ATD Badge Logo
East Mississippi Community College has joined Achieving the Dream (ATD), a network of more than  300 colleges in 45 states and the District of Columbia dedicated to improving student success. 
As a network institution, EMCC is working to improve equitable outcomes for students, bolster student retention and completion, and expand holistic supports to meet students’ evolving needs. EMCC is one of five community colleges that joineid the ATD cohort in the fall of 2021.





Making a Difference in Mississippi: Updates on Four ATD Network Colleges





Sophomore Jadasha Harrison, at right, is inducted into the Eta Upsilon chapter of Phi Theta Kappa on the Scooba campus during a March ceremony. Harrison is EMCC’s nominee for the 2023 DREAM Scholars program through the Achieving the Dream network. In 2021, EMCC joined the Achieving the Dream network, which is dedicated to improving student outcomes.

January 10, 2023


East Mississippi Community College sophomore Jadasha Harrison is a first-generation college student enrolled at EMCC’s Scooba campus. A sibling of Harrison attended EMCC but did not graduate.

EMCC is taking steps to reduce the number of students who do not graduate. In the fall of 2021, EMCC joined the 2021 cohort of Achieving the Dream (ATD), a network of more than 300 colleges in 45 states and the District of Columbia dedicated to improving student success.

ATD teams at EMCC are working to improve equitable outcomes for students, bolster student retention and completion, and provide support networks to meet students’ evolving needs.

“The Achieving the Dream program has a proven track record of ensuring that students are equipped with the tools they need to excel in college and achieve academic success, which has always been part of our mission,” EMCC President Dr. Scott Alsobrooks said. “Our ATD teams have been working hard to create action plans to address areas where we can improve student outcomes. Our next step in the process is to implement those action plans and monitor the results to see what is working and what needs to be revised.”

That’s good news to Harrison, who is an officer with Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society. She also serves as a manager for the women’s basketball team and is a Resident Assistant, helping out in the department that oversees student resident services. She is also a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. While Harrison is doing well at EMCC, she said finding time to study can be a challenge given her other activities.

“Some students are caught up in activities and have jobs, so it is sometimes late when they can do their schoolwork,” she said. “More tutoring times would help, as would opening the library on Saturdays.”

Expanding tutoring times is one of things EMCC’s ATD teams are looking at. The school’s ATD action plan identified two priorities that were incorporated into the college’s strategic plan. One of those priorities is to increase completion of students in gateway English and math within the first year by 5 percent for 2023, and by 10 percent annually through 2025. The second priority is to raise the percentage of students earning at least 12 credits in the first semester (grade C or higher) by 25 percent by 2025.

In order to achieve those goals and others yet to be identified, ATD Data Coach D. Paula Pitcher and ATD Leadership Coach Dr. Mary Fifield have been meeting with members of EMCC’s ATD teams virtually to help guide them through the transformation process. In October of 2022, the ATD coaches visited faculty and staff on the college’s Golden Triangle and Scooba campuses.

Early in the ATD process, students were invited to share their definitions of success and offer suggestions for improvements. Feedback was also sought from faculty, staff and administrators. During the three-year-long ATD program, progress will be monitored and data measured using qualitative and quantitative evidence to drive changes in policies and practices across the institution.

EMCC Director of Institutional Research, Effectiveness, Grants, and Sponsored Programs Susan Baird is co-leader of EMCC’s ATD partnership.

“Through intentional work over the last year, East Mississippi Community College has made strides toward closing equity gaps in key student success metrics,” Baird said. “EMCC will enhance the lives of residents in the communities we serve through equitable education opportunities.”

Harrison was chosen out of a pool of applicants as EMCC’s ATD 2023 DREAM Scholars nominee and competed against nominees from other ATD network institutions across the country. Harrison credits her instructors at EMCC for much of the success she has experienced since enrolling at the college.

“My instructors are great. Whenever I need help, they put time aside for me,” Harrison said. “They go out of their way to make sure I understand my classwork, which helps a lot with my assignments and classwork.”