Navajo Technical University Joins Achieving the Dream to Pursue Transformative Change, Improve Student Success

Pictured (l-r): NTU communications director Daniel Vandever; NTU job placement coordinator Lemanuel Loley; ATD leadership coach Stephen Schoonmaker; NTU dean of undergraduate studies Casmir Agbaraji; NTU data and assessment director Shania Gamble; NTU academic advisor Caraleta Kescoli; and ATD data coach Miguel Ceja.

Published July 18, 2017

CROWNPOINT, NEW MEXICO – Navajo Technical University announced it has joined Achieving the Dream (ATD), a network of more than 220 colleges in 39 states dedicated to improving student success. As a Network Institution, NTU will innovate to implement, align, and scale cutting edge reforms, work with ATD coaches to build institutional capacity, and connect with peers to foster learning and share information.

“Achieving the Dream supports improved outcomes for all students. Often, there is a disparity between what people think and the stark reality of statistics,” explained NTU’s Data Assessment Director Shania Gamble. “Built on the values of equity and excellence, ATD promotes evidence-based and student centered decisions. By gathering and using student data, we can accurately identify and meet the needs of our students. It’s an exciting time for NTU; partnering with ATD means our students will a have better opportunity to make their dreams a reality.”

“The strength of local and regional economies, our ability to rebuild the middle class, and the possibility that a new generation will achieve their goals depends on community colleges,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “Colleges that join the ATD Network show an exceptional commitment to becoming the kind of institution that will lead the nation into the future.”

ATD offers a capacity-building framework and companion self-assessment that allow colleges to pinpoint strengths and areas for improvement across seven institutional capacities in areas such as leadership and vision, teaching and learning, and data and technology. With the capacity framework as a guide, ATD’s approach integrates and aligns existing college success efforts and offers valuable support in preparing for accreditation, fostering conversation about goals, and making bold, holistic institution-wide changes because initiatives that don’t reach most of a college’s student body have not shown strong results.

A team from NTU and teams from the other colleges now joining ATD met in April and June to launch their ATD work, which will initially focus on centralizing university data on graduation, retention, and persistence, as well as building support and buy-in in the program throughout campus. NTU’s ATD team will also include members from the community in order to better guide NTU in a more inclusive manner.

ATD Network colleges report data using metrics that answer critical questions about who attends college, who succeeds in and after college and how college is financed. To advance goals of social mobility and equity, the metrics provide information on how low income and other underserved students fare. These metrics are categorized into performance metrics, efficiency metrics and equity metrics at points during the student experience from access through post-college outcomes.

As colleges in the new cohort progress, they may apply to participate in initiatives supported by philanthropic funding and managed by ATD. These initiatives supported by philanthropic funding and

managed by ATD. Theses initiatives help incubate new ideas that help colleges refine practices based on evidence of what works and allow ATD to disseminate knowledge to the broader network and the field. New initiatives address the challenge of engaging adjunct faculty more deeply as key members of colleges’ workforces and implementing degree programs using only open educational resources (OER).

For more information about NTU’s participation in the ATD program contact Dr. Casmir Agbaraji at

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