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Achieving the Dream
Achieving the Dream

Initiative Overview
Achieving the Dream (ATD) was launched nationally in 2004 with funding from Lumina Foundation for Education.

The initiative emphasizes use of data to identify effective practices, improve student success rates and close achievement gaps, while providing the necessary support to implement strategies designed to help more students earn degrees, complete certificates or continue their studies by transferring to other institutions.

More information about Achieving the Dream, including a full list of participants, can be found online at www.achievingthedream.org.

Lake Michigan College’s Achieving the Dream History
In June of 2007, LMC received a $50,000 start-up grant to plan and launch Achieving the Dream, thus becoming eligible to apply for the implementation grant. With funding from the start-up grant, the College spent a year examining student data in many different categories and working to develop a thorough plan to address the identified areas of need.

In September, 2008, the College announced that it had received a $400,000 implementation grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the national ATD initiative for its proposal to improve student retention and success. LMC is just one of 84 community colleges nationwide to participate in this program.

Lake Michigan College’s New Student Cohorts
Achieving the Dream focuses on increasing the success of new students, whether they are new to higher education, or just new to Lake Michigan College. Each year the department of Institutional Research collects data on this incoming cohort, and updates the academic history of all previous cohorts. In Fall 2008, 1,655 (42 percent) of all enrolled students were part of an Achieving the Dream cohort.

LMC's Implementation Plan

Under the approved grant proposal, LMC has chosen two priority areas:

  1. The College will work to increase the number of first-time students who successfully complete 24 or more college-level credits within two years.
  2. The College will work to increase the number of first-time students who return to the College from the fall semester to the winter semester of their first year.

To achieve these priorities, new approaches and programs are being developed and used to improve academic advising and enhance classes with more intensive personalized contact with faculty and staff.

Implementation Strategies
Two strategies have been identified under each priority area in order to meet those goals. Each strategy involves various action plans to successfully achieve the desired outcomes.

Priority Area 1
The College will work to increase the number of first-time students who successfully complete 24 or more college-level credits within two years by an average of 6 percent.

Strategies
1.
Increase advising services.
Goal: Increase to 60 percent the proportion of ATD students who receive three advising contacts in their first year of enrollment.
2. Increase success in gatekeeper courses (historically difficult introductory courses).
Goal: Increase the percentage of students by 4 percent who receive a C or better in gatekeeper courses where out-of-class supplemental learning activities occur.

Priority Area 2
The College will work to increase the number of first-time students who return to the College from the fall semester to the winter semester of their first year by an average of 5 percent.

Strategies
1. Improve effectiveness of Freshman Seminar.
Goal: Increase the percentage of new students who enroll in Freshman Seminar (CLS 100) by 4 percent for full-time students and 8 percent for part-time students.
2. Improve effectiveness of developmental courses.
Goal 1: Increase the percentage of students requiring developmental education who enroll in at least one developmental course in their first semester by 5 percent.
Goal 2: Increase the rates at which students successfully complete developmental courses by 4 percent in reading and writing, 2 percent in mathematics and 2 percent in science.

The Future of Achieving the Dream at Lake Michigan College

Each year, the College’s ATD funding will be used to pilot a project related to increasing student persistence and success. LMC is also committed to annual participation in the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) survey. An annual College engagement event will be held to provide faculty and staff updates on the progress towards the priority areas, strategies and goals.

For more information about LMC’s Achieving the Dream initiative, contact Jenny Schanker at 269-927-3571 ext. 5183.

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