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An Achieving the Dream Leader College

ATD leader college logoAchieving the Dream announced on Sept. 22 that Columbus State earned Leader College distinction—a national designation awarded to community colleges that commit to improving student success and closing achievement gaps.

Columbus State 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.

“There are more than 1,200 community colleges in America, some 200 of which have committed to accelerating student success as members of the Achieving the Dream network.” said Columbus State Community College President Dr. David Harrison. “To be recognized as one of 19 new Leader Colleges puts Columbus State in very good company, and the work our faculty and staff have done to realize this distinction will benefit our students in a very big way.” Harrison said.

“Becoming a Leader College is very powerful and affirms the exceptional work and commitment of faculty and staff to their students' success," said Achieving the Dream Vice President for Community College Relations Cindy Lenhart. “Columbus State is using evidence to make informed decisions that lead to significant institutional change."

List of 2015 Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges

The 2015 Leader Colleges are making strides in the national movement to increase student completion and close achievement gaps, demonstrating the power of the Achieving the Dream Approach. With the guidance of Achieving the Dream Coaches, colleges not only systemically change the way they operate, but also implement 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.

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.

Columbus State Community College has been dedicated to meeting the educational needs of its community for a half century. The college has grown from an initial enrollment of 67 students in 1963 to roughly 25,000 students today.

Columbus State’s Career Programs Division offers two-year degree programs in more than 55 areas of business, health, public service, human service and engineering technologies. Students can also take the first two years of a bachelor’s degree through the college’s Arts and Sciences Division, and then transfer to a four-year institution. In all, there are more than 200 associate degree and certificate programs available.

In addition to the Columbus Campus, Columbus State operates a Delaware Campus which opened in 2010. The college also has six Regional Learning Centers in the neighborhoods of Dublin, Westerville, Marysville, Grove City, Reynoldsburg, and Bolton Field in Southwest Columbus. These suburban sites allow students to take courses close to where they live and work.

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 35 states and the District of Columbia – the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network helps more than 4 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.