VENTURA, Calif., Feb. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ventura County Community College District Board of Trustees, along with Chancellor Bernard Luskin congratulate Ventura College President Greg Gillespie. The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program this week named Ventura College one of the nation's top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and $1 million in prize funds, as well as Siemens Technical Scholars Program student scholarships, highlighting the critical importance of improving student success in America's community colleges.
The Prize, awarded every two years, is the nation's signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America's community colleges and recognizes institutions for exceptional student outcomes in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and access and success for minority and low-income students.
Nearly half of America's college students attend community college, with more than seven million students – youth and adult learners – working towards certificates and degrees in these institutions across the country.
"I am grateful for the dedicated work of all our college employees," said President Greg Gillespie. "Their efforts directly help students succeed at Ventura College. It is very exciting to receive this recognition from the Aspen Institute and we look forward to completing our application for the 2017 award."
"Community colleges have tremendous power to change lives, and their success will increasingly define our nation's economic strength and the potential for social mobility in our country," said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. "This competition is designed to spotlight the excellent work being done in the most effective community colleges, those that best help students obtain meaningful, high-quality education and training for competitive-wage jobs after college. We hope it will raise the bar and provide a roadmap to better student outcomes for community colleges nationwide."
"The community colleges of Ventura County are in driving distance of every citizen and are among the best in America," said Chancellor Luskin.
"Our job is to serve the citizens of our county, and we are proud to do it. Again, we congratulate Ventura College," said Larry Kennedy, Chair, Board of Trustees.
This year, California saw the largest increase among states in the number of colleges eligible for the Prize—tripling from seven to 21 since the last Prize cycle in 2015. Most states saw only small changes in the number of eligible institutions.
A full list of the selected colleges and details on the selection process are available at www.aspenprize.org.
Ventura College and 149 other community colleges announced this week were selected from a national pool of over 1,000 public two-year colleges using publicly available data on student outcomes in three areas:
- Performance (retention, graduation rates including transfers, and degrees and certificates per 100 full-time equivalent students)
- Improvement (awarded for steady improvement in each performance metric over time)
- Equity (evidence of strong completion outcomes for minority and low-income students)
Ventura College has been invited to submit an application to the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence containing detailed data on degree and certificate completion (including progress and transfer rates), labor market outcomes (employment and earnings), and student learning outcomes.
Ten finalists will be named in fall 2016. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner and a few finalists with distinction in early 2017.
Ventura College, an accredited two-year institution of higher education, has been a part of the beautiful seaside community of Ventura, California, since 1925. It is conveniently located approximately 60 miles north of Los Angeles and 30 miles south of Santa Barbara. The 112-acre campus, set in the rolling hills of Ventura, has an enrollment of 14,500 students. Ventura College offers Associate of Arts and Associate of Sciences Degrees in 33 majors, and Certificates of Completion and Proficiency Awards in 61 areas of study. Ventura College also has Transfer Guarantee Agreements with CSUCI, CSUN, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Santa Cruz. Class schedules are posted at www.venturacollege.edu. For more information, contact the Ventura College Welcome Center at 805.289.6420.
The Aspen Prize is funded by the Joyce Foundation, the Siemens Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation.
The Aspen College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes. Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the New College Leadership Project, 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.aspeninstitute.org/college-excellence.
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.
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SOURCE Ventura County Community College District