ATD reserves the prestigious status for those colleges that demonstrate sustained and significant outcomes in the advancement of student success and narrowing the equity gaps at their institutions.
“What an incredible honor this is,” AC President Russell Lowery-Hart said. “The last three years have been a transformative time for Amarillo College and ATD has been the most critical partner to our success in every way.
“This absolutely reinforces our commitment to providing life-defining experiences for our students.”
ATD created the Leader College of Distinction award in 2018 to recognize colleges that have pursued and met challenging student success goals, often earning Leader College status several times. AC gained entry to the ATD consortium in 2011 and was named a Leader College in 2014.
Leader Colleges of Distinction, however, must show improvement in three or more student outcome metrics, including at least one lagging indicator such as completion or transfer with an earned baccalaureate. Leader Colleges of Distinction are also required to show they have reduced equity gaps in at least two metrics for at least two student groups.
These requirements recognize and motivate sustained and proactive reform efforts that result in greater improvements in student success and equity.
The foundation of AC’s strategic plan, No Excuses 2025, contains the following recommendations that are most relevant to ATD’s requirements:
- To systemize training for inclusivity and equity for board of regents and employees
- To be an ‘anti-racist’ institution
- To ensure equitable access to college and its resources