Roane State Community College is now a part of the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network, becoming one of the first community colleges in Tennessee selected for this nationwide network working to improve student success.
The Achieving the Dream National Reform Network includes more than 200 community colleges. The network is led by Achieving the Dream Inc., a national nonprofit considered one of the most comprehensive, non-governmental education reform organizations in the country.
“We are honored to participate in the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network,” Roane State President Chris Whaley said. “Through our participation in the network, we will learn evidence-based best practices from other colleges and from the network’s team of experts. Participation in Achieving the Dream gives us an opportunity to learn from the best, and to bring those ideas to Roane State to help our students succeed.”
College leaders plan to use membership in the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network to study best practices at two-year colleges, scale up scheduling initiatives, and to better serve adult students.
- Studying best practices at two-year colleges across the country: Roane State works closely with community colleges and universities in Tennessee. Opportunities to network and learn from colleges outside the state, however, are limited. Achieving the Dream brings the expertise of hundreds of two-year colleges together in one, cohesive network. Through Achieving the Dream, Roane State faculty and staff will have frequent opportunities to learn best practices from fellow community colleges nationwide.
- Scaling up initiatives such as cohort scheduling and block scheduling: Cohort scheduling is the practice of having groups of students all take the same courses. Block scheduling offers students a defined package of courses in the mornings, days, or evenings, eliminating the confusion students face when they have to pick and choose each class individually. Cohort scheduling and block scheduling have been identified as contributors to student success. Through expertise gained from Achieving the Dream, Roane State leaders plan to expand the college’s cohort scheduling and block scheduling.
- Improving enrollment, retention, and engagement of adult students: Adult learners are crucial to Governor Bill Haslam’s effort to ensure more Tennesseans have college degrees. With its participation in Achieving the Dream, Roane State will learn best practices for offering programs adults want and for keeping adults on track to earning their degrees.
In addition to Roane State, Jackson State Community College also has been selected to participate in the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network. The fee for participation ($75,000 for each institution for one year) was included in the state’s budget.
“We greatly appreciate Governor Haslam and the legislature supporting participation in Achieving the Dream, an organization whose goals align with the groundbreaking higher education reforms happening in Tennessee,” Whaley said. “Thanks to their support, Roane State will be on the cutting edge of student success initiatives.”
To learn more about Achieving the Dream Inc., visit achievingthedream.org.