Five community colleges were honored for their
work advancing access and success for students on
April 15 at the American Association of Community
Colleges’ (AACC) Awards of Excellence Gala, part of
AACC’s 99th Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida.
The Community College of Aurora (CCA)
took home the award in the Advancing Diversity
category. The college, led by President Betsy
Oudenhoven, is one of the most diverse colleges
in Colorado. CCA has focused on diversifying its
workforce and embedding equity work throughout
“We don’t always get it right, but we keep on
trying,” Oudenhoven said at the awards ceremony.
Success can be seen in the numbers: In the past
five years, CCA has increased its faculty of color by
3.4 percent to nearly 17 percent and staff by 10. 1 percent to nearly 50 percent).
In the Community College Safety, Leadership,
and Planning category, Southwest Tennessee
Community College was recognized for its efforts
to keep students safe. The college’s Police Services/
Public Safety Division plans for responding to
disastrous situations and has developed training
programs for officers, employees and students.
At the awards gala, Southwest President Tracy
Hall was joined on stage by L. Angela Webb, a
29-year veteran of the Memphis Police Department
who now is the college’s director of police services/
public safety. Hall credited Webb with the college’s
efforts in maintaining a safe, secure and healthy
environment in which to study and work.
BUILDING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
Michigan’s Kalamazoo Valley Community College
(KVCC), led by President L. Marshall Washington,
and partners Bronson Healthcare and Kalamazoo
Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Services received the award in the Outstanding
College/Corporate Partnership category. Working
together since 2013, they are meeting the increasing
demand for sustainable, holistic approaches to food
education and health.
Bronson donated land adjacent to its main hospital for the new Bronson Healthy Living Campus,
with a Culinary, Nursing and Allied Health Building,
a Food Innovation Center (including a food hub and
growing spaces) and an integrated health services
clinic, which serves about 9,000 annually.
The winner in the Outstanding CEO/Board
Relationship category was Maryland’s Howard
Community College (HCC). The college’s board is
single-minded in its commitment to the community college and the individuals, communities
and businesses it serves. The board of trustees and
President Kathleen Hetherington have made continuous quality improvement a priority. They also
participate in national, local and statewide advocacy efforts that promote sustainable community
colleges. In addition, they engage the community
in the life of the college, including visioning and
strategic planning, resource identification and
leveraging partnerships to foster student completion and workforce development.
By AACC Staff
“We don’t always get it right, but we keep on trying.”
BETSY OUDENHOVEN, president, Community College of Aurora