NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED541446
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Defining Excellence: Lessons from the 2013 Aspen Prize Finalists
Aspen Institute
In many respects, one couldn't find a group of 10 schools more diverse than the finalists for the 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. One community college serves 1,500 students, another 56,000. There are institutions devoted primarily--even solely--to technical degrees, and ones devoted mainly to preparing students for further academic study. Although the Aspen Prize finalist colleges are different in many respects, they have one thing in common: They achieve impressive outcomes for their students in the four areas that comprise the Aspen Prize's definition of excellence: (1) Completion; (2) Learning; (3) Labor market outcomes; and (4) Equity. These colleges did not achieve better student outcomes because they enrolled students who were easier to reach or better prepared than others--some finalist schools, in fact, serve students far needier and regions far poorer than the national average. It was not solely because they chose the "right" textbooks, or remedial education reforms, or online learning platforms. Of course those things matter. But even when colleges choose their approaches wisely, excellence requires more: leaders who build an environment where every professor and staff member is willing to accept tough realities and is committed to improving student success, and where every administrator makes sure they have the tools to do so.
Aspen Institute. 1 Dupont Circle NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 410-820-5433; Tel: 202-736-5800; Fax: 202-467-0790; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Bank of America Charitable Foundation; Bloomberg Philanthropies; Joyce Foundation; JP Morgan Chase Foundation; Lumina Foundation; W.K. Kellogg Foundation; America Achieves
Authoring Institution: Aspen Institute