Sheridan College Qualifies For National Prize In Community College Excellence

Nov 26, 2019

Students enjoy a common area in the Whitney Academic Center on the Sheridan College campus on Sept. 15, 2019. Photo credit
Credit Ryan Shippy / Sheridan College

Sheridan College has been selected as one of the top 150 community colleges in the country by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program.

The designation enters the college to win the 2021 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, which recognizes high performance and awards the winning school $1 million. It's awarded every two years.

Sheridan College was recognized in two categories: student success and equity in STEM engagement. Northern Wyoming Community College District President Walter Tribley said academic counseling and helping at-risk students has made the college successful in the long-run.

"Sheridan College has invested very specifically in student success actions that are occurring in and outside of the classroom," Tribley said.

Programs targeting low-income or first-generation students and a new multi-cultural center have helped students stay on track with their goals, Tribley said.

"One of the stronger indicators of student achieving success are to be connected to feel connected to feel valued and be a part of something inside of class and outside of class," he said.

Tribley said the college provides "nudges," like reaching out to students that haven't signed up for classes.

"This is a proactive method that we're undertaking to try to avoid students finding themselves failing or in crisis," he said. "So when you make those nudge communications, sometimes you find out why they are delayed or what their hesitancy is."

Sheridan College is the only Wyoming community college to be nominated. It was also invited to apply in 2019.

The list of 150 eligible colleges to win the prize will be whittled down to 10 finalists by May of 2020. A final winner will be announced in spring 2021.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, at cwheel11@uwyo.edu.