WICHITA, Kan. – Wichita Area Technical College has been named one of the nation’s top 120 community colleges by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. Only ten percent of all community colleges in the United States made the cut. WATC and others in the top ten percent are now eligible for a portion of the $1 million in Aspen Prize money.
The Aspen Institute evaluates community and technical colleges in three primary areas: (1) student success in persistence, completion, and transfer (2) consistent improvement in outcomes over time, and (3) equity in outcomes for students of all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
The objective is to identify and replicate campus-wide best practices that significantly improve outcomes for college students. Specifically, the Aspen Prize seeks to honor excellence, stimulate innovation and clearly define success.
“This competition spotlights excellence and helps raise the bar for all community colleges to improve student achievement and better prepare the next generation for the job market after college,” said Josh Wyner, Aspen Institute College Excellence Program Executive Director.
WATC was cited among other eligible community colleges as one that is employing innovative strategies and achieving excellent results.
Being named to the list comes with an opportunity to win the 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence for $1 million. By September of 2012, the 120 top community colleges will be filtered down to 8-10 finalists. The winning college will be announced in March 2013. Last year’s winner was Valencia College in Orlando, Fla.
WATC offers 75+ courses of study in aviation, healthcare, manufacturing, design, business, and general education. In addition to its high-tech, high-wage, high-demand technical programs, WATC also offers dozens of General Education classes such as psychology, math, English and history that can transfer easily to other colleges. WATC graduates enjoy a 94% placement success rate. WATC offers three Wichita campuses plus online courses.