Northern Virginia Community College was recognized as a leader in the national student completion movement by Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count. NOVA, one of seven colleges designated as a 2010 Leader College, was recognized for demonstrating sustained improvement and accomplishments on key student achievement indicators. The seven new Leader Colleges are:
- Alamo Community College District
- Brazosport College
- Capital Community College
- Martin Community College
- Northampton Community College
- Northern Virginia Community College
- Yakima Valley Community College
"We are honored to be recognized as a leader college in the national student completion movement by Achieving the Dream. Building on a culture of evidence, NOVA has been focusing on student success initiatives and we have begun to see signs of success from our ongoing efforts," said NOVA President Robert G. Templin Jr. "I want to thank everyone involved with ATD at the College for their hard work and dedication to this project."
This is the second year that ATD has recognized Leader Colleges. Leader Colleges have demonstrated commitment to and progress on the four principles of Achieving the Dream: committed leadership, use of evidence to improve programs and services, broad engagement, and 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, and completion of certificates or degrees. Additionally, each college has successfully implemented at least one student success intervention or initiative that is advancing student outcomes that are of sufficient scale to benefit a substantial proportion of students.
"Despite – or perhaps because of – the tough economic conditions, more community colleges across the country are focusing intensively on low student completion rates, and are implementing reforms to bolster student success," said Achieving the Dream President and CEO William E. Trueheart."Northern Virginia Community College joins the ranks of now nearly 30 exemplary institutions that have made significant advances in the lives of their students across the country."
Conceived in 2004 as a national initiative by Lumina Foundation for Education and eight national partner organizations, Achieving the Dream has evolved into an independent nonprofit working with 130 institutions in 24 states and the District of Columbia, reaching more than 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.
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, click here.
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," Trueheart said. "Creating and implementing student success initiatives that have an enduring 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."
The Leader College announcement was made during the biannual Achieving the Dream Developmental Education State Policy Meeting coordinated by Jobs for the Future and happening through Wednesday in Miami, Fla. Achieving the Dream’s national director Carol Lincoln made the announcement with several Leader College representatives in attendance, including representatives from Northern Virginia Community College, Capital Community College, El Paso Community College and Guilford Technical Community College.
About Achieving the Dream: Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count is a national nonprofit organization that helps more community college students succeed, particularly students of color and low-income students. The organization 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. Launched as an initiative in 2004 with funding provided by Lumina Foundation for Education, Achieving the Dream is built on the belief that broad institutional change, informed by student achievement data, is critical to significantly improving student success rates. Today, Achieving the Dream’s network includes 130 institutions in 24 states and the District of Columbia, reaching more than one million students. Achieving the Dream continues to work closely with founding partners: 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.
Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.