AP NEWS

Houston Community College earns Achieving the Dream Designation

May 9, 2019

The Achieving the Dream Network designated Houston Community College as a 2018-2019 Leader College. The designation celebrates colleges that have achieved — and sustained — significant improvements in student outcomes.

“Student success is critical to our mission here at HCC,” said Cesar Maldonado, Ph.D., P.E., chancellor of HCC. “We have made it a priority to ensure all students achieve their educational goals. Being named an Achieving the Dream Leader College demonstrates to the larger world what we already know: HCC is a place where lives are transformed through a high-quality, affordable education. We are honored by this designation.”

Achieving the Dream is a national nonprofit organization that works with a network of higher education institutions, coaches and advisers, state policy teams, investors, and partners to help more than four million community college students better attain success. The organization’s Leader Colleges are selected based on several benchmarks for success, including that students achieve a certificate or degree within four years of enrolling, the number of students who attempt or complete a course with a grade of C-minus or higher, and that a school demonstrates institution-wide improvement in critical areas such as students completing gateway math or English courses during their first year of enrollment.

“We raised the bar this year for colleges to attain Leader College status and you rose to the challenge,” said Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream, in a letter to Chancellor Maldonado announcing the feat. “Achieving the Dream is excited to add you to the growing group of Achieving the Dream colleges that have demonstrated measurable gains on important student success metrics over a three-year period.”

Achieving the Dream was founded 15 years ago, and HCC has been a part of the network since its inception. As a Leader College, HCC will continue closing achievement gaps among student populations, as well as sharing best practices with other schools in the network.

“We’re taking our work in a new direction,” said Dr. Kurt Ewen, vice chancellor for innovation, planning and institutional effectiveness. “We’ve developed nine ‘personas’ that are data-driven representations of our students. For example, Marissa is a proactive professional. David is getting a level-one certification in construction technology. Now, what happens when we take the personas based on students’ career intent, or their life experiences, and we ask, are the Davids of the world achieving at the same rate as the Marissas of the world? It’s a different way into the gap closing. And it’s an extension of our Achieving the Dream work.”

Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges are eligible to compete for all grant-funded learning initiatives and are encouraged to provide leadership and support to other colleges in ATD’s national network. They are formally recognized at the organization’s annual DREAM learning event, where representatives from Leader Colleges are invited to be presenters and panelists.

HCC was named a Leader College along with Anne Arundel Community College, Central Alabama Community College, Grayson College, Roane State Community College, Western Technical College and West Hills College-Lemoore.