Thomasville Times Enterprise

February 10, 2014

SWGTC eyes on prize

Staff report

THOMASVILLE — Southwest Georgia Technical College (SWGTC) was recently nominated for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

The Aspen Prize —which recognizes institutions for exceptional student outcomes — is awarded every two years with the winning institution receiving $1 million from the Aspen Institute. SWGTC was one of the only two colleges nominated in Georgia and 140 across the nation.

“We are absolutely honored to be nominated for the prestigious Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence,” said Dr. Craig Wentworth, SWGTC president.

“This nomination is particularly important to our college because this award recognizes high achievement in the area of student outcomes and success, which I consider our top priority. The college works diligently from both an administrative and instructive perspective to do what is best for our students and what will ensure their success.”

Institutions were evaluated on success in the following measurable criteria: student success in persistence, degrees awarded, completion and transfer; consistent improvement in these areas over time; and equitable outcomes for students of all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Additionally, the Aspen Institute took into account each institutions’ mission, size and minority representation.

The next step for the nominated colleges will be to submit an application to the Aspen Institute. In this application, the eligible colleges must demonstrate how they have worked to improve student success within their respective organizations.

After all applications are submitted— the 150 nominees will be narrowed down to 10 finalists based on completion outcomes—labor market outcomes, learning outcomes, equitable outcomes. These 10 finalists will be narrowed down to the one winner and up to four “finalists with distinction.”

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization which strives to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. They created the Aspen College Excellence Program (ACEP) in order to identify and replicate campus-wide practices that significantly improve college student outcomes.

Through awards like the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, and other initiatives, the ACEP hopes to improved colleges’ understanding and capacity to teach and graduate students— especially the growing population of low-income and minority students on campuses across America.

SWGTC offers more than 80 certificate, diploma and degree programs. Many of these programs provide training for some of the nations’ fastest-growing career fields including Nursing, Automotive Technology, Clinical Laboratory Technology and Emergency Medical Technology. For more information, call (229) 225-4096 or by visiting