Elgin Community College has been renamed a Leader College by Achieving the Dream, Inc., a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping more community college students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree.
"We are honored to be renamed an Achieving the Dream Leader College," says ECC President David Sam, PhD, JD. "This distinction affirms the outstanding work done on behalf of our students to help them succeed and achieve their dreams.”
ECC demonstrates its continued commitment to the Achieving the Dream principle which include, committed leadership, use of evidence to improve student outcomes, broad engagement, and systemic institutional improvement, said Luzelma Canales, PhD, one of ECC's ATD coaches who works with the college to ensure it maintains those principles.
“As a Leader College, ECC has demonstrated through data that it is moving the needle on student outcomes with a laser focus on student success, “ Canales said. “I commend ECC leaders at all levels of the institution for its commitment to students and their success.”
A Leader College distinction is a national designation awarded to community colleges that participate in the Achieving the Dream initiative and commit to improving student success and closing achievement gaps.
Institutions with this distinction have shown how data can inform policy and practice to help community college students achieve their goals, resulting in improved skills, better employability, and economic growth for families, communities, and the nation as a whole.
The 2015 Leader Colleges are making strides in the national movement to increase student completion and close achievement gaps, demonstrating the power of the Achieving the Dream Approach. With the guidance of Achieving the Dream Coaches, colleges not only systemically change the way they operate, but also implement key student supports that align with their overall policies and institutional systems, such as college readiness programs, mandatory new student orientation, student-success courses, developmental course redesign, curriculum redesign, and intensive, individualized advising.
Achieving the Dream grants Leader College designation for three-year cycles. After three years, institutions must undergo a recertification process to maintain Leader College status. ECC was first named a Leader College in 2012.