More than two thousand leaders in higher education, public policy and philanthropy will descend upon Nashville, Tenn., next week for the DREAM Conference, an event hosted by Achieving the Dream. Among them will be seven doctoral students from NC State College of Education’s Adult and Community College program attending as the first ever DREAM Fellows.
Achieving the Dream is a non-governmental reform movement focused on helping community college students have better economic opportunities and achieve their dreams. Believing that an inclusive high-quality education is a right of all individuals, Achieving the Dream works tirelessly to ensure that students receive what they need for a successful college experience through intentional institutional design and equity.
“The 14th annual DREAM Conference is a great opportunity to learn from education and thought leaders around the nation about improving student success,” said student David Sullivan, Vice President of Legal Services and Risk Management at Fayetteville Technical Community College.
While he’s looking forward to learning best practices in helping students reach their educational goals, he says sharing what he learns with his colleagues once he returns to work is even more valuable.
Also attending as a DREAM Fellow from NC State is Yolanda Wilson, Associate Vice President at York Technical College in Rock Hill, S.C.
“Taking bold action to move the needle on student success and ensuring it’s both measurable and sustainable is not an easy feat. So being surrounded by such thought leadership openly and candidly discussing how to make that happen – against the backdrop of increased accountability and leaner resources – is a professional development opportunity I am certain I will never forget,” she said.
Having experience with educational systems across the Southeast, Wilson specializes in developmental education and academic support and currently serves as Associate Vice President of the Business, Computer, Arts and Sciences division at York Tech while earning her Doctor of Education.
But exposure to industry leaders won’t be the only thing DREAM Fellows will experience next week. They will also dive into Achieving the Dream’s framework for institutional capacity, a comprehensive approach to address needs of the field, as they emerge, to improve success results for all students, especially low-income and students of color.
“I am committed to the cause of disrupting generational poverty through education,” said Carrie Bartek, Dean of College Initiatives & Assessment at Wake Technical Community College.
“The DREAM Conference provides an opportunity for me to learn from others who are engaged in that work and about the current evidence for strategies that are working to improve student equity and success in the pipeline to transfer to university and the workforce.”
Bartek says this conference will inform both her professional responsibilities for strategic planning and her dissertation research in STEM transfer pathways and partnerships.
Kara Battle, Associate Dean for Arts and Sciences at Durham Technical Community College, is also a 2018 DREAM Fellow.
She says being selected to be an Achieving the DREAM Fellow is an honor and a great opportunity to represent NC State University, the College of Education, and the doctoral program at a national conference.
“The DREAM Conference has always energized and motivated me when I have attended in the past. It is exciting to be among other community college colleagues who are committed to providing experiences for our students that will assist them in attaining their goals and successes,” she said.
“DREAM also has students who attend from across the country and speak about their experiences with community colleges. When they speak, it is a reminder of why our work is so important.”
The 2018 DREAM Fellows
Dean of College Initiatives & Assessment Effectiveness & Innovation Division
Wake Technical Community College
Assistant Dean of Arts and Sciences
Durham Technical Community College
Vice President for Student Success and Communications
Davidson County Community College
Vice President for Legal Services and Risk Management
Fayetteville Technical Community College
Director of Development/Project Manager of the Center for Applied Research
Central Piedmont Community College
Associate Vice President
York Technical College
Dean of Arts and Sciences
Surry Community College