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WKCTC named national finalist for Bellwether Award for third time

PADUCAH, KY (November 23, 2016) -West Kentucky Community and Technical College is one of ten community colleges in the nation to be selected as a finalist for the 2017 Bellwether Awards from the Community College Future Assembly, in the Planning, Governance amp; Finance (PGF) category.

Dr. Dale F. Campbell, professor and director of the Community College Leadership Consortium and FUTURES ASSEMBLY at the University of Florida notified WKCTC that its program, Free Community College Tuition Does Make a Difference, had been selected to compete for the prestigious 2017 Bellwether Award at the upcoming Community College Futures Assembly.Dr. Lisa Stephenson, WKCTCs director of K-12 Partnerships, and other WKCTC colleagues responsible for the successful implementation of the Community Scholarship Program (CSP) will be honored at the Bellwether Finalist Awards reception on Monday evening, January 30 in Orlando, Fl.

The Bellwether Awards recognizes outstanding and innovative programs and practices that other colleges might find worthy of replicating. The Bellwether Awards are given annually in three categories to colleges with outstanding and innovative programs or practices. This will make the third time WKCTC has been a Bellwether Finalist. The college was also named a finalist in 2005 and 2013.

WKCTC faculty and staff began enrolling the first group of high school students from McCracken County into the private-public partnership known as the Community Scholarship Program in 2010. The first class of CSP participants graduated in May 2016. Preliminary data indicates that CSP students are staying enrolled in college, academically perform at a higher level and earn more college credit when compared to all first-time non-CSP students throughout WKCTCs 10-county region.

The Community Scholarship Program is successful because of the leadership of this college, the faculty and staff who are willing to go the extra mile for all of our students, our CSP secondary partners and the donors, said Dr. Stephenson.

The 2017 Community College Futures Assembly focuses on solutions to the critical issues that were raised in the 2014 Community College Futures Assembly. "Changing the Debate: From Pathways to Pipeline" is the theme for 2017 Community College Futures Assembly, emphasizing the diverse solutions community colleges utilize when facing critical issues.

The Bellwether Award has been compared to football's Heisman Award because it is competitively judged and is an award given by peers in community colleges, with no cash award. It has also been called "the award of awards" because many institutions with programs that have won other awards apply for the Bellwether Award. Moreover, previous recipients of the Bellwether Award have said that it has been a springboard for other types of recognition and/or funding.

The 2017 Bellwether Award Winners will be announced at the Closing Session and Bellwether Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, January 31 at 12 pm.