Achieving the Dream celebrated its 15th year in 2018-2019. Once thought of as only a fad, the student success agenda that anchored ATD’s founding as an initiative in 2004 and as its own independent non-profit in 2011, is now a movement reaching beyond our community college sector to all of higher education and even internationally.
Celebrating our 15th year gave ATD the unique opportunity to celebrate how we have remained true to our mission. We also paused to take a long-range view of our growth, learning, and impact since our founding. We are grateful for the contributions of every member of our ATD community—our network colleges, partners, funders, board members and staff—in supporting us through our 15-year journey as well as key successes over the past year.
Our network grew to nearly 280 colleges with the addition of 17 colleges representing eight states, including eight colleges from Connecticut in our 2019 cohort. Last April we merged with Gateway to College National Network (GtCNN) bringing the GTCNN colleges into the ATD network and building new supports for our colleges as they work to build robust and strategically focused pipelines with their K-12 partners that will lead to more equitable outcomes for students and stronger and resilient communities.
We continued to take what we are learning in the field to develop new supports and services in teaching and learning and holistic student supports for our colleges, which you’ll read about in this report.
We continued to take what we are learning in the field to develop new supports and services in teaching and learning and holistic student supports for our colleges, which you’ll read about in this report. Many of our colleges, now mature in their student success work and requiring customized supports, have worked with ATD to change or bolster coaching supports. Two new learning events, the ATD Equity Institute and the ATD Teaching & Learning Summit, attracted sold-out audiences and added to the suite of professional and peer learning opportunities for our network colleges and beyond. ATD’s Community College Women Succeed initiative has enabled us to engage with policy leaders throughout the country to learn about gaps and promising practices in support for adult women students, many of whom have dependent children.
The continued growth, learning, and impact across the ATD Network during the past year was facilitated by important and collaborative relationships we have with key partners across the higher education sector, including with the Jobs for the Futures Student Success Center Network, the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research Presidents Academy, the Community College Research Center research around adjunct faculty, the AACC Pathways Collaborative, NASPA, WICHE, and many more leading organizations.
Finally, we were thrilled at DREAM last year to award the Leah Meyer Austin prize to Amarillo College and Columbus State Community College and to celebrate the success of two long-time ATD Network colleges, Indian River State College and Miami Dade College, as co-winners of the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, a $1 million award that recognizes institutions that achieve exceptional outcomes for their students.