Western A Semifinalist For Prestigious National Award | Western Technical College


Western A Semifinalist For Prestigious National Award

Aspen Prize

LA CROSSE, Wis., May 7, 2024 – Western Technical College was announced a semifinalist today for the 2025 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of community and technical colleges that are achieving high, improving, and equitable outcomes for students.

Western was named one of 20 semifinalists for the award, which will be announced next year. The Aspen prize is awarded every two years, and honors colleges with outstanding performance in five critical areas: teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, and equitable outcomes for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. The winner will be awarded a portion of a $1 million grand prize that is used for student retention efforts.

“To be named a semifinalist for this award is such an incredible honor,” said Western President Roger Stanford. “We are actively focusing on improving our student retention efforts, including social and educational justice, embedded and academic support, and faculty development. Just to be among the community and technical college semifinalists announced for this award is truly special.”

“Each of these colleges has demonstrated a sustained commitment to moving beyond enrollment and retention as the markers of student success to defining their success by whether the education they provide changes lives,” said Josh Wynder executive director of the Aspen institute College Excellence Program. “These colleges understand that enrollment and graduation matter most when tied tightly to post-graduation success in transferring for a bachelor’s degree and in securing fulfilling, good-paying jobs and careers.”

The Prize selection process began this past October, when the Aspen Institute invited 150 community colleges to apply, based on data showing strong and improving student outcomes in key areas such as retention, completion, transfer, and equity. Applications went to a diverse selection committee of 18 higher education experts who reviewed extensive data and application narratives. Next, the committee will review interviews with leadership teams and narrow this selection of 20 semifinalists to 10 finalists, to be announced in early June 2024.