Wayne Community College has won an award that recognizes exceptional work among the nation’s two-year colleges.
The college is the recipient of an American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) 2020 Award of Excellence in the “Student Success” category.
The student success practice for which WCC has been lauded is its CAPPS (Clearing a Path to Student Success) initiative. CAPSS embraces a “guided pathways” approach to supporting students as they progress to completion. Faculty and staff were involved in the redesign of academic programs and student support services. Those changes resulted in measurable improvements in student completion and increased employability skills.
“This award recognizes commitment to student success through a completion plan, continuously improving completion and transfer rates, innovative programs, and promising practices. It celebrates a process that works,” said WCC President Thomas A. Walker Jr. “Students are getting what they come to Wayne Community College for.”
Walker credited his institution’s employees with the win. “WCC faculty and staff have thrown their hearts into excellence. They have embraced and imbedded a culture of quality in our college. Following their example, our students are striving to make excellence their maxim, too,” he said.
WCC’s CAPSS initiative was a finalist for this award last year, too. As the college accomplished more with this endeavor, it was encouraged to compete again with an emphasis on its further achievements. It prevailed over two other institutions that had been named this year’s finalists, Florida State College at Jacksonville and Minnesota Community and Technical College.
AACC Awards of Excellence bring national visibility to outstanding practices. Winners are chosen by a select committee of the AACC Board of Directors.
WCC’s accomplishment was announced in a virtual event after the Annual AACC Convention was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a trophy was later delivered to the college.
The win also garnered inclusion in a “Community College Daily” article for the winning program. While touting the mechanics of the initiative, the piece noted that, as a result of CAPPS, WCC’s student completions increased by 79.4 percent from 2012 to 2019, even while headcount decreased by 14.8 percent.
The American Association of Community Colleges is the primary advocacy organization for the nation’s community colleges. The association represents nearly 1,200 two-year, associate degree-granting institutions and more than 12 million students.