Delta College today announced that it has joined Achieving the Dream (ATD), a network of more than 220 colleges in 43 states dedicated to improving student success.
As a member of the network, Delta will implement, align, and scale cutting-edge reforms, work with ATD coaches to build institutional capacity and connect with peers to foster learning and share information.
Delta’s acceptance to Achieving the Dream is particularly important as the College seeks new ways to address longstanding educational and economic struggles in the region. The Northern San Joaquin Valley has an 18 percent attainment rate of a bachelor’s degree or higher, and nearly 30 percent of children in San Joaquin County live under the federal poverty level.
“It is truly an honor to be accepted into Achieving the Dream, and I’m certain Delta College and the community will benefit tremendously from this endeavor,” said Dr. James Todd, Assistant Superintendent and Vice President of Instruction and Planning at the College. “This network is about learning and collaborating with colleges across the United States in order to address student equity and improve achievement rates. It will help us build a foundation for transformational work at our college, and it will ultimately enable us to make positive changes throughout our region. This is about facilitating social mobility for our community, as well as developing partnerships to engender economic development.”
Delta is one of only two California community colleges to be accepted to Achieving the Dream this year. The new cohort is comprised of 16 colleges across the country.
“The strength of local and regional economies, our ability to rebuild the middle class, and the possibility that a new generation will achieve their goals depends on community colleges,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “Colleges that join the ATD Network show an exceptional commitment to becoming the kind of institution that will lead the nation into the future.”
ATD offers a capacity-building framework and companion self-assessment that allow colleges to pinpoint strengths and the potential for improvement in areas such as leadership and vision, teaching and learning, and data and technology. ATD’s approach integrates and aligns existing college success efforts and offers valuable support in preparing for accreditation, fostering conversation about goals, and making bold, holistic institution-wide changes because initiatives that don’t reach most of a college’s student body have not shown strong results.
A team from Delta College will meet with leaders from 15 other colleges in Phoenix, Arizona in June to plan the launch of their ATD work.
“This is about us learning from each other, and that’s really the best part,” Todd said. “We want to better understand how to address the needs of our students and improve economic prosperity for our community. And, all of this work starts with looking inward and developing our capacities as a college.”
ATD Network colleges report data using metrics that answer critical questions about who attends college, who succeeds in and after college and how college is financed. To advance goals of social mobility and equity, the metrics provide information on how low income and other underserved students fare. These metrics are categorized into performance metrics, efficiency metrics and equity metrics at points during the student experience from access through post-college outcomes.
As colleges in the new cohort progress, they may apply to participate in initiatives supported by philanthropic funding and managed by ATD. These initiatives help incubate new ideas that help colleges refine practices based on evidence of what works and allow ATD to disseminate knowledge to the broader network and the field. New initiatives address the challenge of engaging adjunct faculty more deeply as key members of colleges’ workforces and implementing degree programs using only open educational resources (OER).