Achieving The Dream

Achieving the Dream Through an Exceptional Learning Experience

What is Achieving the Dream?

Achieving the Dream (AtD) is a national network of community colleges that believes that access to a high quality education in an inclusive environment is the right of all individuals and imperative for the continued advancement of a strong democracy and workforce. The AtD network includes over 200 institutions of higher education, 100 coaches and advisors, 15 state policy teams, and numerous investors and partners working throughout 35 states and the District of Columbia.

The growing network of community colleges across the country improves student success for more than four million students. AtD serves as a catalyst for colleges to strengthen and build capacity to ensure that more students complete college and have more opportunity for economic success.

Why does Richland College participate in Achieving the Dream?

Richland College has long committed to the concept of equity and the empowerment of all students for success in college and in life-long learning. A national student success movement, such as Achieving the Dream, reflects the mission, vision, values, goals, and objectives of Richland College. Richland College began its participation in AtD in the summer of 2009. The college has continued participation consistently each year since that time, achieving Leader College status in summer 2014. Achieving the Dream grants Leader College status for a three-year period to colleges in good standing with the national network who have demonstrated improvement in student success utilizing a common set of measurements. Richland College will be eligible to reapply for Leader College status in the summer of 2017.

The concept of Equity – A Richland College and Achieving the Dream Focus Area

The concept of Equity is different from Equality. Equality means treating everyone the same. Equity, on the other hand, involves giving everyone what they need to be successful. Richland College’s student success initiatives align with providing Equity for all students. The graphic below demonstrates the concept of Equity.

Richland College’s Dream Success Team

The Richland College Dream Success Team
empowers faculty and staff through peer collaboration, data sharing, robust discussion, and professional development to improve student success with strategically focused success initiatives creating Equity for all. Following are descriptions of Richland College’s Exceptional Learning Experiences designed and implemented by the Dream Success Team.

Developing Learning Power (DLP)

A number of classes are offered at Richland College featuring techniques that help students develop their learning power. In these DLP classes, students increase their capacity to change and learn through effort and the intentional practice of thinking. Faculty and students use "thinking routines" to engage actively with the course content. Once learned, students may employ these "thinking routines" in other classes and disciplines and throughout their lives.

Productive Persistence

In Richland College Mathematics classes (both developmental and college-level), students learn to increase their tenacity and to use good strategies for success. Students develop techniques for persisting in problem-solving and to value the search for the correct answer as much as the correct answer itself. Most importantly, students may decrease the amount of time spent in developmental classes by completing the Developmental Statway sequence and college-level Statistics within two semesters.

Caring Behaviors

A number of faculty at Richland College have been trained in the concept of Caring Behaviors. Faculty model these behaviors to the students they teach both inside and outside the classroom. Faculty with this training make deliberate efforts to (1) show empathy to students; (2) role model professional behavior; (3) demonstrate competency in the subject matter; (4) show sensitivity; (5) encourage students; (6) make themselves available outside of class; (7) show respect to all students; (8) be helpful; (9) be relaxed and open-minded; (10) motivate students; (11) be flexible as appropriate; (12) be reinforcing to students; and (13) be genuine in communications. Students tend to be more successful in classes where faculty deliberately model Caring Behaviors.

Student Navigation

For academic year 2015-16, Richland College added a Student Navigation and Case Management initiative in order to empower student success through concise and user-friendly degree plans and pathways. For 2016-17 the college will focus more intentionally on equity for all through exceptional student service. Exceptional student service entails meeting students where they are, anticipating their needs, and empowering them to move to the next level in their educational journey.