FOR RELEASE 21 JULY 2017                                                                    

More information: Monte Schaff, UTTC Institutional Assessment Director 701-255-3285 x 1534

Effort pursues transformative change to improve student success

BISMARCK (UTN) – United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) has joined Achieving the Dream (ATD), a network of more than 220 colleges in 39 states dedicated to improving student success. 

“We will be participating in this initiative to increase our ability to implement data-driven initiatives to enhance student success,” says Leander “Russ” McDonald, UTTC President.

ATD uses a capacity-building framework and accompanying self-assessment process to allow colleges to pinpoint strengths and areas for improvement. The scope covers seven institutional capacities in areas such as leadership and vision, teaching and learning, and data and technology.

According to ATD, the framework is a guide to identifying existing college success efforts. It provides valuable support in preparing for accreditation, fostering conversation about goals, and making bold, holistic institution-wide changes. ATD believes that strong results come when colleges involve most of the student body.

Project Success

A team from UTTC, and teams from the other colleges, met with ATD in April and June to prepare to launch the work under the title: Project Success.

“We’ve been working with the leadership coaches on the specifics of the approach we will take,” says Monte Schaff, UTTC Institutional Assessment director and coordinator of the ATD initiative.

According to Schaff, three initiatives have been identified by UTTC. The first is to establish an emergency aid program to provide small grants to help cover unanticipated student financial emergencies. The second is a paid internship program to provide earning opportunities. And third, is a data-driven effort to examine existing UTTC information to strengthen programs and services, and to combine it with the collection of data from national surveys about student engagement.

UTTC’s Project Success initiatives will be highlighted during the college’s August 2017 Professional Development Days, attended by all staff and faculty.

New Ideas

The ATD methodology guides colleges toward reporting data using metrics that answer critical questions about who attends college, who succeeds, and how college is financed. To advance goals of social mobility and equity, the metrics provide information about the experience of low income and other underserved students. The metrics are grouped into performance metrics, efficiency metrics and equity metrics, which track throughout the student experience from access through post-college.

As colleges in the new cohort progress, they may apply to participate in initiatives supported by philanthropic funding and managed by ATD. These initiatives help incubate new ideas that help colleges refine practices based on evidence of what works. New initiatives address the challenge of engaging adjunct faculty more deeply as key members of colleges’ workforces and implementing degree programs using only open educational resources.

ATD Network

“The strength of local and regional economies, our ability to rebuild the middle class, and the possibility that a new generation will achieve their goals depends on community colleges,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “Colleges that join the ATD Network show an exceptional commitment to becoming the kind of institution that will lead the nation into the future.”

Achieving the Dream is headquartered in Silver Spring, MD. The growing network of more than 200 community colleges is committed to helping students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress closing academic achievement gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with more than 100 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with Network colleges in 39 states and the District of Columbia to reach more than 4 million community college students.

For more information about ATD, please contact Lynn Reddy 240-450-3830,

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