For Immediate Release
Contact: Daniel Wackershauser, Marketing Specialist
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date of Release: June 7, 2022
Southwest Tech a finalist for 2023 Aspen PrizeFennimore -
Today the Aspen Institute named Southwest Wisconsin Technical College one of the ten finalists for the 2023 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence—the first time the college has been part of this prestigious group. Started in 2010, the $1 million Aspen Prize is the nation’s signature recognition of community colleges that are achieving high, improving, and equitable outcomes for students. The ten finalists represent the amazing potential of America’s thousand-plus community colleges as engines of prosperity and social mobility.
The finalists also represent the impressive diversity of community colleges, from a 2,700-student college in Iowa granting primarily technical awards to a 57,000-student college in Florida with a focus on transfer and bachelor’s degree attainment. No matter their size or location, excellent community colleges, like Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, are defined by their focus on outcomes and how they develop the talents of their students in ways that strengthen their regional economies and communities.
“Today’s announcement is another great example of how student success is paramount at Southwest Tech,” said Dr. Jason Wood, Southwest Tech president. “I am proud of our students for continuing to set the bar high and reaching their goals. Our staff and faculty work closely with our students to ensure they are well prepared to enter the workforce or advance in their careers.”
Awarded every two years, the Aspen Prize honors colleges that show outstanding performance in five critical areas: teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, and equitable outcomes for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. The winner will be announced in the spring of 2023.
“We’re grateful to all the experts who have helped Aspen identify these impressive colleges,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “We can’t wait to dive in to learn more about how they have achieved these measurable student outcomes so we can share what we learn with the field.”
The finalists are:
- Southwest Wisconsin Technical College | Wisconsin
- Northwest Iowa Community College | Iowa
- Amarillo College | Texas
- Broward College | Florida
- Hostos Community College (CUNY) | New York
- Imperial Valley College | California
- Kingsborough Community College (CUNY) | New York
- Moorpark College | California
- San Jacinto College | Texas
- South Puget Sound Community College | Washington
The Aspen Prize selection process began in October 2021, when the Aspen Institute worked with an expert data panel to craft a formula to assess student outcomes at nearly 1,000 community colleges in key areas such as retention, completion, transfer, and equity. Based on those data, we invited 150 top community colleges to apply, and received 109 applications. A selection committee of 16 higher education experts reviewed applications, including extensive data and narratives on student success strategies. From the 25 highest ranking colleges, announced as semifinalists in April, the committee met in May to choose the 10 Aspen Prize finalists.
Next steps include:
- Fall 2022: Additional data gathered on student outcomes, including in employment after college; multi-day site visits to each of the 10 finalists to gather insights about effective practices
- Winter of 2023: A distinguished jury decides the Aspen Prize winner, based on quantitative data and qualitative information from each of the 10 finalists.
- Late spring 2023: Announcement of the Aspen Prize winner
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The Aspen Prize is generously funded by Ascendium, the Joyce Foundation, JPMorgan, and the Kresge Foundation. Previous winners are:
- 2021: San Antonio College (TX)
- 2019: Indian River State College (FL) and Miami Dade College (FL)
- 2017: Lake Area Technical Institute (SD)
- 2015: Santa Fe College (FL)
- 2013: Santa Barbara City College (CA) and Walla Walla Community College (WA)
- 2011: Valencia College (FL)
The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes, especially for the growing population of low-income students and students of color on American campuses. For more information, visit www.highered.aspeninstitute.org and www.linkedin.com/showcase/aspenhighered, and follow @AspenHigherEd on Twitter. The Aspen Prize hashtag is #AspenPrize.
The Aspen Institute is a community-serving organization with global reach whose vision is a free, just, and equitable society. For 70 years, the Institute has driven change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the world’s greatest challenges. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Institute has offices in Aspen, Colorado, and New York City, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College is one of 16 institutions that comprise the Wisconsin Technical College System. Southwest Tech offers more than 60 programs in a wide variety of disciplines. Courses are offered on campus, online, HyFlex and in a blended format. The college provides apprenticeship, certificate, technical diploma, and associate degree programs that respond to district workforce needs and prepare student for family-sustaining jobs and career advancement.