Achieving dreams

Graphic courtesy of Achieving the Dream

AC helps students succeed despite budget cuts

By Linda Cortez

Amarillo College officials are proud that AC is one of the first community colleges in the nation to promote the Achieving the Dream/ No Excuses program.

AC is in the process of redesigning its policies to better serve the student body, and in the process, AC pledges to remove any barrier that might prevent students from reaching their academic goals. “When Amarillo College sees an issue or problem that we can fix, we’re going to step up and fix it, and being a part of this No Excuses movement gives us an opportunity to make some pretty significant changes,” said Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, vice president for academic affairs.

The No Excuses program will work in conjunction with several pre-existing programs such as the Math Outreach Center to better serve the student body.

Chantz McCleskey, an engineering, computer science and mathematics major, said, “I like it, from what I have experienced. Other students in my class also really enjoy the tutoring aspect of it. It helped out a lot.”

The math outreach center was established to give students of all mathematical levels guidance to strengthening their math skills. A program that began with the new school year is the mentoring program that targets recent high school graduates.

AC has assigned about 25 personnel members, including instructors and staff, to mentor a group of about 50 students. The mentoring program was designed in an effort to help incoming freshmen make the transition to college life. First Year Seminar is another program launched by AC that targets non-traditional students in an effort that allows students to interact and build relationships with one another.

Lana Jackson, quality enhancement plan director, said, “No Excuses is a philosophy to help the students reach their goals and their dreams no matter what barriers the student may bring.”

Linda Hendrick, the Student Support System STEM Grant project coordinator said, “The STEM program not only helps with tutoring but also mentors and gives opportunities of job shadowing so the students can have a chance to get hooks in their dream, and thus far it is a success.”

STEM has 120 students enrolled. Only 10 slots are open and will remain open until the end of September. For more information about the STEM program, call Hendrick at 371-5498 or email her at

AC continuously works to revise policies to ensure that each student has a full support system in pursuit of the American Dream. AC will introduce the No Excuses program to the college and to the community officially on Oct. 21. A calendar showing events and training and professional development opportunities will be released before Oct. 21.


Originally published: Thursday, September 8, 2011

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