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Wallace-Dothan recognized as one of nation’s best two-year colleges

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama’s Wallace Community College-Dothan has been recognized as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges by the American Association of Community Colleges.

The community college, led by President Linda Young, received  the AACC’s Award of Excellence for Student Success at the association’s annual conference in New Orleans on Monday.

Wallace-Dothan, Alabama’s fastest growing community college, was recognized for successfully implementing the I-CAN instructional initiative, Improvement, Constant and Never Ending, which is intended to close the gap between socioeconomic status and completion rates.

The Excellence Award is given to schools that show, through evidence, “a sustained commitment to and proactively advances the cause of student success.”

“I would say that perfectly describes WCCD’s efforts in the area of student success,” Young said in an email to the State community college system’s board. “We are an institution focused on achieving success through a quality education and excellent customer service for our students!”

After Wallace-Dothan saw a 27 percent increase in retention rates and a 67 percent increase in the number of awarded associated degrees in 2015, there are plans to implement the I-CAN initiative across Alabama’s Community College System.

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“It’s just exciting news to me to see that they received top honors in student success,” said Al Thompson, the ACCS board’s vice president. “They do exceptional work on their student success. The entire board is excited about it. This is because of what they’ve done at that institution. This is just a real bright spot for the system.”

The I-CAN initiative includes frequent assessments and early intervention when students aren’t performing up to standards. Instructors often replace traditional lectures with videos and other detailed unit objectives, along with mentoring and new professional development opportunities.

“Wallace Community College is to be commended for being recognized for the excellent education and training it provides for the citizens of our State,” said Gov. Kay Ivey, who serves as the president of the community college system’s board. “In a diverse economy, community colleges are essential to prepare our citizens for the skills needed for important trades.”

Email Chip Brownlee at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

Chip Brownlee is a former political reporter, online content manager and webmaster at the Alabama Political Reporter. He is now a reporter at The Trace, a non-profit newsroom covering guns in America.

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