Motlow State Community College has strengthened its commitment to improving student success by becoming part of the Achieving the Dream (ATD) National Reform Network. ATD, the nonprofit leading a movement to ensure student success for colleges that champion educational equity, continues to expand its Network with the addition of 20 colleges in 2018.
"Achieving the Dream is an organization nationally known for serving as a catalyst in efforts supporting community colleges in their mission to increase student success," said Dr. Michael Torrence, Motlow president. "More specifically, ATD strives for equity in student success and assists colleges as they drill down into their data to review exactly where they are strong and where they have opportunities."
Chosen by the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), Motlow represents one of the eight Tennessee community colleges joining ATD in the 2018 cohort, which is among the largest in the organization's 14-year history. The joining colleges increase the ATD Network to more than 200 institutions from 41 states, including the District of Columbia.
Teams from each of the 20 colleges recently met in Cleveland, Ohio, to set the stage for their work as ATD Network institutions. Their three-day experience at the Kickoff Institute included an introduction to ATD's approach, along with a capacity-building framework and companion self-assessment tool that enables colleges to pinpoint their strengths and areas for improvement across seven institutional capacities that are needed to facilitate change.
This framework integrates and aligns efforts that the colleges may have already begun to implement, such as guided pathways, integrated planning and advising, development education redesign, and assesses readiness for other large-scale change work.
"The Achieving the Dream Institute provided applicable approaches for instituting high impact practices that have resolutely shown positive impacts on student success within higher education institutions across the United States," Torrence added. "Motlow, as a participant with an earnest focus on student success, brought back several resources that we have shared with our own campus community. We believe our engagement in this data-informed initiative will heighten our ability to serve our students and our community. Additionally, our campus-wide approach aligns with the work of the ATD network."
During the kickoff event, the Motlow team began work on organizing the student success work for the upcoming academic year, including preparing for the on-campus launch in the fall. Included was an in-depth orientation to ATD, focusing on how to leverage the power of the Network.
"We trust in the ATD pathways and see this as an additional opportunity to accelerate, support, and further the goals of Chancellor Tydings, the Drive to 55 Alliance, the Tennessee Board of Regents, and our College," said Torrence.
The Motlow team members also met for the first time with their Leadership Coach and Data Coach; community college leaders who are carefully matched with each institution to provide personalized advice and guidance to build needed capacities, align student success efforts, and to support change where it is needed.
"The strength of local and regional economies, our ability to rebuild the middle class, and the possibility that a new generation will achieve their goals depends on community colleges," said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream. "Colleges that join the ATD Network show an exceptional commitment to becoming the kind of institution that will lead the nation into the future."
Colleges joining the ATD Network in 2018 include:
- Coahoma Community College (MS)
- Columbia State Community College (TN)
- County College of Morris (NJ)
- Delaware Technical Community College (DE)
- Dyersburg State Community College (TN)
- Gateway Community College (CT)
- Harford Community College (MD)
- Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MS)
- Motlow State Community College (TN)
- Nashville State Community College (TN)
- Northeast State Community College (TN)
- North Central Texas College (TX)
- Olympic College (WA)
- Palm Beach State College (FL)
- Pellissippi State Community College (TN)
- Rogue Community College (OR)
- Vance-Granville Community College (NC)
- Volunteer State Community College (TN)
- Walters State Community College (TN)
- West Hills College Coalinga (CA)