Broward Community College has a long history of service to students as well as a commitment to becoming a premier learning organization. However, its penetration rate for key age groups and market segments could be deeper. While there is great understanding of the students presently served by the college, there is less knowledge about those citizens of Broward County who are not currently served. Like all continuously improving learning organizations, the College's overall performance can be enhanced in ways that ensure a tight match between the college's operations and the needs of current and prospective learners. Such a course requires establishing and nurturing a culture of inquiry that will permeate the college. The college also faces significant competition for students from nimble proprietary enterprises. More than 80 percent of BCC's new students are not immediately ready to succeed in traditional college classes because of skill deficits in math, English, and/or reading. The success of these learners--many of whom are minority, first-generation, and/or low-income studentswill determine the long-term viability of the college's transfer and career and technical programs. Moving students through required college prep sequences, in an expeditious manner, while maintaining quality outcomes is a critical task facing BCC. For example, only about five percent of college prep students eventually complete an associate's degree. The college is now in the first planning year of the national Achieve the Dream initiative and will prepare a proposal to the Lumina Foundation in March 2005 to participate in a national three-year project to improve the overall success rates of low-income and minority students through the associate's degree. The college will need to show that this project is self-sustaining thereafter. (Since this was written, the college received a grant for the Lumina Foundation's Achieving the Dream program.)
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