Vance-Granville Community College today announced it has joined Achieving the Dream (ATD), a network of more than 220 colleges in 41 states dedicated to improving student success.
As an ATD Network institution, VGCC will innovate to implement, align, and scale cutting edge reforms, work with ATD coaches to build institutional capacity and connect with peers to foster learning and share information, according to college and ATD officials.
“We are already making a difference in the lives of students,” said Dr. Levy Brown, Vance-Granville’s vice president of academic affairs. “Now as a college, it is time to take the next step in our work to improve student learning and success.” Dr. Brown is the leader of the college’s ATD Core Team.
“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.”
“Achieving the Dream will serve to accelerate and advance Vance-Granville’s ongoing efforts to assist students in achieving their goals,” said Dr. Gordon Burns, VGCC’s interim president. “Participating in Achieving the Dream with its holistic approach to student success will result in Vance-Granville identifying college strengths, prioritizing areas needing improvement and systematically determining and implementing actions that will lead to greater numbers of students and graduates achieving their personal and career goals.”
ATD offers a capacity-building framework and companion self-assessment that allow colleges to pinpoint strengths and areas for improvement across seven institutional capacities in areas such as leadership and vision, teaching and learning, and data and technology.
With the capacity framework as a guide, ATD’s approach integrates and aligns existing college success efforts and offers valuable support in preparing for accreditation, fostering conversation about goals, and making bold, holistic institution-wide changes because initiatives that don’t reach most of a college’s student body have not shown strong results.
A team from Vance-Granville and teams from the other colleges joining ATD this year met in June to plan for the launch their ATD work, which will initially focus on student learning and success.
Dr. Joanne Bashford and Dr. Linda Hagedorn were on VGCC’s Main Campus on Thursday and Friday to meet with the Core Team, administration, staff and faculty for Vance-Granville’s launch of the initiative. Dr. Bashford serves as a Higher Education Services Consultant and Leadership Coach for ATD. Her career in community colleges spans 25 years and includes serving as the President of Miami Dade College's InterAmerican Campus, a diverse campus of 19,000 students located in historic Little Havana, until retiring in 2017. Dr. Hagedorn is Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs, International Programs, Student Services, Diversity and Equity, and Community Program at Iowa State University and a data coach for ATD. As an Achieving the Dream Data Coach, Dr. Hagedorn has been consulting with community colleges since the initiative’s inception and is currently working with six community colleges.
ATD Network colleges report data using metrics that answer critical questions about who attends college, who succeeds in and after college and how college is financed. To advance goals of social mobility and equity, the metrics provide information on how low-income and other underserved students fare. These metrics are categorized into performance metrics, efficiency metrics and equity metrics at points during the student experience from access through post-college outcomes.
As colleges in the new cohort progress, they may apply to participate in initiatives supported by philanthropic funding and managed by ATD. These initiatives help incubate new ideas that help colleges refine practices based on evidence of what works and allow ATD to disseminate knowledge to the broader network and the field. New initiatives address the challenge of engaging adjunct faculty more deeply as key members of colleges’ workforces and implementing degree programs using only open educational resources (OER).
Achieving the Dream, along with more than 100 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with ATD Network colleges to reach more than 4 million community college students.
In the photo above, Dr. Joanne Bashford, left, and Dr. Linda Hagedorn of Achieving the Dream make a presentation to Vance-Granville Community College’s administration, faculty and staff at the college’s fall convocation in the Civic Center on Main Campus. VGCC today announced it has joined the network of more than 220 colleges in 41 states dedicated to improving student success.