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COD Wins 2018 Bellwether Award 

College of the Desert won a 2018 Bellwether Award for its innovative EDGE (Engage, Develop, Grow, Empower) Program on Tuesday, Jan. 30. 

The annual Bellwether Awards are part of the Community College Futures Assembly, established in 1995 and sp​onsored by the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Florida. The awards – given in three categories – focus on innovative programs that other colleges might consider replicating.

College of the De​sert was the only college nominated in two categories, winning in the Instructional Programs & Service category.

  • Instructional Programs & Services category: The college’s submission was “Breaking Down the Basic Skills Barri​er: Creating Pathways through the Basic Skills Sequence to Support Student Success, Equity, and Completion.” The entry focused on EDGE (Engage, Develop, Grow, Empower), the college’s 3-week summer bridge program that offers a fast-paced review of basic skills in mathematics and English, incorporating student success strategies and exercises to ensure a smooth transition into college life.

  • Planning, Governance & Finance category: The school submitted “Moving Towards Excellence and Student Success: Using simple, data-driven technology tools to enhance shared governance within a culture of inquiry and a transparent integrated planning and resource allocation model.”  

“The Board of Trustees and I are ext​remely proud of this recognition of the efforts of everyone at College of the Desert,” said Superintendent/President Joel L. Kinnamon, Ed.D. “We have a really great story to tell and were proud the Assembly recognized its value to our students and their success.” 

As a 2018 Bellwether Finalist Winner, College of the Desert presented at the Community College Futures Assembly on Jan. 29 in Florida. The award winners were announced on Jan. 30.  

“In more than 1,200 community colleges nationwide, this is one of the highest honors an institution can receive. The awards are similar to being selected by your peers, comparable to the Oscar or Emmy Award,” said Dale F. Campbell, Professor and Director of the University of Florida’s Institute of Higher Education.

“Leaders of past winning programs have obtained ‘free agency’ status through the demonstrated results their programs have made. Previous winners have received an enormous number of inquiries from colleges nationwide requesting site visits to develop similar programs in other community colleges and institutions.”  

The featured keynote address was delivered by Kevin Mulcahy, co-author of the award-winning book, "The Future Workplace Experience."

This year’s policy summit addressed the pathway of the adult learner in partnership with the National Council for State Directors of Community Colleges. The lessons from the speakers and keynote address served as the basis for introspection, strategic decision-making, selecting critical issues, and conducting additional research to provide recommendations for colleges and universities, state and national organizations and policy makers to consider including the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC),) the National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges, the National Council for Continuing Education and Training (NCCET), the National Council of Instructional Administrators (NCIA), the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), as well as legislators and key policy makers.

The annual Community College Futures Assembly serves as an independent policy summit to identify the critical issues facing community college leaders, while showcasing leading edge programs with demonstrated results, worthy of replicating in any community college.

Annually, between 200 and 300 applications are received from around the United States and other countries. Peer-reviewed committees judge entries in each of the three categories to select 10 finalists to go to Florida to present and showcase their projects.

In terms of the three Bellwether Categories, the category of Instructional Programs and Services (IPS) is sponsored by the National Council of Instructional Administrators (NCIA), Planning, Governance, and Finance (PGF) is sponsored by the National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges, and the Workforce Development (WD) category is sponsored by the National Council for Continuing Education and Training (NCCET).

In more than two decades, the Community College Futures Assembly has recognized over 600 outstanding and evidence-based effective community college programs.  

The Institute of Higher Education is an official affiliate of the University of Florida and the College of Education. Founded in 1906, the College of Education consistently ranks in the top 25 among public education schools in the elite Associate of American Universities. The University of Florida Institute of Higher Education (IHE) is the major sponsor of the Community College Futures Assembly. The IHE and Higher Education Administration program, through the production of the Community College Futures Assembly, continue in this long tradition of conducting policy research, preparing leaders for community college teaching and administration while partnering with affiliate educational organizational bodies and entities nationally to showcase trend-setting programs worthy of replication.