What is Achieving the Dream? (ATD)

Signifying a commitment to student success and institutional improvement, Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) has recently joined 130 other community colleges from around the country as a member of the Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count! initiative designed to identify new strategies to improve student success, close achievement gaps, and increase retention and completion rates.



  • ATD defines student success as earning degrees, diplomas, certificates, or transferring.
  • ATD focuses on all students but attempts to eliminate gaps for certain cohorts of students who lag.
  • ATD uses data to study college barriers, ask the “why” questions, and develop and implement likely solutions.
  • ATD understands that trial and error is necessary in this process but expects “ramping up” of successful pilots.

 Achieving the Dream at CPCC:

  1. Committed leadership

    President Zeiss and CPCC's leadership teams actively support efforts to improve student learning and completion
  2. Culture of evidence
    CPCC will routinely analyze student data to assess progress and outcomes
  3. Broad engagement

    Faculty, staff, students, and community stakeholders participate in efforts to improve student success
  4. Systemic institutional improvement

    CPCC will orient all planning and activities around student success agenda

Why Achieving the Dream?

  • More students are coming to community colleges regardless of their readiness to learn.
  • Community colleges are not producing adequate numbers of graduates or completers.
  • The national spotlight is on community colleges.
  • The public does not understand our attempts to “explain away” our failures.
  • The public and funding agencies want to see results.
  • Increasingly our funding will come from our results.


 February 2011