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A corporate commitment to college completion


AACC Corporate Council Chair Sandra DeCastro signs a "Call to Action" agreement with Walter Bumphus, president and CEO of the association.​​

​For the past year, the American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) Corporate Council has worked to show its commitment to the college completion agenda.

At the council’s fall meeting this week, members put their commitment to paper by signing a "Call to Action." Ten council members and AACC President and CEO Walter Bumphus signed the college completion challenge.

By signing the agreement, the council members pledge to improve completion rates by helping community college leaders collaborate with business partners, advancing promising business practices that support student success, and encouraging other businesses to support the work of two-year colleges.

The council has a “critical interest” in student success, particularly within community colleges, according to the Call to Action. Improving completion rates ties in to U.S. business competitiveness, and community colleges are the “economic engine” that will help renew the nation’s economic prosperity, it said.

The agreement and its goal is a “big priority” for the council, said Corporate Council Chair Sandra DeCastro, director of association relations at SunGard Higher Education.

“We need to continue to put emphasis on what it will take to push completion rates,” she said. (DeCastro explains the importance of the commitment in the video below.)

Others council members signing the pledge include Sandi Kirshner (Pearson Higher Education), Mary Hawkins (Bellevue University), John Speer (Datatel), John Hough (American Public University System), Thomas Doyle (CAE Healthcare), Janine von Juergensonn (Barnes and Noble Booksellers), Brett Frazier (Blackboard), Toni Feldman (Kaplan University​) and Gerald Weissberg (ed2go​/Cengage Learning).

The Call to Action builds on the one signed last year ​by AACC, the Association of Community College Trustees, the Center for Community College Student Engagement, the League for Innovation in the Community College, the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. It was signed after President Barack Obama issued a challenge for U.S. colleges to produce 50 percent more students with degrees and certificates by 2020.

Council members have been asked to forward names of community colleges that have implemented successful initiatives. Selected colleges will have an opportunity to speak to the council at future meetings.


Sandra DeCastro of SunGard Higher Education and chair of the AACC Corporate Council discusses why business and industry must get involved in the college completion agenda.