Achieving the DreamAchieving the Dream Overview

Who We Are:

Achieving the Dream is the leader of a network that includes 277 institutions of higher education, 75 coaches and advisors, and numerous investors and partners working throughout 44 states and the District of Columbia.

Vision: A nation in which community colleges are highly valued for preserving access and ensuring that their students, especially low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity.

Mission: To lead and support a national network of community colleges to achieve sustainable institutional transformation through sharing knowledge, innovative solutions and effective practices and policies leading to improved outcomes for all students.

Goal: To help all students—particularly the most underserved—realize substantial value from their postsecondary experience and their earned credentials, thereby strengthening their communities.

For more than a decade, Achieving the Dream has served as a catalyst supporting community colleges to bolster student success. We guide colleges committed to improving student outcomes through an institutional change process designed to enable all students to earn certificates and degrees, improve their economic prospects and support their local communities. Our longstanding emphasis on building data capacity and encouraging leadership and innovation has shaped the national conversation on student success. Our focus on access and completion for low-income students and students of color is now a focus of every community college in the nation.

Today, Achieving the Dream is working toward a new definition of student success that incorporates not just interim objectives—the completion of degrees or certificates—but also longer-term ambitions for higher earnings and prosperous communities. In this next phase of work, we will continue to support colleges in improving student access and completion rates, and better align them with broader economic and social goals. We will be redefining student success as college access and completion that delivers economic benefits to students and the surrounding community. This vision of student success offers exciting possibilities for students, colleges and the education reform field.

From Achieving The Dream Start Right Guide 2019 Cohort. For more information, please visit: www.achievingthedream.org


The Dream Success Team

ACC Success Team Membership

  1. Co- Lead: Amely Cross
  2. Co-Lead: Jill Rushbrook
  3. Dean of Academic Affairs: Teresa Foley
  4. Dean of Students: Tim St. James
  5. Director of Institutional Research: Qing Mack
  6. Liberal Arts Faculty: Joseph Berenguel
  7. Liberal Arts Faculty: Laurie Chancey
  8. STEAM Faculty: MaryBeth Rajczewski
  9. CAREERS Faculty: Sam Irizarry
  10. CAREERS Faculty: Michele Howard-Swan
  11. Rep from Manufacturing: Marisa Rubera
  12. Registrar: Stacey Musulin
  13. Director of Admissions: Jennifer Anilowski
  14. Transfer Advisor: Amanda Looney-Goetz
  15. Career Advisor: Cat Carter
  16. Title IX/Diversity Coordinator: Yhara Zelinka

(Top Row Left to Right: Yhara Zelinka, Cat Carter, Teresa Foley, Stacey Musulin, Qing Mack, Michele Howard-Swan, Laurie Chancey, MaryBeth Rajczewski, Sam Irizarry, Chay Iv; Bottom Row Left to Right: Jennifer Anilowski, Amely Cross, Jill Rushbrook, Amanda Looney-Goetz, Joseph Berenguel, Marisa Rubera)


Accomplishments from Fall 2019 and Spring 2020: 

  • Finalized a definition of “student success”:

“A successful ACC student is empowered to achieve individual goals, develop critical thinking, interpersonal, and life-long learning skills, as well as resiliency and a readiness to engage with and contribute to a diverse community.”




  • Reviewed disaggregated data:
    • Looked at “students earning zero credits in first year” broken out by different categories including new students, transfer in, returning students broken out further by age, PT/FT time status, race/ethnicity, gender, and pell status.
      • Trends observed:
        • New students are trending toward increase in earning zero credits over 5 years.
        • Under 20 years old or more at risk, especially transfer in students.
        • Part time students are at greater risk of earning zero credits than full time.
        • New black non Hispanic steady increase in earning zero credits over 5 years.
        • Female, new or returning are at risk at earning zero credits.
        • New or returning students who are non-pell are at greater risk of earning zero credits.