goals;
- Involving faculty and staff in examining current practices to identify potential vulnerabilities and barriers to students’ completing their goals;
- And, making changes necessary to increase students’ success.
AACC President Martha A. Smith, Ph.D., said the commitment is needed to move our students forward, to move the nation forward, with well-educated citizens and workers.
“This new initiative will continue our commitment to student success, to help more students be more successful. We will measure student success in terms of our students’ educational goal attainment with emphasis on the completion of degrees, certificates and other workforce credentials,” she said.
AACC already has programs that target students who are the first in their families to attend college, such as Student Achievement and Success Program, Adelanté and First 2 College. To support these projects and additional efforts, AACC will look for additional resources, including more scholarships, more mentors and advisers and more dedicated space for individual and collaborative learning.
“Student success is what we do here at Anne Arundel Community College,” Dr. Smith said. “There is absolutely nothing new about this commitment to student success. ... Anne Arundel Community College is already doing a lot to ensure our students’ success and we will do even more to help all students achieve their educational goals.”
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