TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (May 20, 2011) – Tallahassee Community College is preparing its second round application for the Aspen Institute Prize. The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program has already placed TCC among the nation’s 120 best community colleges in a list that was announced on April 25. That was the first step for TCC and other colleges competing for $1 million in prize money.
The prize is a way to focus on the value and potential of community colleges, said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen program. “We must set the bar much higher than we have in the past. Now more than ever, we need community colleges to graduate more students with the knowledge and degrees they need to be successful in the workforce.”
The competition was announced in October at the White House Community College Summit hosted by President Obama and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden. At that time, the President noted how critical community colleges are to the millions of youth and adult learners they serve.
Biden, a lifelong educator, said, “I am inspired by all of today’s community college students—the workers who have returned to school to improve their job prospects, the mothers who juggle jobs and childcare while preparing for new careers and those who work diligently while at community college, preparing to transfer to a four-year institution.”
TCC is submitting data by June 17 demonstrating how much students learn, how many students complete their programs on time, and how well students do in the job market after graduation. The group will be winnowed to about 10 finalists in September. Aspen will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists in the fall, and the winner will be announced in December. The prize jury is co-chaired by former Michigan Governor John Engler and former Secretary of Education Richard Riley.
“It is an honor to be part of such an elite group,” noted TCC President Jim Murdaugh. “Even more important, however, is that this process gives us another chance to look at our data, reflect on what we are doing, and learn from other outstanding community colleges. We are accountable for students’ ability to use what they have learned from our College. Here at TCC we seek to constantly improve our programs, and the only way to do that is by measuring our impact on student success.”
For more information about TCC’s application for the Aspen Prize, contact the TCC Office of Communications and Public Information at (850) 201-6049 or COMMUNICATIONS@tcc.fl.edu.
The Aspen Prize is funded by the Joyce Foundation, the Lumina Foundation for Education, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.
The Aspen College Excellence Program aims to identify and replicate campus-wide practices that significantly improve college student outcomes. Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, projects targeting a new generation of college leaders, and other initiatives, the College Excellence Program works to improve colleges’ understanding and capacity to teach and graduate students, especially the growing population of low-income and minority students on American campuses. For more information, visit www.AspenCCPrize.org.
The Aspen Institute’s mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.