Feature photo: Dr. Barbara Gaba, president of Atlantic Cape Community College. Photo courtesy of Atlantic Cape Community College
MAYS LANDING — Atlantic Cape Community College has been recertified as a Leader College by Achieving the Dream (ATD), a national nonprofit dedicated to advancing community colleges as hubs of equity and mobility in their communities, for its efforts to ensure all students succeed.
“It is truly an honor to be named as a Leader College again by Achieving the Dream, recognizing the commitment Atlantic Cape has made to closing equity gaps in our community and driving student achievement. Championing the success of every student and ensuring equity are at the core of our decision making and are foundational to the mission and vision for the college,” said Atlantic Cape President Dr. Barbara Gaba.
“This designation is a symbol of ongoing efforts by the college to be a responsive, compassionate and inclusive part of the regional community.”
Achieving the Dream has been working with colleges across the country to redesign the student experience at colleges, with the ultimate goal of increasing credential attainment and closing equity gaps.
Leader Colleges are recognized for the quality of their work in whole-college reform, resulting in increased completion rates for all students. They also develop innovative ways to work with other colleges to share knowledge and facilitate an exchange of ideas about evidence-based reform strategies.
“Community colleges are uniquely positioned to serve as equitable hubs of social mobility and equitable transformation in the areas that they serve. The ATD Network’s Leader Colleges demonstrate strong commitments to growing as these hubs, with data to show significant progress toward building an equitable, student-centered culture on campus,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream.
“We are proud to recognize the new and renewed Leader Colleges in the ATD Network, and to continue partnering with them to advance equity and opportunity in their communities.”
In Atlantic Cape’s application for renewal, Dr. Gaba noted the college’s Accelerated Learning Program has helped increase the number of new students who have completed the Gateway English course by five (5) percentage points from 2017 to 2019.
Through its programming and services, Atlantic Cape has eliminated the equity gap in college-level English completion between Hispanic and white students during those years while at the same time increasing its enrollment of Hispanic students to 25% as of 2021, earning the college a designation of Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education.
In addition, the four-year degree completion rate between white and Hispanic students has narrowed from 15 percentage points to one (1) percentage point between 2017 and 2020.
Atlantic Cape is part of the ATD Network, made up of more than 300 colleges committed to advancing equity and supporting student success at their institutions and throughout their communities including eight of New Jersey’s community colleges. Atlantic Cape has been a member of the ATD Network since 2012 and has been a Leader College from 2016 through 2019, and from 2021 to the present.
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