Lorain County Community College (LCCC) was named the top community college in the country for Excellence in Student Success by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Dr. Walter Bumphus, President and CEO of AACC, made the announcement on April 30, 2018 as part of the organization’s Awards of Excellence program at AACC’s national conference. The American Association of Community Colleges is the primary advocacy organization for the nation’s community colleges, representing nearly 1,200 two-year, associate degree-granting institutions and more than 12 million students.
“This national recognition reinforces the progress we’ve made to ensure that degree completion, transfer and education that leads to jobs with labor market value are available for our students and community,” said LCCC President Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D. “We believe that every student’s dream matters. That is what matters most at LCCC and it keeps us laser focused on achieving these results for everyone. And that’s possible through our incredible faculty and staff who are deeply committed to student success.”
Earlier this year, LCCC was recognized for the second consecutive year in a row as first among all Ohio community colleges in student success, which is defined as completion, transfer and persistence. According to a recent report on these three-year success measures from the Ohio Department of Higher Education, LCCC’s success rate of 60 percent is higher than the state average of 51 percent. By receiving AACC’s Award for Excellence in Student Success, LCCC’s innovative approaches and progress are further validated on a national level.
“LCCC has embraced a fundamentally new paradigm of making student success ‘everyone’s business’ across the college. In particular, there are two areas of excellence that stand out at LCCC: the reconfiguration of advising to support students in selecting and persisting in a program of study, and the college leadership’s bold priority on equity,” said Josh Wyner, Vice President and Founder/Executive Director of the College Excellence Program of the Aspen Institute, a national leader in educational and policy studies based in Washington, D.C.
The College has infused its student success agenda into all facets of the institution, creating a campus culture that keeps this priority top of mind for faculty, staff and students. It has remained the top priority of the college’s strategic plan – a testament to the dedication to student success underscored by the college’s District Board of Trustees. “The Trustees of Lorain County Community College are first and foremost committed to ensuring students succeed; they’ve made this their top priority because they see firsthand the importance of raising educational attainment to ensure our community thrives,” said Ballinger.
In doing so, LCCC has reformed systems, processes and operations to create nine career pathways that guide students, in less time and less cost, toward careers and transfer. “As one of the early pioneers of the guided pathways movement, LCCC’s efforts paved the trail for now hundreds of colleges across the country to do this work more intentionally with the experiential base from early adopter colleges like Lorain County Community College,” said Rob Johnstone, Ph.D., founder and president of National Center for Inquiry and Improvement.
LCCC has increased the number of degrees and certificates awarded by 53 percent since 2011. The college also leads the state in bachelor’s degree completion for students who transfer to other schools. “LCCC’s work is serving as a model – and inspiration – for other colleges nationally to follow in their efforts to improve student success for all students,” said Davis Jenkins, senior research scholar, Community College Research Center.
“This award from AACC recognizes not only the effort being put forth by our institution but the grit, hard work and determination of our students. Today is a proud day and will fuel our campus and community to aim even higher to help more students achieve,” Ballinger said.