Closing equity gaps in Austin: Austin Community College named “Leader College of Distinction”

Achieving the Dream Graphic

The Austin Community College District (ACC) is recognized as a national leader for its work to support underserved students, close equity gaps, and increase completion rates. The college was awarded the Leader College of Distinction by Achieving the Dream(ATD) Thursday, February 20. 

“We have made it our priority to close equity and workforce gaps, increase student success, and provide our students with the knowledge and skills that lead to a job in a rewarding career,” says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO. “The college implemented Guided Pathways to provide students better guidance and support and ensure all Central Texans have a path to prosperity. ACC is honored to receive this recognition. It’s confirmation for the faculty, staff, and college partners that the work we’re doing is making a difference.” 

ATD examined how colleges have worked to narrow equity gaps among gender, race and ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Only 11 colleges nationwide were awarded the distinction.

ACC Awards & Completions

Since implementing Guided Pathways, student success rates at Austin Community College — especially among historically underserved populations — have increased significantly. In 2019, districtwide the college awarded 9,802 degrees and certificates — an increase of more than 1,000 over 2018 and a nearly 50-percent increase over five years. Combined with the transfer rate, Austin Community College is among the top in the state. 

“Accelerating improvement in student success outcomes is difficult work and requires a sustained commitment from the entire college community,” says Dr. Karen A. Stout, Achieving the Dream president/CEO. “Small but national recognitions like this one are important for affirming and applauding the often unsung and behind the scenes work of these institutions.”

Austin Community College will release its 2019 Academic Student Success Report with results and analysis of its Guided Pathways programs and initiatives over the past year in April.