Two national organizations focused on student success in the community college, the Aspen Institute and Achieving the Dream (AtD), conducted a site visit at the Alamo Colleges from November 3 - 4, 2015. The purpose of the visit was for Aspen, in partnership with AtD, to work with the Alamo Colleges to collect and analyze student outcomes data and strategic initiatives; meet with leaders, faculty, and staff; and provide an in-depth strategy report with actionable recommendations for next steps to improve student outcomes.
The second phase of the process occurred on January 11, 2016, and included a feedback report follow-up visit by Aspen and AtD to the Alamo Colleges to discuss the findings identified during the November site visit, and recommendations made in the draft feedback report. Throughout the day, Aspen and AtD visitors, Kay McClenney and Bob Templin, interacted with Dr. Leslie, the PVC, members of the Board of Trustees, Faculty Super Senate, and the Unified Staff Council to engage in a discussion of findings and recommendations for improvement in 6 key areas: Completion, Learning, Transfer and Bachelor's Degree Attainment, Equity, Labor Market Success, and Institutional Culture.
I am pleased to announce that the final feedback report can be accessed at this link. I encourage all to read it and provide me with any comments or questions. The Board and our leadership team look forward to thoroughly studying and implementing the recommendations made in the report, as we know they will further our very deliberate and strategic journey to achieve our vision to be the best community college system in the United States.
Over the past three years, the Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program has set a new standard for community colleges seeking to improve student success. The $1 million Aspen Prize purse, awarded every two years, has brought a significant level of public attention to community colleges; defined new measures of excellence in outcomes for community college students; and uncovered and disseminated best practices that have helped many community colleges improve outcomes for their students.
The overarching theme of our feedback report was that the Alamo Colleges should focus explicitly on the full implementation of Advising and Pathways initiatives over a sustained period of time as its institutional priority in order to more fully achieve gains in the following 6 key student success areas:
Transfer and Bachelor's Degree Attainment;
- Labor Market Success;
Ultimately, our strategic plans for AlamoADVISE and the AlamoINSTITUTES will be enhanced by the feedback we have received from Aspen and AtD in these key student outcomes areas. I know that your work will further these efforts, and ask each of you to do all you can to support the Alamo Colleges on its journey to receiving the Aspen Prize. What an achievement that would be for our students!