Most efforts to improve community college student outcomes involve relatively small innovations or changes at the margins. After more than a decade of experience, Achieving the Dream has learned that improving student success on a substantial scale requires colleges to engage in bold, holistic, sustainable institutional change. Achieving the Dream's Institutional Capacity Framework is a comprehensive approach to addressing the emerging needs of the field to improve success results for all students, especially low-income students and students of color.
The framework has at its core seven essential capacities that must be in place for colleges to create the student-focused culture that promotes student success. Colleges must be strong in each capacity area in order to take on any large-scale interventions such as guided pathways, the Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success in Higher Education (iPASS) or the Working Students Success Network at scale.
The seven capacity areas are: