The Community College of Aurora (CCA) is the first Colorado institution to join Achieving the Dream (ATD), a national network that supports colleges in fostering more equitable, anti-racist, and economically vibrant communities.

Over the next three years, CCA will collaborate with six community colleges across the country to execute a custom equity plan that advances student success. CCA will develop a culture of high-impact, professional learning among faculty and staff and address equity gaps in completion, transfer, and enrollment through enhanced data practices.

“I am looking forward to our partnership with ATD and the impact we make as we improve and strengthen our student outcomes,” said CCA president Dr. Mordecai Brownlee. “Together, we will help our students achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity.”



CCA has already been assigned two ADT coaches who will help the college define and work toward their strategic goals. As part of the 2022 cohort, CCA will also be able to compare and benchmark data against other participating colleges; have access to training opportunities, resources, and materials; and take advantage of ADT’s institutional capacity assessment tool, Dr. Brownlee said.

The college has long been recognized for its leading-edge equity work. In 2019, the college received the American Association of Community Colleges Advancing Diversity Award, which honors colleges that have created an equitable and inclusive environment for students, staff, and faculty. Among many strategies, the college has developed a community-based Hispanic Advisory Committee to work with Latinx students and families; secured a grant to provide equity training to its adjunct instructors; and launched an Equity in Instruction Leadership Academy.

“I am looking forward to our partnership with ATD and the impact we make as we improve and strengthen our student outcomes.”
Dr. Mordecai Brownlee, President of Community College of Aurora


“The Community College of Aurora, under the leadership of Dr. Mordecai Brownlee, is very focused on improving outcomes for each and every one of its students,” said Joe Garcia, chancellor of CCCS. “By partnering with ATD, they will combine their innovative efforts with the great ideas that come from ATD to really help drive those outcomes. ”

As open access institutions, CCCS colleges serve nearly half of all resident undergraduate students of color in the state. CCCS is a critical player in closing the state’s equity gaps in higher education attainment, which are among the widest in the nation. Compared to 60% of the White population, only 25% of Hispanic Coloradans and 38% of Black Coloradans ages 25-64 hold an associate degree or higher, according to data from the Lumina Foundation.

In addition to college-level work, CCCS leads many systemwide initiatives that elevate promising practices and improve cultural competency among faculty and staff. This includes systemwide trainings on equitable teaching practices; sharing evidence-based strategies and technologies that support student success; and researching the needs of historically marginalized groups, such as adult learners.

“CCCS is deeply committed to expanding educational opportunities and success for all students. Through our equity and inclusion work, we are focused on erasing disparities in college access, enrollment, and completion by focusing on the whole student,” Chancellor Garcia said.