OCCC Named Leader College under Achieving the Dream

OCCC Joins 16 Community Colleges Nationwide in Dedication to Student Success

    (Published: 09-24-14)

College clock towerAchieving the Dream, Inc. announced today that Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) is one of 16 community colleges selected for the 2014 cohort of Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges—a national designation awarded to community colleges that commit to improving student success and closing achievement gaps.

Rose State College (RSC) was the only other Oklahoma based college selected as a leader college.

 “Both Oklahoma City Community College and Rose State College have been strong partners with Achieving the Dream since the organization’s onset,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “I want to commend OCCC President Paul Sechrist and RSC President Jeanie Webb and their institutions on the tremendous work they have done to support student persistence and to promote college readiness, which also advances the State Regents’ overarching goal of increasing college degree completion.”

Achieving the Dream performed an extensive review of specified practice and performance activities. OCCC has 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 work of improving student success is critically important to our education and economy," said Carol Lincoln, Achieving the Dream Senior Vice President. "OCCC has demonstrated that better student outcomes are possible when an institution focuses on policies and practices that help students learn at high levels and overcome challenges life throws at them."

Under Achieving the Dream, OCCC not only systemically changed the way they operate, but also implemented 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.

"All too many of our students, especially our low-income and first-generation college students, start on the path to a college degree, but get derailed not because of academic rigors, but the rigors of life," said OCCC President Paul Sechrist. "Through Achieving the Dream and other strategic planning, OCCC is better prepared for eliminating the achievement gaps and ensuring these students overcome these obstacles to achieve a higher level of education."

OCCC is seeing the fruits of this labor as the number of graduates has increased each year under the Achieving the Dream initiative. OCCC awarded 2,053 degrees and certificates in 2014.

The 2014 Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges are:

Amarillo College
(Amarillo, TX)
Lower Columbia College
(Longview, WA)
East Los Angeles College
(Monterey Park, CA)
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
(Green Bay, WI)
Eastern Maine Community College (Bangor, ME)
Oklahoma City Community College
(Oklahoma City, OK)
Everett Community College
(Everett, WA)
Passaic County Community College
(Paterson, NJ)
Jackson College
(Jackson, MI)
Pierce College
(Woodland Hills, CA)
Jefferson Community and Technical College
(Louisville, KY)
Pierce College
(Pierce County, WA)
Lane Community College
(Eugene, OR)
Richland College
(Dallas, TX)
Los Angeles Harbor College
(Wilmington, CA)
Rose State College
(Midwest City, OK)

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. Since 2009, Achieving the Dream has granted Leader College status to a total of 80 active Achieving the Dream Institutions.

About Achieving the Dream, Inc.
Achieving the Dream, Inc. is a national nonprofit that is 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. Evidence-based, student-centered, and built on the values of equity and excellence, Achieving the Dream is closing achievement gaps and accelerating student success nationwide by: 1) guiding evidence-based institutional improvement, 2) leading policy change, 3) generating knowledge, and 4) engaging the public. Conceived as an initiative in 2004 by Lumina Foundation and seven founding partner organizations, today, Achieving the Dream is leading the most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. With over 200 institutions, more than 100 coaches and advisors, and 15 state policy teams - working throughout 34 states and the District of Columbia – the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network helps nearly 4 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.