The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program has named Madisonville Community College as one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. This is the college’s third consecutive year to be selected. MCC President Dr. Judith L. Rhoads said she was thrilled that MCC was named. “Our faculty and staff are committed to establishing and nurturing a learning-centered college. Our daily mission is to create permanent change in the lives of our students.”
The $1 million dollar Prize, awarded every two years, is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges and recognizes institutions for exceptional student outcomes in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.
The Aspen Institute identified the top 150 community colleges through an assessment of institutional performance, improvement, and equity on student retention and completion measures. “It is an honor for Madisonville Community College to be recognized by the Aspen Institute for a third year in a row. This college is dedicated to improving the quality of life in our service area by providing the very best education possible. We take great pride in the success of our graduates as we watch them take their places in positions of leadership and service in the community,” stated Dr. Deborah Cox, MCC’s Chief Academic Affairs Officer.
MCC was selected from a national pool of over 1,000 public two-year colleges using publicly available data on student outcomes. The formula used to select the colleges was devised by expert analysts at the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems in consultation with an expert advisory committee convened by the Aspen Institute. The data focus on student retention and completion was considered from three perspectives - Performance (retention, graduation rates including transfers, and degrees and certificates per 100 “full-time equivalent” students); Improvement (awarded for steady improvement in each performance metric over time); and Equity (evidence of strong completion outcomes for minority and low-income students)
MCC has submitted an application containing detailed data on degree/certificate completion (including progress and transfer rates), labor market outcomes (employment and earnings), and student learning outcomes. Delivery of exceptional student results for all students is evidenced by the implementation of innovative programs such as MCC’s First Semester Experience advising program for all new student students, Problem Based Learning, and curriculum restructuring resulting in programs such as Advanced Integrated Technology and Nursing Integrated Program. Efforts to reduce student achievement gaps have been enhanced through programs such as TRiO Student Support Services, RISE (Retain, Integrate, Support, Education), and the Emporium model of instructional delivery for math.
Ten finalists will be named in fall 2014. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data, including employment and earnings data from states and transfer data from the National Student Clearinghouse. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner and a few finalists with distinction in early 2015. The Aspen Prize is funded by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Joyce Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Lumina Foundation.