ECTC on the rise from good to great | ECTC

ECTC on the rise from good to great

April 17, 2024

April is Community College Month, a time to reflect on the impact community colleges have in the lives of students and entire communities. This year, the time of recognition is especially important as Elizabethtown Community and Technical College celebrates its 60th anniversary.

Community leaders who were nothing short of visionary invested years championing and establishing the college. What pride they must have felt when the college first opened its doors in 1964 to 355 students, and what pride that legacy has given so many since.

The college’s ability — not just its intention — to add value to students’ lives and return that value to the community is as strong as ever. Today, in our region, if we want to talk about developing a competitive workforce, driving economic investment, lifting up families and creating new cycles of success, ECTC is a part of the conversation.

As we envision the college we want to be a decade or more from now, what excites me most is our commitment to improvement, growth and relevance. The ECTC staff, faculty, administration and board of directors have adopted a growth mindset and a positive culture of change. Change is a fundamental element of growth. And we know our future success rests on our ability to figure out what we can do differently to better align with the changing world outside our campuses.

The college’s partnership with Family Scholar House, the centralization of student services and the move to 8-Week Advantage scheduling are among the most recent changes at ECTC. Almost immediately, we’re seeing big gains in our student success rates.

ECTC’s graduation rate increased steadily from 31% in 2017 to 42% in 2022. As of our December 2023 graduation, the rate has jumped to 52% and we expect it to climb higher in May. This is truly remarkable growth. For context, the national community college graduation rate was 36% in 2021, the latest data available.

It’s also a point of pride that more students are passing all their classes, fewer are dropping classes and overall GPAs are increasing. That is a testament to the quality of teaching, learning and student support at ECTC.

We’re excited to celebrate gains in student success but remain focused on the future. I’ve always said this college could be considered one of the best in the nation. We’ve built a platform to go from good to great, and I know we can get there. We can do it for our students and for our region’s future, but we can’t get there by doing the same things in the same ways. It’s going to take flexing our commitment to evolve and grow. I can promise you we will never make change lightly or for the sake of change. But when we see a different way — a better way for students — we’re diving in.

As we observe Community College Month and ECTC’s milestone anniversary, I encourage you to take time to notice the college’s impact on your community. Whether or not you have a direct connection to the college or one of the 6,200 students attending, I hope that you, too, have a sense of pride in your community and technical college.

Dr. Juston C. Pate