Employee perceptions of progress with implementing a student-centered model of institutional improvement : an achieving the dream case study
MetadataShow full item record
Achieving the Dream is a national initiative focused on helping more community college students succeed, particularly students of color and low-income students. Achieving the Dream’s student-centered model of institutional improvement focuses on eliminating gaps and raising student achievement by helping institutions build a culture of evidence through institutional transformation. This interpretive case study employed a mixed methods approach and utilized a sequential explanatory strategy to gather detailed information related to the research questions. The study examined, from an insider’s perspective, the progress made by an Achieving the Dream college in implementing practices that reflect the principles of the Achieving the Dream model of institutional improvement. The four principles of the model are: committed leadership, use of evidence to improve programs and services, broad engagement, and systemic institutional improvement. The study was conducted in two phases and involved a quantitative survey of all college employees and semi- structured, individual interviews with members of the college’s Achieving the Dream team. The quantitative and qualitative data were given equal weighting in the study and were integrated to the extent that the qualitative data collected provided supportive insights into the findings derived from the quantitative analysis. This study found the college made progress in implementing the practices reflected by the Achieving the Dream model. The study findings also provide insights into underlying factors that existed at the college related to its implementation of the initiative. The findings will supplement current knowledge about the efficacy of change models designed to help community colleges build a student-centered model of institutional improvement and the knowledge gained should not only benefit the college, but also provide useful information to other institutions involved in this initiative.