By JUSTINA ZIEGLER
Pima Community College is being honored by the Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C., that recognizes high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges.
Pima is one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.
PCC president David Doré is proud to have Pima nominated.
“Being selected as one of the top 150 colleges in the nation eligible to compete for the Aspen Prize For Community College Excellence is an affirmation of the incredible work that our faculty, staff and administrators are doing to improve outcomes for students,” Doré said. “Everyone should be very proud of the work Pima Community College is doing.”
The colleges are selected from a pool of about 1,000 public two-year colleges. The Aspen Institute uses publicly available data on performance, improvement and equipment in student retention and completion. This prize is awarded every other year by the Aspen Institute.
The Aspen Institute says it recognizes institutions with outstanding achievements in four areas: certificate and degree completion, learning, employment and earnings and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.
Ten finalists will be named in May 2018, and following site visits of each of the finalists, winners will be selected in spring 2019.
Chancellor Lee Lambert also feels happy about the nomination.
“Being among the nation’s top 150 community college is a recognition of the hard work of Pima Community College’s faculty and staff and the support of our board and community,” Lambert said. “It also is affirmation of our singular focus on student success.”
Last April, Pima President David Doré was honored by the Aspen Institute and was one of 39 community college leaders nationwide awarded with an Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community Excellence.
Doré is one of 39 members in the 2017-’18 class of Aspen Presidential Fellows.
The Aspen Institute says the group is a diverse group of leaders with the drive and capacity to transform community colleges to achieve greater student success.
Upon being awarded in 2017, Doré said he felt honored to have been selected.
“I am excited about the opportunity to work with leaders throughout the United States to improve outcomes for greater numbers of students,” Doré said. “My focus will be on using this experience to benefit and improve PCC in serving our community and supporting our students in achieving greater levels of success.”
Doré and the Pima administration held true to that statement last year, and their hard work is now being recognized on a national level.
“My community college career has been guided by a fundamental belief; anyone can learn if the conditions are right,” Doré said. “The fellowship has been an intensive year-long series of residential seminars, structuring mentoring, and an analytical portfolio project focused on strategies for achieving exceptional levels of success for all students.
“I have been applying the strategies of the Aspen Institute to my work here at PCC every day. Every decision I make is focused on improving student outcomes and success by removing obstacles to learning.”
Doré feels as honored to be nominated as he is about competing about the potential prize.
“President Barack Obama described the Aspen Prize as ‘basically the Oscars for great community colleges,’ ” Doré said. “I value this prize more than any other because it is all about the success of our students. The success of Pima students means success for Tucson, our region and the entire state of Arizona.”