MGCCC chosen for third time to compete for Aspen Prize

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College has been selected as one of 150 community colleges nationwide determined eligible to apply for the third $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College ExcellenceIn 2010 and 2012, MGCCC was selected for the list and is the only college in Mississippi to make it to the top 10, which it did in 2010.

The Prize, awarded every two years, has brought a new level of public attention to community colleges, established new measures of excellence in outcomes for community college students, and uncovered practices that Aspen in disseminating to help community colleges improve outcomes for their students.

“We are honored to have MGCCC once again named to the top 10 percent of colleges in the U.S.,” said Dr. Mary S. Graham, MGCCC president.  “We look forward to working with the Aspen Committee and to continued discussions on best practices with other colleges on the list.  This could not be accomplished without our outstanding personnel at MGCCC. Our employees are to be commended for their commitment to instructional excellence and student success, hallmarks of what keep MGCCC at the very top of community colleges in the nation.”

An expert panel identified MGCCC as eligible to apply for the prize.  The Aspen top 150 community colleges are identified through an assessment of institutional performance, improvement, and equity on student retention and completion measures.

Based on the applications submitted, a selection committee of community college and higher education experts will select 10 community colleges to advance to the next round of the competition based on exceptional student outcomes and data-use in learning, degree completion, equitable outcomes, and employment and earnings.  Aspen will conduct site visits to these finalist institutions in the fall 2014, collecting information that will be used by a prize jury to select the winner and finalists with distinction.

Kathy McAdams is an award-winning journalist who has worked at weekly newspapers in Mississippi and the Press-Register in Mobile, Ala. A native of Gulfport, McAdams attended Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, William Carey University, the University of South Alabama and The University of Southern Mississippi. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and journalism and a master's degree in education and English. She has worked at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College since 2005.