Ten Colleges Earn Leader College Status for Student Success Outcomes

Achieving the Dream
Contact: Glenn Fee
Director, Network Communications and Media Relations

For more information, contact:
Diana Fedinec, Director Public Relations and Media

Southwest Tennessee Community College among Four Colleges to Earn Leader Status for First Time

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD—Ten community colleges from across the country earned Leader College status, based upon metrics intended to encourage colleges to sustain aggressive efforts that result in far greater student success and equity. The honor recognizes ATD Network colleges that have lived their reform work over time and have seen significant improvements in student achievement across the institution.

“We’re proud to acknowledge the achievements of colleges in our Achieving the Dream Network,” said ATD president and CEO Dr. Karen A. Stout. “These new Leader Colleges represent a group that has worked extremely hard over the past few years to change the trajectory of their institutions. Their work impacts their students, communities, and the higher education sector.”

“ATD has been a game changer for us,” Southwest President Dr. Tracy D. Hall said. “We have worked hard to successfully transform the student experience through the outstanding guidance and framework provided by ATD.  We are proud of this designation.  It is a fantastic affirmation of our hard work and the improved student outcomes we see every day.”

Leader Colleges, which are certified for three-year terms, have shown progress in building institutional capacity to create a student-focused culture and strong outcomes for all students. They play an important role in accelerating adoption of effective practices within the ATD Network and across the higher education sector. Leader Colleges are recognized for the quality of their work in whole college reform, resulting in increased completion rates for all students. Leader Colleges are expected to develop innovative ways to work with other colleges to share knowledge and facilitate an exchange of ideas about evidence-based reform strategies. 

Southwest joined the Achieving the Dream network in 2016 as one of only 12 institutions selected that year.  ATD provides a capacity-building framework for student success across the areas of leadership, teaching and learning and data and technology. The ATD initiative was part of Dr. Hall’s strategic plan to Redesign, Reinvent and Reset the student experience. In four years, student outcomes have yielded significant gains in enrollment, graduation and dual enrollment. Additionally, the College narrowed the achievement gap between white students and students of color. Also, the percentage of hours earned versus hours attempted increased across several other demographics to include gender, Pell-eligibility, veteran and first-generation student status.

The 2019 cohort of new Leader Colleges are:

  • Chattanooga State Community College (TN)
  • MiraCosta College (CA)
  • Oakton Community College (IL)
  • Southwest Tennessee Community College (TN)

The 2019 cohort of Recertified Leader Colleges include:

  • Danville Area Community College (IL)
  • Indian River State College (FL)
  • Macomb Community College (MI)
  • Odessa College (TX)
  • Sinclair Community College (OH)
  • Zane State College (OH)

About Achieving the Dream

Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of 277 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 75 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with Network colleges in 44 states and the District of Columbia.