Onondaga Community College will be a place where all students receive the support they need to succeed, thrive, and persist to completion.

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Achieving the Dream and Onondaga

Lazer Focus 2016-2021, OCC’s Strategic Plan, centers on three goals designed to support the success of our students. Achieving the Dream is our key strategy to meet those goals by supporting a healthy transition to college, persistence through essential coursework, and retention to the completion of a degree or certificate. Our work focuses on two key efforts: 1) establishing the best route through needed developmental education or gateway courses and 2) building an intentional first year experience. These are designed to meet the challenges identified in our data. They focus our efforts on those areas most likely to support the largest groups of students make important gains. Through our work on campus, our collaboration with our ATD coaches, and our networking with other ATD institutions, we will be able to build the right answer for OCC. I am grateful to the members of the ATD work groups for their dedication to this effort, and I look forward to the engagement of our full faculty and staff in these important issues.

How Does Achieving the Dream Help More Community College Students Succeed?

Achieving the Dream is a comprehensive non-governmental reform movement for student success. Together with their network of higher ed institutions, coaches and advisors, state policy teams, investors and partners, we are helping more than 4 million community college students have a better economic opportunity and achieve their dreams.Most efforts to improve community college student outcomes involve relatively small innovations or changes at the margins. After more than a decade of experience, Achieving the Dream has learned that improving student success on a substantial scale requires colleges to engage in bold, holistic, sustainable institutional change. Achieving the Dream's Institutional Capacity Framework is a comprehensive approach to addressing the emerging needs of the field to improve success results for all students, especially low-income students and students of color.The framework has at its core seven essential capacities that must be in place for colleges to create the student-focused culture that promotes student success. Colleges must be strong in each capacity area in order to take on any large-scale interventions such as guided pathways, the Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success in Higher Education (iPASS) or the Working Students Success Network at scale.

The seven capacity areas are:

  • Leadership & Vision - The commitment and collaboration of the institution's leadership with respect to student success and the clarity of the vision for desired change.
  • Data & Technology - The institution's capacity to collect, access, analyze and use data to inform decision, and to use powerful technology to support student success.
  • Equity - The commitment, capabilities, and experiences of an institution to equitably serve low-income students, students of color and other at-risk student populations with respect to access, success, and campus climate.
  • Teaching & Learning - The commitment to engaging full-time and adjunct faculty in examinations of pedagogy, meaningful professional development, and a central role for them as change agents within the institution. Also, the college's commitment to advising, tutoring, and out-of-classroom supports as well as restructuring developmental education to facilitate student learning and success.
  • Engagement & Communication - The creation of strategic partnerships with key external stakeholders, such as K-12, universities, employers and community-based organizations and internal stakeholders across the institution to participate in the student success agenda and improvement of student outcomes.
  • Strategy & Planning - The alignment of the institution with the umbrella goal of student success and the institution's process for translating the desired future into defined goals and objectives and executing the actions to achieve them.
  • Policies & Practices - The institutional policies and practices that impact student success and the processes for examining and aligning policies and practices to remove barriers and foster student completion.

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