Amarillo College has been selected as one of 16 elite Leader Colleges for 2014 by the national Achieving the Dream association.
The designation was announced at a ceremony Wednesday morning in the College Union Building on the Washington Street Campus.
“This is a really important distinction for Amarillo College,” said Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, AC president.
“We were named Leader College today for the work that we’ve been doing and the improvements that we’ve been showing.”
Achieving the Dream is a national, nonprofit organization focused on community college achievement for student success.
AC has been chosen as a Leader College only three years after its acceptance into Achieving the Dream.
It usually would take four to five years for any college after being accepted to be chosen as a Leader College, Lowery-Hart said.
“AC clearly is working hard to move the needle for whole cohorts of students and deserves recognition for these relentless efforts and promising achievements,” said Carol Lincoln, Achieving the Dream senior vice president.
The rapid improvement and outstanding results in five specific categories helped AC get a place among the 16 selected schools.
The five categories are first year seminar, course redesign, developmental education, the college’s approach to poverty issues among students and expansion of the honors program.
Some of the categories are included in the No Excuses philosophy AC has implemented to help with not only “student completion but successful student completion,” said Andrew Alexander, Student Government Association president and a No Excuses core team member.
“The great beneficiaries of the Leader College designation are our students,” said former AC President Dr. Paul Matney. “When you have a goal that is so important and so compelling and that goes with students success, it shows what can happen when we get everybody working towards it.”
“I think that while the recognition is important, what’s really important are the lives that we’re changing,” said Ellen Robertson Green, AC chief of communication and marketing.
The main result AC’s recognition brings to students is the access the college will have to more grants and scholarships to help students succeed even more in college and consequently in their field of study.
“We intend to continue to give students life-defining experiences,” Lowery-Hart said.