Alvin Community College was recently ranked by The Aspen Institute as one of the top 120 community colleges in the U. S. for “student success in completion, consistent improvement in outcomes over time and equity in outcomes for students of all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.”
The results from that study were announced by Dr. Jill Biden, a community college professor and wife of Vice President Joe Biden, and U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan during a kick-off event in Washington, D. C.
“It is always difficult to draw lines to define excellence, and it was no less so in this case; so many people on so many of the 1,200 community college campuses nationwide are working hard – with limited budgets – to teach and support literally millions of students,” said Josh Wyner, executive director for The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “Recognizing this, Aspen engaged an expert panel of community college experts – including researchers and former presidents – to help us examine the nationally available data and determine the eligible pool of 120 institutions.”
“Among the most difficult questions we faced were those that challenged us to consider variables such as different mixes of programs and credentials, demographically different student bodies, and different number of students in each community college campus,” he continued. “In the end, we were able to address all of those issues in our eligibility determination.”
According to The Aspen Institute, the purpose of the study was to identify community colleges with highly successful initiatives so those principles could transfer to lower performing schools to help improve graduation and transfer rates and student success.
“The top 120 list represents the top 10 percent of community colleges with the highest graduation and transfer rates to a university,” said Dr. Rodney Allbright, president of ACC. “In my over 40 years at ACC, this is the first time I have seen a comprehensive study regarding these statistics performed involving all community colleges.”
“Student success has been the primary goal of the faculty and staff at this college since the beginning and we have implemented many initiatives to help students reach their academic and career goals,” he continued. “It is truly an honor for the faculty and staff to be recognized nationally for all their efforts over the years.”
The 120 community colleges chosen by the study are now eligible to compete for the inaugural $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.
“The 120 community colleges eligible for the Aspen Prize have recorded exceptional student outcomes in recent years,” Wyner stated. “In the next round of the Prize process, Aspen will provide Alvin Community College and the other 119 community colleges on the list the opportunity to showcase what they have done to achieve excellence in completion, learning and labor market outcomes for students.”
The Aspen Institute is a non-profit organization with the goals to “foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues.”
The other Texas community colleges included in Aspen’s top 120 list include: Lee College, Blinn College, Southwest Texas Junior College, Texarkana College, Texas State Technical College - West Texas, Trinity Valley Community College, Victoria College and Wharton County Junior College.