Staff Contact:

Andrea J. Burney, APR

Director of  Public Relations

DCC Among 21 Colleges To Earn Achieving the Dream Leader College Designation


Chapel Hill, NC, January 29, 2010 – Danville Community College is one of 21 colleges nationwide to earn the Leader College designation by Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count (ATD), a national nonprofit organization that helps more community college students succeed. As an ATD college, DCC was selected for the newly created Leader College designation by virtue of its sustained improvement on key student achievement indicators.

This is the first year that ATD has recognized Leader Colleges. These are colleges that have demonstrated commitment to and progress on the four principles of Achieving the Dream: (1) committed leadership, (2) use of evidence to improve programs and services, (3) broad engagement, and (4) systemic institutional improvement. They have also shown three years of sustained improvement of student success on at least one of the following measures of performance:
• Course completion
• Advancement from remedial to credit-bearing courses
• Completion of college-level math and English courses
• Term-to-term and year-to-year retention
• Completion of certificates or degrees

Additionally, each college must have successfully implemented at least one student success intervention or initiative that achieved documented improvement in student outcomes that are of sufficient scale to benefit a substantial proportion of students.

Conceived in 2004 by Lumina Foundation for Education and eight national partner organizations, Achieving the Dream has expanded to more than 100 institutions in 22 states, reaching nearly one million students. ATD is focused on creating a “culture of evidence? on community college campuses in which data collection and analysis drive efforts to identify problems that prevent students from succeeding—particularly low-income students and students of color—and develop programs to help them stay in school and receive a certificate or diploma or transfer to a four-year institution.

“These success measures are the heart of the Achieving the Dream mission,? said Carol Lincoln, national director of Achieving the Dream and a senior program director at MDC, the initiative’s managing partner. “The hard work and commitment that these colleges – their administrators, professors, support personnel, IR and IT staffs, and the students themselves – have demonstrated over time have led to important educational and institutional-based improvements that have helped increase student achievement on their campuses.?

The Leader Colleges include institutions large and small, rural and urban, single campus and multi-campus that are working to address a variety of student success challenges. These colleges have identified workable solutions to issues such as enhancing the experience of first-year students, improving developmental education, closing achievement gaps, strengthening academic and personal advising for students in need of additional support, strengthening links to high schools and four-year institutions to improve student preparation, and increasing retention, persistence rates, and the number of certificate and degree recipients. (For more information on the Leader Colleges:

Achieving the Dream includes coaching to help colleges’ administrators, faculty, and staff lead institutional change and analyze quantitative and qualitative data. Institutions that wish to be considered a Leader College are rigorously assessed by Achieving the Dream on the five indicators of student performance. Together with the assessment of the college’s coach and data facilitator, a review team determines whether a college has earned the Leader College designation.

“We expect these colleges to serve as mentors within the Achieving the Dream community of learners, as well as advocates for the principles of Achieving the Dream,? Lincoln said. “Creating and implementing student success initiatives that have an impact takes time and patience. It’s critical that we get it right and that we learn from institutions that have demonstrated success in key areas and have been able to maintain progress over time.?

Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges

Broward College
Coastal Bend College
Cuyahoga Community College
Danville Community College
Durham Technical Community College
Eastern Gateway Community College
El Paso Community College District
Guilford Technical Community College
Hillsborough Community College
Houston Community College System
Mountain Empire Community College
New Mexico State University-Doña Ana
North Central State College
Patrick Henry Community College
Paul D. Camp Community College
South Texas College
Southwest Texas Junior College
Tallahassee Community College
Tidewater Community College
Valencia Community College
Zane State College

About Achieving the Dream: Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count helps more community college students succeed, particularly students of color and low-income students. The initiative works on multiple fronts — including efforts on campuses and in research, public engagement and public policy — and emphasizes the use of data to drive change. Achieving the Dream was launched in 2004, with funding provided by Lumina Foundation for Education. Other organizations providing technical and other support to the colleges and states include: the American Association of Community Colleges; the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas-Austin; the Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University; Jobs for the Future; MDC; MDRC; and Public Agenda. MDC is the initiative’s managing partner.


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