Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles – Beyond Completion
February 23, 2018
Achieving the Dream held its annual conference this week, where sessions covered a range of topics on tutoring, advising, technology, and the holistic student experience. A presentation by Professors Dr. Rick Hyland and Dr. George Keteku, Vice Presidents Dr. Vanessa Morest and Dr. Sara Thompson Tweedy, and myself commanded the attention of conference attendees sharing insights on some of Westchester Community College’s processes to navigate curriculum requirements and attain degrees yielding a 42% increase in our IPEDS graduation rate in just three years.
One announcement from the conference stood out: a Gallup survey shows that graduates from Achieving the Dream colleges report higher levels of satisfaction and well-being than graduates of other community colleges. The survey found higher motivation, financial well-being, supportive relationships, and pride in their communities among ATD college graduates. It is confirmation that we have tremendous positive impact on the lives of our students and that completion is not the only measure of our contributions to the community.
Here is a link to a summary of the report: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/02/22/achieving-dream-colleges-find-graduates-report-higher-well-being.
Membership in ATD by itself doesn’t make the difference—what makes the difference is leadership, planning, and work by college faculty, staff, and administrators focused on student success. A partnership with ATD can equip us with the tools and guidance to transform our practices creating conditions where more students can achieve higher levels of success. As we transition to a new strategic plan, this is the right time to ask ourselves some key questions. What difference do we want to make in our students’ lives? How will we know we’ve made a difference? What can my department do differently to make a difference?
I’d love to hear your thoughts as our college community prepares to come together and consider new ways of supporting our students as they work toward achieving their goals.
Dr. Belinda S. Miles