Delta to compete for Community College Excellence prize

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The Aspen Institute has named Delta College as one of the nation’s 120 best community colleges, and is challenging the school to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

According to the Aspen Institute’s website, www.aspentinsititute.org, the Aspen Prize recognizes a select few community colleges that have shown academic and workforce outcomes in both performance and improvements.

The Aspen Institute believes the success of community college students and the performance of colleges is fundamental in helping to determine whether the economy will stay afloat in the future.

“Some seven million students enroll in nearly 1,200 public and private community colleges each year,” said Josh Wyner, director of the Aspen Institute Community College Excellence Program in a press release.

Delta is one of only three California community colleges that are eligible to participate in the next round of competition.

“Our college out-performs others when factors like the poverty and low educational attainment rates of our region are taken into consideration,” wrote Dr. Matt Wetstein, Delta’s interim vice president of instruction in an email interview. “Moreover, the diversity of our student body helps the college score well on the number of degrees and certificates awarded to traditionally under-represented students and those who are the first generation to attend college.”

“This recognition is a strong endorsement of our outstanding faculty and staff,” Wetstein added. “We have a caring, committed staff who are concerned about the success of students.”

A prize jury will select the $1 million grand prizewinner and “four runners-up with distinction” in March 2013.