by Alana J. Mauger
Montgomery County Community College Board of Trustees Chairman Michael J. D’Aniello and President Dr. Karen A. Stout signed the “College Completion Challenge” pledge during the Board’s monthly meeting on Jan. 18.
The pledge affirms the Board’s commitment to support the College’s efforts to advance student success. The College has been engaged in this work since 2005 with the adoption of its strategic plan, “Great Expectations,” and with its selection in 2006 as an “Achieving the Dream” college.
The pledge is part of a national effort spearheaded by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and the American Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) to help support community colleges in increasing college completion rates. Other national signatories include the League for Innovation, the Center for Community College Student Engagement, the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development, and Phi Theta Kappa.
“Montgomery County Community College’s statement of commitment refines our belief that fostering student success and completion is at the heart of everything we do,” said Board of Trustees Chairman Micheal J. D’Aniello. “We believe that community colleges are the gateway to the middle class for millions of Americans, and that we provide an invaluable economic engine driving the county, state and nation toward renewed and sustained economic prosperity.”
In the pledge, the College commits to advancing its efforts to transform the College’s culture to focus on both student access and success, to engaging in courageous conversations about diversity and equity, to eliminating the attainment gaps that separate student groups on the basis of race, ethnicity and family income, and to using data in decision-making.
The pledge also requests commitment from members of the College community and external constituents.
“We are asking every trustee, administrator, faculty member, counselor, advisor, financial aid officer, staff member and student leader to examine our current practices, to identify ways to help students understand the added value of degrees and certifications, and to help them progress toward their goals,” said College President Dr. Karen A. Stout. “We are also asking our elected officials to create policy conditions that enable, support, invest and reward our work to strengthen student success.”
In addition, the completion commitment asks the College’s students to help at least one of their peers succeed, and charges alumni, donors, friends and other key stakeholders to share and advance the pledge to help the College with its student success efforts.