Thursday, May 3, 2012
Northland Community and Technical College was one of seven Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) among 120 community colleges nationwide named as finalists for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Highlighting the critical importance of improving student success in America’s community colleges, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program today named Northland Community and Technical College as one the nation’s 120 top community colleges, challenging it to compete for the $1 million fund for the 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.
The seven MNSCU schools are: Alexandria Technical and Community College, Central Lakes College in Brainerd, Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls, Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Granite Falls, Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls and East Grand Forks, Northeast Higher Education District’s Rainy River Community College in International Falls and Ridgewater College in Willmar.
The finalists were named after a comprehensive review of publicly available data that demonstrated strong outcomes in three areas of student success: persistence, completion and transfer; consistent improvement in outcomes over time; and equity in outcomes for students of all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. The 120 colleges now can compete for the $1 million prize that will be awarded in March 2013.
“This is a great honor for these colleges, and I am confident that they will be strong competitors for the prize,” said MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone. “The success of these colleges reflects our commitment to ensure access to an extraordinary education for all Minnesotans. Our faculty and staff provide the best education available in Minnesota, preparing graduates to lead in every sector of Minnesota’s economy.”
“The success of our nation’s community colleges is more important than ever before,” said Aspen Institute College Excellence Program Executive Director Josh Wyner, who today announced the names of the 120 top community colleges at the annual convention of the American Association of Community Colleges in Orlando, Florida. “At a time when a college degree is essential to entering the middle class, community colleges like Northland Community and Technical College offer the most promising path to education and employment for literally millions of Americans.”
A full list of the 120 community colleges – about 10 percent of the nation’s community colleges – is available at www.AspenCCPrize.org. The first Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence was awarded in December 2011 by the Aspen Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue.
“American employers have jobs open right now but lack enough skilled, educated workers to fill them,” former Michigan Governor John Engler said. “The job training programs at community colleges must play a central role in filling those gaps and preparing the American workforce. Community colleges’ success will help determine whether and in what sectors America will continue to lead in the global economy.”
While every community college faces challenges, particularly in today’s economic climate, former Secretary of Education and South Carolina Governor Richard Riley underscored the importance of improving outcomes for community college students, the majority of whom are underrepresented minorities, “Many community colleges across this country are doing an excellent job of boosting student success, but we need to encourage all community colleges achieve excellence. When students learn more, graduate or transfer to four-year institutions, and get competitive-wage jobs after college, it helps everyone - students, employers and our nation’s economy as a whole.”
Northland Community and Technical College (Northland College .edu) is a comprehensive college with campuses in Thief River Falls, MN and East Grand Forks, MN. Northland also has a separate aerospace campus in Thief River Falls, MN and a satellite site in Roseau, MN. Northland offers certificates, diplomas, transfer courses, two-year AAS degrees in more than 60 areas of study, workforce training and education programs. Northland is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. Visit Northland online at www.northlandcollege.edu. Northland is an equal opportunity educator and employer.