By Linda Cortez
Amarillo College is one of 35 Texas community colleges promoting a program created by Achieving the Dream, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to boosting student success.
The “No Excuses” movement at AC launches this semester, supported by pre-existing and new programs designed to help students from all backgrounds succeed. The program focuses on providing aid to low-income students and improving student retention and graduation rates, according to AC’s pledge at www.achievingthedream.org.
AC will roll out the Achieving the Dream initiative officially to the community at 9 a.m. Friday in a public event called “No Excuses: Building Student Success” at Central Church of Christ at 1401 S. Monroe St.
Dr. Kay McClenney of the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin will be the event’s keynote speaker. McClenney also directs the Community College Survey of Student Engagement and serves in leadership roles in the Ford Foundation’s Community College Bridges to Opportunity Initiative and the MetLife Foundation’s national student retention project.
“This is our big launch for Achieving the Dream, our No
Excuses initiatives,” said Dr. Lana Jackson, director of the AC quality enhancement plan.
“Dr. Matney also has invited community leaders to come and hear our big launch.”
According to the Achieving the Dream website, www.achievingthedream.org, the national nonprofit organization was conceived in 2004 by the Lumina Foundation for Education to help community college students succeed with a focus on students in the minority and who struggle financially. The organization emphasizes the use of data to drive change on college campuses nationwide, pushing efforts in research, public engagement and public policy.
AC not only will have an opportunity to learn from other Achieving the Dream institutions but will receive assistance from the organization in gathering and using data to identify problems, set priorities and measure student-success progress.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for AC,” said Joe Wyatt, AC communications coordinator. “It is also an honor for AC because we were selected to be in Achieving the Dream.”
Of about 1,200 community colleges in the United States, 30 were invited to join Achieving the Dream in 2011. There now are 160 colleges involved nationwide.
“AC is in the process of redesigning its policies to better serve the student body,” Jackson said.
“AC pledges to remove any barrier that might prevent students from reaching their academic goals.”
Originally published: Thursday, October 20, 2011