TACOMA, WA – On Monday, September 11, Degrees of Change founder and president Tim Herron was bestowed the Executive Leadership Award of Excellence at the 2017 National College Access Network (NCAN) national conference in San Diego, Calif. The award, given annually, honors a leader from a college access program who has shown significant dedication and hard work towards their organization, the community they serve, and the field of college access. The recipient receives a $1,000 award in support of a new, one-time scholarship made in the winner’s honor.
The Executive Leadership Award of Excellence celebrates the impact that Herron has had on the lives of hundreds of students, their families, and multiple communities since he created the Act Six program in 2002 and founded Degrees of Change in 2011. Over the last 15 years, Act Six has graduated more than 80% of its scholars within a six-year completion period, more than twice the national average for underrepresented students, and a full 15% higher than overall graduation rates at colleges and universities Act Six scholars attend.
“From the beginning, Tim Herron has been living and leading this vision of college access, community engagement, and quantifiable outcomes for our students,” said Bradd Busick, Degrees of Change board chair. “This award is a nod toward that effort and excites our entire team given that we are only just beginning to measure the genuine impact in the lives of our students and their communities.”
“This award is a testament to the staff and networks of Degrees of Change and the amazing commitment we collectively have for this important work,” said Tim Herron, Degrees of Change founder and president. “There is no greater honor than the privilege of walking alongside our students and families, as not only our scholars become college graduates but as they become the incredible, diverse leaders our communities desperately need.”
In addition to the successful Act Six program, Degrees of Change developed FOYOST (Follow Your Student), an easy-to-use student visualizer web application. FOYOST enables organizations and school districts to input student detail files from the National College Clearing House and receive actionable student enrollment, persistence, and completion data within minutes.
Most recently, Tim and the Degrees of Change team have unveiled Ready to Rise, the second student-facing program from the organization. Ready to Rise leverages the Act Six model of sending cohorts of students to college together, along with leadership development efforts and partnerships with community nonprofits, to help a wider array of students complete their degrees at two- and four-year public schools. Ready to Rise is expected to create significant scale on an already successful cohort model, and is in the first year of a five-year launch term, made possible by a $3.4 million investment by College Spark Washington.
Degrees of Change is a national not-for-profit organization founded and based in Tacoma, Washington that helps communities and colleges develop networks of diverse, well-educated, mission-minded leaders by sending students to college together in cohorts while empowering them to grow as leaders, complete their degrees, and connect their talents and efforts to make their home communities more vibrant and equitable. In doing so, DoC increases success in higher education among students who have traditionally been underrepresented in higher education, particularly low-income students, students of color, and first-generation college students. Learn more at degreesofchange.org.