Aspen Institute names WITC among Top 150 U.S. community colleges
Highlighting the critical importance of improving student success in America’s
community colleges, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program named
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College among the nation’s top 150 community
colleges eligible to compete for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College
Excellence and $1 million dollars in prize funds.
"We are extremely proud to be included in the Aspen
Institute's Top 150 community colleges," said WITC President Bob Meyer. "This
ranking recognizes the dedicated efforts of WITC's entire staff and its
continued focus on excellence and serving our students in order to make their
experience both outstanding and rewarding."
prize, awarded every two years, is the nation’s signature recognition of high
achievement and performance among America’s community colleges and recognizes
institutions for exceptional student outcomes in four areas: student learning,
certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and high levels of
access and success for minority and low-income students.
Aspen Institute identified the top 150 community colleges through an assessment
of institutional performance, improvement, and equity on student retention and
completion measures. Together, the 150 community colleges eligible to compete
for the Prize represent the diversity and richness of the entire sector:
located in 37 states across the nation;
represent urban, rural, and suburban markets; and
encompass big community colleges and small community colleges — from Miami Dade
College in Florida serving over 100,000 students to Carver Career Center in West
Virginia serving fewer than 500 students.
list of the 150 community colleges is available online. Prize winners will be announced in early 2015.
half of America’s college students attend community college, with more than
seven million students – youth and adult learners – working towards certificates
and degrees in these institutions across the country.
“Community colleges have tremendous power to change lives, and their success
will increasingly define our nation’s economic strength and the potential for
social mobility for every American” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the
Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “This competition is designed to
spotlight the excellent work being done in the most effective community
colleges, those that best help students obtain meaningful, high-quality
education and training for competitive-wage jobs after college. We hope it will
raise the bar and provide a roadmap for community colleges nationwide.”
Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence was awarded to co-winners Santa
Barbara City College (Calif.) and Walla Walla Community College
(Wash.). Valencia College (Fla.) was the inaugural Prize winner in 2011.
community colleges announced were selected from a national pool of over
1,000 public two-year colleges using publicly available data on student
outcomes. The formula used to select the colleges was devised by expert analysts
at the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems in consultation
with an expert advisory committee convened by the Aspen Institute. The data
focus on student retention and completion, considered from three perspectives:
Performance (retention, graduation rates including transfers, and degrees and
certificates per 100 “full-time equivalent” students)
Improvement (awarded for steady improvement in each performance metric over
(evidence of strong completion outcomes for minority and low-income students)
ensure full representation of the range and diversity of the sector, adjustments
were applied with respect to mission, size, and minority representation.
eligible community colleges have been invited to submit applications containing
detailed data on degree/certificate completion (including progress and transfer
rates), labor market outcomes (employment and earnings), and student learning
outcomes. They must demonstrate that they deliver exceptional student results
for all students – including those from racial minority and/or low-income
backgrounds – and also use data to inform decisions and continually improve over
finalists will be named in fall 2014. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site
visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data,
including employment and earnings data from states and transfer data from the
National Student Clearinghouse. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand
prize winner and a few finalists with distinction in early 2015.
Aspen Prize is funded by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Joyce
Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Lumina Foundation.
Aspen College Excellence Program aims to identify and replicate practices and
policies that significantly improve college student outcomes. Through the Aspen
Prize for Community College Excellence, the New College Leadership Project and
other initiatives, the College Excellence Program works to improve colleges’ and
policy-makers’ understanding of what is needed to teach and graduate
post-secondary students, especially the growing population of low-income and
minority students on American campuses.
The Aspen Institute
is an educational and policy studies organization based in
Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and
to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute
is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colo.; and on the Wye River on Maryland's
Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network