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National recognition of…

PAC employees continue demonstrating their commitment to excellence by championing innovative initiatives like AlamoADVISE, which the College will be recognized for with a national excellence award in July.
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National recognition of PAC students’ success

Palo Alto College employees continue demonstrating their commitment to excellence by championing innovative student success initiatives, like the AlamoADVISE intentional case management approach to academic advising. This program assigns each student an advisor to guide them from enrollment through graduation.

In late July, the College will be awarded the 2018 Lee Noel-Randi Levitz Retention Excellence Award in recognition of AlamoADVISE and the Advising Scorecard, a tool to help each advisor meet the needs of students in their caseload. The program was piloted in 2014 with first time in college students attending Palo Alto College, and it has since been scaled across the Alamo Colleges District to impact more than 60,000 students.

“Palo Alto College is being recognized on a national level that we are keeping our students in school and helping them graduate,” said Katherine Beaumont Doss, dean of student success. “That is what it’s all about at the end of the day. It’s getting them in the door, keeping them, and helping them compete.”

AlamoADVISE provides the entire student body with a personalized pathway to success through academic and career advising, which fosters a culture of shared responsibilities between the student and advisor. Students are required to meet with an advisor prior to enrollment, during their first semester as part of a classroom assignment, and as they earn the critical 15, 30, 45 hour, and graduation milestones.

AlamoADVISE has significantly increased Palo Alto College’s persistence (percentage of students who return to college) and graduation rates.

  • The persistence rate for first time in college, full-time students from Fall 2012 to Fall 2013 was 59.2 percent. From Fall 2016 to Fall 2017, the persistence rate for the same population was 67.2 percent – an 8 percent increase.
  • As of Fall 2012, the four-year graduation rate for first time in college, full-time students was 11.2 percent. Now, graduation rates have increased to 34.4 percent – a 23.2 percent increase.


“Education is key to a pathway to a higher level of income, to a more secure, healthy lifestyle; but in order for students to get to those higher earnings, education is critical. It doesn’t have to be a bachelor’s degree or even an associate degree; it can be a short-term certificate in a high-demand field. Education is key to everything,” said Doss. “Having college credit and no credential doesn’t help them as much as having that credential. Keep them in school to earn their credentials, and they will have a better job and ultimately a better life for their family members.”

The recognition by the Lee Noel-Randi Levitz Retention Excellence Award means Palo Alto College’s AlamoADVISE model is one of the most successful, impactful student success and retention programs in the nation.

“Noel Levitz is the gold standard for strategic enrollment management for both enrollment and persistence. They’re the best of the best of the best,” said Doss. “Noel Levitz has lived a lot in the four-year university space; so for a community college to not only be engaged in those conversations, but also to compete and be a recipient for the award is huge.”

Palo Alto College was selected from more than 40 applicants, and is one of three colleges or universities receiving this year’s award. As a Lee Noel-Randi Levitz Retention Excellence Award winner, Palo Alto College will present at the Ruffalo Noel Levitz National Conference, host a national webinar presentation, and help judge for the 2019 Excellence Award. An award ceremony will be held at the conference in Orlando, Florida on July 24-26, 2018.

News of this award comes as Palo Alto College was recently named one of 10 finalists for the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance in America’s community colleges. The Aspen Prize also recognizes colleges for graduation rates and student success.

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