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Oakton Community College: Achieving Bigger Dreams

Demonstrating a strong commitment to student success and completion, Oakton Community College is one of 13 institutions selected this year for inclusion in the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network – the nation’s most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. Oakton will immediately begin the challenging work of identifying and implementing evidence-based strategies for closing achievement gaps and increasing student retention, persistence, and completion rates.

“With student success at the core of Oakton’s new strategic plan, Connecting What Matters, Achieving the Dream will enable the College to identify and address gaps in achievement,” noted College President Margaret B. Lee, Ph.D.

“Becoming an Achieving the Dream institution takes courage, diligence, and an unrelenting commitment to student success and equity,” said William Trueheart, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “Oakton should be applauded for doing its part in the student success reform movement.”

Other colleges selected for the Network in 2013 include:

  • Bevill State Community College  (Jasper, AL)
  • Diné College  (Tsaile, AZ)
  • Green River Community College  (Auburn, WA)
  • Gwinnett Technical College  (Lawrenceville, GA)
  • Kern Community College District: Bakersfield College, Cerro Coso College, and Porterville College (Kern County, CA)
  • Indian River State College (Ft. Pierce, FL)
  • Salish Kootenai College (Pablo, MT)
  • South Georgia Technical College (Americus, GA)
  • Southeastern Technical College (Vidalia, GA)
  • Walla Walla Community College (Walla Walla, WA)

To set the stage for its work, Oakton is participating in the 2013 Kickoff Institute in Florida, June 17-20, where College leaders will work with Achieving the Dream leadership and data coaches, and begin using the Student-Centered Model of Institutional Improvement.

At the Institute, Oakton also will receive a sneak preview of the Interventions Showcase, a unique tool, newly-created by Achieving the Dream, which serves as a platform to explore student success interventions and find colleges that are implementing similar strategies.  Using Showcase information, Oakton can connect with others within the network to exchange ideas, challenges, and findings as they relate to specific interventions.  

“During the course of the last 10 years, Achieving the Dream has collected important information about interventions that should be shared more broadly so that colleges can learn from one another,” said Nicole Melander, Achieving the Dream’s chief technology officer. “We’ve worked hard to bring to our Network a useful, informative tool that helps fill this void and I feel confident that the benefits will be significant.”

Achieving the Dream will release more information about the Interventions Showcase and make this tool available to the general public in September 2013 to coincide with the start of the academic year.

Achieving the Dream, Inc. is a national nonprofit leading the nation’s most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. The Achieving the Dream National Reform Network, including over 200 institutions, more than 100 coaches and advisors, and 15 state policy teams - working throughout 34 states and the District of Columbia - helps 3.8 million  community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.

Oakton Community College offers more than 80 associate’s degree and career certificate programs. At its campuses in Des Plaines and Skokie, the College serves residents and businesses of Illinois Community College District 535, which incorporates 17 suburbs on Chicago’s North Shore. 

Oakton students choose from more than 2,500 courses and can transfer to more than 600 four-year institutions – or gain the skills they need to find the job of their dreams. The College’s Alliance for Lifelong Learning also offers continuing education classes, and a wealth of cultural and educational events – art exhibitions, music and theater, lectures, film screenings, and conferences – open to the general public.

Staff Profile

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Since 1997, Dennis Nolan has been dedicated to his role as Chief of Public Safety. He supervises 10 sworn police officers, 12 part-time security guards and 10 cadets.

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