August 3, 2021

East Mississippi Community College has 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.

As a network institution, EMCC will work 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 joining this cohort.

“We are excited about this opportunity to join the Achieving the Dream network,” EMCC President Dr. Scott Alsobrooks said. “We are committed to ensuring all of our students are equipped with the tools they need to excel in college and achieve academic success. We are looking forward to working with Achieving the Dream to identify and dismantle educational barriers and to address any institutional inequities that may contribute to individual student achievement gaps.”

The colleges are joining ATD after the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the nation’s health and economic inequalities and the resulting economic fallout disproportionally hit working class families and racially minoritized communities, according to an agency press release.

“Colleges that partner with ATD must be both aspirational in how they engage change and be willing to take a hard look at where we are falling short,” ATD President and CEO Dr. Karen A. Stout said. “For ATD, that begins with centering equity within our institutions, understanding our students and their lived experiences, and tearing down structures and policies that are barriers, especially for racially marginalized students.”

The five institutions have shown that student success and achieving equitable outcomes is at the core of their work, Stout said.

“They will partner with ATD over the next three years to expand the use of best practices for student success and equity, receive guidance in transforming to a student-centered institution and build a culture of data to identify barriers to student success, using qualitative and quantitative evidence to drive changes in policies and practices across the institution,” the ADT press release states.

Teams from each of the five colleges convened at a Virtual Kickoff Institute Aug. 3 -4, which set the stage for their work as ATD Network institutions.

College teams will meet virtually with their ATD coaches and begin to organize their student success work for the year, including preparing for campus-based kickoff work in the fall. The kickoff experience will include an introduction to ATD’s Institutional Capacity Framework, which helps colleges align all of their student success initiatives and interventions.

In addition to EMCC, the Achieving the Dream 2021 cohort includes Southeast Arkansas College, Middlesex Community College in Massachusetts, Central Ohio Technical College and Madison College in Wisconsin

Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of more than 300 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing equity gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with nearly 75 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with Network colleges in 45 states and the District of Columbia to reach more than 4 million community college students.