Valencia named one of nation’s best

By Linda Shrieves Beaty
Valencia College

Valencia College has been named a finalist in a prestigious $1 million prize to recognize the nation’s most innovative and effective community colleges.

“The Aspen Prize is a brand new recognition of the best in community college teaching and learning in America,” said Valencia College President Dr. Sanford Shugart. “Being nominated for the Aspen Prize is like making it to the Final Four of the NCAA tournament. It means you’re in the best company professionally in the business and we’re delighted to be there.” The 10 finalists for the inaugural Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence will be named Sept. 13. Only one other college in Florida, Miami Dade College, is on the list. The winner will be announced in December 2011.

The Aspen Institute invited the top 120 community colleges (from 1,200) in the nation to apply for the award, based on student performance and graduation data collected by the U.S. Department of Education.

“Valencia College has proven that devotion to assessment yields results,” said Josh Wyner, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program. “The college is an engine for employment in  entral Florida, and a model for the country.”

At Valencia, the nomination for the Aspen Prize is the culmination of more than a decade of innovation aimed at increasing access to college, improving graduation rates – and helping all students succeed.