For the third time, Achieving the Dream (ATD), a national nonprofit dedicated to helping community college students stay in school and earn degrees, has designated Capital Community College as a “Leader College,” an honor awarded to institutions in ATD’s national network that have shown three years of steady improvement in two outcomes that measure student success.
“Leader College status represents a sustained, successful effort to build a student-centered culture,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “Colleges that stay focused on the hard work of transformation deserve to be recognized when they make measurable progress.”
Capital Community College continually improves academic supports for students. For example, a specially-trained task force of tutors are embedded in all developmental math courses to provide supports both inside and outside the classroom. This has resulted in enhanced collaboration between tutors and instructors, and the implementation of best practices for student-centered learning and embedded support. Capital’s first measure of student success was to have students complete developmental math course requirements in 2 years, and the completion percent increased every year over the past 3 years, from 42.1% between 2011-2012 to 53.6% between 2014-2015. This population represents between 14%-19% of students at the college for any given year.
One of the first college’s in the state of Connecticut to be designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), Capital has taken a holistic approach towards improving and transforming the academic, social, and cultural experiences of Hispanic students. The college’s second measure of student success was to raise Hispanic students’ GPA for those with GPA’s greater or equal to 2.0, and this was borne out: Capital’s Hispanic student population saw increases in their GPA’s over the past 3 years, from 61.4% in fall 2012 to 69.1% in fall 2015. This population represents 27% of all students at the college.
The ATD Core Team at Capital is comprised of 21 members representing a cross-section of the college’s faculty and staff. Co-chaired by Mike Proulx, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, and Tyesha Wood, Director of the college’s Welcome & Advising Center, the Core Team is broken into 3 sub-groups: College readiness team, Data team, and Developmental Education team.
This year Achieving the Dream designated four institutions as Leader Colleges for the first time and recertified 17 Leader Colleges. ATD leads a student success network made up of over 200 institutions, more than 100 coaches and advisors, and 15 policy teams.
“This recognition speaks to the commitment of our entire college community and their exceptional work on behalf of our students,” said Dr. Wilfredo Nieves, Capital’s president. “We’re honored to be an Achieving the Dream Leader College again, and are continually working on developing strategies and supports that will help our students succeed.”