Officials at Northeast Alabama Community College have just been notified that NACC has once again been named as one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges by the Aspen Institute. The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC.
“We at Northeast are very honored to have been chosen for this recognition,” stated Dr. David Campbell. President of Northeast Alabama Community College. “This is a great validation to the work our students, faculty, staff, and administrators do every day. We are particularly proud that this is the fifth time that the Aspen Institute has identified Northeast as a top American community college in their recognition process, which began in 2009. There are few community colleges in America that have made this list in every award cycle as Northeast has.”
Campbell added that the Aspen Institute works closely with the American Association of Community Colleges and the US Department of Education. “The Joyce Foundation and the Siemens Foundation are financial supporters of the Aspen Prize process as well,” Campbell stated. “We really appreciate these foundations’ efforts to elevate outstanding American community colleges into models of excellence.” Campbell added: “The work the Aspen Institute does in recognizing top American community colleges is very highly regarded throughout education,” Campbell note, “In fact, in many educators view, this is the most prestigious of recognition lists for community colleges.”
The 150 community colleges recently named as eligible to compete for the 2019 Prize were selected from a pool of nearly 1,000 public two-year colleges nationwide using publicly available data on student outcomes. Located in 39 states in urban, rural, and suburban areas, serving as few as 300 students and as many as 95,000 students, these colleges represent the diversity and depth of the community college sector. This year, there are nearly 60 institutions eligible to compete for the Prize that were not eligible for the 2017 Aspen Prize. A full list of the top 150 eligible institutions, can be viewed at www.highered.aspeninstitute.org/aspen-prize
Higher education attainment has never been more important. Estimates from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce suggest that out of the 11.6 million jobs created in the post-recession economy, 11.5 million require at least some college education. The vast majority of students who enroll in community colleges do so because they believe postsecondary education will provide them a path to rewarding work, stable employment, and family-sustaining wages. “Especially in the current social and economic climate, it is exceptionally important that our nation’s community colleges develop the diverse talent needed to fuel democratic engagement, social mobility, and economic opportunity and growth,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “Through this competition we’re working to inspire other institutions across our county to ensure more students succeed in college and their lives beyond those campuses.”
The top ten finalists for the 2019 Aspen Prize will be named in May 2018. If chosen, NACC will be eligible for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. With a singular focus on student success, the Aspen Prize recognizes institutions with outstanding achievements in four areas: learning; certificate and degree completion; employment and earnings; and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.
The Aspen Institute will conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data, including employment and earnings data. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner, finalist(s) with distinction, and rising star(s) in spring 2019. To read more on the selection process, visit www.highered.aspeninstitute.org/aspen-prize.
The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes. 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. For more information, visit www.highered.aspeninstitute.org.
For additional information about NACC, go to www.nacc.edu or download the free App at the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.