The 10 finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence were announced Thursday, and we were excited to see that nine are community colleges that work with EMSI and use our data and products to bolster their work.
The $1 million Aspen Prize, first awarded in 2011 to Valencia College (a longtime EMSI client), is intended to honor institutions that strive for and achieve exceptional levels of success for students. A panel of industry experts and former college presidents chose the 10 finalists from a pool of over 1,100 institutions. The prize is awarded every two years; in 2011 we worked with nine finalists, and in 2013 we worked with seven. We’re proud to be associated with these finalists:
Brazosport College in Lake Jackson, Texas
City Colleges of Chicago – Kennedy-King in Chicago, Illinois
CUNY Hostos Community College in the Bronx, New York
El Paso Community College in El Paso, Texas
Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Florida
Olympic College in Bremerton, Washington
Renton Technical College in Renton, Washington
Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida
West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah, Kentucky
According to the Aspen Institute, successful institutions are characterized by five main strengths (PDF):
All five of these correlate well with what EMSI reports and data tools products are designed to do:
- Analyst and Career Coach both serve to improve teaching through program alignment, and Analyst is designed to enable schools to use data systematically and strategically (see our case study on Walla Walla Community College, the 2013 co-recipient of the Aspen Prize, for a great example).
- Career Coach provides clear pathways between programs, credentials, and success, while providing a critical link between educational programs and actual careers in the broader community—a task that EMSI’s new Job Posting Analytics data also supports by helping colleges see connections with specific local employers.
- EMSI’s Economic Impact Study, which we’ve completed for more than half of the nation’s community colleges, help presidents convey the importance of their institutions to their regions. All of EMSI’s data and analysis, in fact, is intended to help colleges become key voices in their community, and to help them match their education and training with the needs of their local economy.
You can read more about the Aspen Institute and how it perceives excellence at community colleges here.