West Georgia Technical College is one of eight colleges in the nation this year to earn Leader College status, as designated by Achieving the Dream. The achievement is the organization’s highest designation awarded to institutions that have shown three years of steady improvements in outcomes that measure student success.
Among the 2017 student outcomes by the eight Leader Colleges were improvements such as an increase in the three-year graduation rate and increases in the percentages of students who attempted and completed gateway math courses.
WGTC President Steve G. Daniel said being named an ATD Leader College is part of the college’s culture that focuses on student success.
“We are seeing concrete improvements demonstrated in our data, but also in the individual experiences of students who are better able to thrive and achieve their goals,” Daniel said. “It is a great honor to be recognized for this success by Achieving the Dream. Status as a leader college allows us to join a cohort of the very best two-year colleges in the nation where we can share best practices and help each other build on our successes.”
Leader Colleges are eligible to compete for all grant-funded learning initiatives and are encouraged to provide leadership and support to other colleges in the ATD Network, disseminate lessons learned, support state and national efforts to advance the student success agenda, and continue to improve student outcomes.
“Becoming a Leader College requires an ATD Network college to have data that shows concrete progress toward building a student-centered culture that drives gains in student success,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “Colleges have to be willing to work differently to improve students’ educational journeys, and I’m proud to recognize the colleges that are living their commitment to change and are achieving stronger results.”
John Parton, Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness at West Georgia Tech, said the demonstrated success required to be considered for the Leader College designation is indicative that the college’s focus on student success is paying dividends.
“West Georgia Tech has been recognized as a leader within the state in areas such as economic development, adult education/GED attainment, student apprenticeships and several student success metrics, including student persistence and number of graduates,” Parton said. “We hope to continue on this track of sustained improvement as we continue to strive toward our mission of workforce development. Our continued participation in the ATD network will help provide the framework for student success, and our status as a Leader College will provide an opportunity to mentor other institutions as they work towards improving student success.”
Leader Colleges also have been winners of ATD’s annual Leah Meyer Austin award, a $25,000 prize for an ATD institution that takes whole-college approaches to improving student success and achieves notable increases in student outcomes.
The colleges that earned new Leader College status in 2017: Athens Technical College (Georgia); Big Bend Community College (Washington); Community College of Allegheny County (Pennsylvania); Edmonds Community College (Washington); Housatonic Community College (Connecticut); Stanly Community College (North Carolina); Wallace State Community College (Alabama); and West Georgia Technical College (Georgia).
Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of more than 220 community colleges committed to making progress closing academic achievement gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. 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.
West Georgia Technical College, with campuses in Carroll, Coweta, Douglas, Haralson and Troup counties and class sites in Heard and Meriwether counties, offers more than 120 associate degree, diploma and technical certificate programs of study. A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, West Georgia Tech is the third-largest of the state’s 22 technical colleges. For more information, please visit westgatech.edu.