By Chris Kieffer
For the second time in three years, Itawamba Community College was recognized as being among the best community colleges in the country.
The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program announced Thursday it named ICC one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges. Selected schools are eligible to compete for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, which carries a $1 million prize.
ICC also was selected the last time the Aspen Institute released its list in 2012.
“This is earned over many years,” said ICC President Mike Eaton. “It takes a lot of hard work and continual improvement to get to this level.
“It is something that has been going on at ICC for a long time. This is a reflection of our exceptional faculty and staff.”
ICC was one of seven Mississippi community colleges to be recognized. The others included East Mississippi, Hinds, Holmes, Mississippi Gulf Coast, Pearl River and Southwest Mississippi.
“That speaks volumes about the community colleges in the state of Mississippi,” Eaton said.
The selection is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. It recognizes institutions for student outcomes in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.
The 150 selected schools are located in 37 states and range from serving than 100,000 students to fewer than 500. ICC’s enrollment is about 6,000.
“This competition is designed to spotlight the excellent work being done in the most effective community colleges, those that best help students obtain meaningful, high-quality education and training for competitive-wage jobs after college,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “We hope it will raise the bar and provide a roadmap for community colleges nationwide.”