Kennedy-King College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, was named today as one of ten finalists for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s preeminent recognition of high achievement and performance in America’s community colleges.
Located in the heart of Chicago’s Englewood community, Kennedy-King now enters the last stage of the competition for the $1 million prize fund that will be awarded in March 2015 in Washington, D.C. to the winner and up to four finalists-with-distinction.
“Students at Kennedy-King and City Colleges across Chicago continue to raise the standard of excellence,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “City Colleges of Chicago has already achieved unparalleled success, nearly doubling the graduation rate and awarding a record number of degrees under Chancellor Hyman’s leadership. Our College to Careers program continues to prepare students for a career and a successful future.”
“We are truly honored that Kennedy-King has been selected from among more than 1,000 community colleges in the country to be included in the round of 10 Aspen prize finalists,” said Chancellor Cheryl Hyman. “This recognition is testament to the tremendous work our faculty, staff and students have done to reinvent City Colleges so that all of our students are prepared for further college and careers.”
Kennedy-King College has made significant improvements since the launch of City Colleges’ Reinvention initiative, a comprehensive reform effort Chancellor Hyman launched shortly after arriving in 2010 to revamp all aspects of City Colleges to ensure students’ success.
Since the launch of Reinvention at Kennedy-King College:
“We could not be more pleased with this prestigious recognition from Aspen,” said Arshele Stevens, president of Kennedy-King College. “This distinction is primarily based on hard data and the facts certainly speak for themselves; our success rates are up thanks to strategic initiatives and dedication and commitment all round.”
- The college’s official graduation rate has more than tripled, increasing from 8 percent to 26 percent in Fiscal Year 2013.
- Total number of degrees and certificates awarded increased by more than 75 percent to 1,164 in FY2013.
In a press release announcing Aspen finalists, the institute stated that Kennedy-King College stands out as one of the nation’s top community colleges for many reasons, including:
This fall, the Aspen Institute will conduct site visits to each of the ten finalist institutions. Following the review process, a jury will select a grand prize winner and up to four finalists-with-distinction to be announced in March 2015. For more information and for a complete list of the finalists, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.
- Remarkable improvement in its graduation/transfer rates: from 34% in 2007 to 51% in 2011.
- Strong graduation/transfer rate for underrepresented minority students, who make up 94% of the student body (42% compared to 34% nationally)
- Intense, data-driven efforts to reform developmental education programs, with demonstrated success (98% of entering students are underprepared for college)
- Development of clear, structured career pathways