Student Success

Achieving the Dream

Achieving the Dream is a long-term national initiative to help more community college students earn degrees and certificates, as well as transfer to four-year institutions to continue their studies. This initiative focuses on student groups that have faced the most significant barriers to success, including low-income students and students of color.

In the Achieving the Dream model, every decision made at a college—from setting educational strategies and allocating resources to scheduling classes and organizing student services—is grounded in data about student outcomes. Setting measurable goals and making lasting institutional change to achieve them is central to this work.

Leader College

Community College of Philadelphia has been deemed a Leader College for demonstrated commitment to and progress on the five principles of Achieving the Dream:

  • Committed leadership
  • Use of evidence to improve programs and services
  • Broad engagement
  • Systemic institutional improvement
  • Equity

This distinction is achieved through three years of sustained student success improvement. Community College of Philadelphia is committed to serve as mentors within the Achieving the Dream community of learners, as well as advocates for the principles of Achieving the Dream.

Student Outcomes and Achievement Gaps

The Office of Institutional Research developed Achieving the Dream fact sheets as a method for providing the College community with institutional effectiveness information relevant to the initiative. The initial set of fact sheets were developed during the College’s first year of participation to establish baseline information on student outcomes that will be used to assess the success of College initiatives that are implemented to improve overall student outcomes. Learn more.

For more information about Achieving the Dream, visit their website.

Coordination Team

Community College of Philadelphia has assembled a core team who is responsible for promoting the College’s culture of inquiry, reflection and commitment to student success; assisting in identifying existing values, assumptions, structures and systems at the College that nurture or impede student success; and engaging students, faculty, community members and others in dialogue focused on the College’s student success agenda.

Core Team

Samuel Hirsch, 
VP Student Affairs (Co-lead)

Judith Gay,
VP Academic Affairs (Co-lead)

Jon Brown,
Counseling Department Head

Dawn Sinnott,
Interim Director of Institutional Research

Earl Weeks,
President, Phi Theta Kappa

Michelle Myers,
Learning Lab Department Head

Linda Powell,
Biology Department Head

Pascal Scoles,
Faculty Federation Representative,
Prof., Behavioral Health/Human Services

Jocelyn Sirkis,
Director of Professional Development

Brenton Webber,
Math Department Head

Donald Generals,

Claudia Curry,
President's Diversity Council Member

Cindy Giddle,
English Department Head

Sandy Harrill,
Director of Developmental Education

Chad Dion Lassiter,
College Board Trustee, Director, Recovery and Red Cross Emergency Services

Lynne Sutherland,
Director of Student Success Initiatives

Jason Mays,
President, Student Government Association

Meg Shope-Koppel,
Senior Vice President, Research, Policy and Innovation, Philadelphia Works

Richard Saxton,
Assistant Professor, Curriculum Coordinator, Automotive Technology

For more information about Achieving the Dream at Community College of Philadelphia, email

Student Success Outcomes

Among the College’s student success statistics that truly stand out are these:

  • 68 percent of 2011 graduates found employment within nine months of graduation.
  • 73 percent of recent and working graduates credit the College for excellent/good preparation for employment.
  • 76% of transfer program graduates continue their education at a four-year college or university.
  • In 2012, the College held 217 articulation agreements with four-year colleges and universities, making transfer easier for students.
  • At Temple University, the most popular transfer choice, persistence rates for our College graduates (first to second fall semester) is 83%.
  • Since 2003, the number of graduates has increased by 46%, and the number of degrees and certificates awarded by 53%
  • The pass rate of 2012 graduates taking professional certification exams continues to exceed or meet the national average:
  Program Average National Average
Clinical Laboratory Technology 86% 78%
Dental Hygiene 100% TBD
Diagnostic Medical Imaging 100% 83%
Respiratory Care Technology 100% 72%