Valencia Wins $100,000 Grant From Walmart Foundation

Valencia College has been named one of 15 community colleges across the country to win a $100,000 Walmart PRESS for Completion grant.

The grant program is sponsored by the Walmart Foundation and administered by Achieving the Dream, a national nonprofit leading the nation’s most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for community college student success. The grant will enable Valencia to better engage faculty (especially adjunct faculty) and staff in important campus-based reform efforts and ensure that more students have a better chance of staying in school and obtaining a market-valued credential.

“We are deeply honored to have been chosen for this grant from the Walmart Foundation and, more important, we are pleased that this grant will help us to continue working toward our shared goal — ensuring that students succeed,” said Dr. Sanford (Sandy) Shugart, president of Valencia College.

“Valencia College has met high standards of practice and performance and is well-positioned to tackle one of the toughest community college reform challenges our nation is facing: engaging more full-time and adjunct faculty and staff in student success efforts,” said Rachel Singer, Vice President of Achieving the Dream, Inc.

Nationwide, while great strides have been made at community colleges for student success, the proportion of faculty (including adjunct faculty) and student services personnel deeply engaged in the work is modest compared to the total number of faculty and staff at the colleges. Further, the reform work has not yet eliminated disconnections between academic departments and student services limiting vital collaboration.

Valencia College, which was named the winner of the 2012 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, is an Achieving the Dream Leader College, a network of 50 colleges known for their commitment to student-centered evidence-based reforms and outstanding increases in student outcomes. Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges are deemed a most ideal network for testing and expanding innovative faculty and staff engagement strategies.

Valencia was selected as a grant recipient through a competitive process that included 50 Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges. The grant will include a 27-month process, during which time Valencia will receive technical assistance and support from Achieving the Dream. In addition, Valencia College has agreed to serve as a peer coach and be active in the learning community among the more than 175 colleges in the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network.  Ultimately, at least 100,000 students stand to benefit directly, and 3.75 million indirectly, from the collective work of the selected colleges.

Representatives from Valencia College participated in the inaugural Walmart PRESS for Completion Grant Recipient Kickoff Institute at the Hyatt Hotel in Reston, VA from June 24 – June 26, 2012.


The following 15 colleges were selected as winners of the Walmart PRESS for Completion grants:


Aiken Technical College
(Aiken, SC)
Alamo Colleges
(San Antonio, TX)
Brazosport College
(Lake Jackson, TX)
Community College of Beaver County (Monaca, PA)
Cuyahoga Community College
(Cleveland, OH)
Durham Technical Community College (Durham, NC)
Guilford Technical Community College (Jamestown, NC)
Northampton Community College
(Bethlehem, PA)
Northern Essex Community College (Haverhill, MA)
Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College (Orangeburg, SC)
Pulaski Technical College
(North Little Rock, AR)
Roxbury Community College
(Boston, MA)
Tallahassee Community College
(Tallahassee, FL)
Valencia College
(Orlando, FL)
Yakima Valley Community College
(Yakima, WA)


The Achieving the Dream Model

Achieving the Dream Institutions commit to the Achieving the Dream Student-Centered Model of Institutional Improvement. Based on four principles, the model frames the overall work of helping more students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college credential. Each college approaches the work differently, but Achieving the Dream’s five-step process provides practical guidelines for keeping the focus where it belongs and building momentum over time. Throughout the process, Achieving the Dream Coaches offer customized support and help each college’s core team implement data-informed programs and policies that build long-term, institution-wide commitment to student success.


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