Los Medanos College Among 24 National Finalists in Awards of Excellence Program

American Association of Community Colleges to Spotlight Colleges April 7 in Washington, D.C.

Myra Snell
Myra Snell

PITTSBURG/BRENTWOOD – Los Medanos College (LMC) is among a select group of colleges named as finalist in a prestigious program designed to recognize innovation and promising practices among two-year colleges nationwide. The Awards of Excellence are sponsored by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), which established the awards in 2013.

Winners in each of six categories will be named April 7 in Washington, D.C., during the 94th Annual AACC Convention, an event that attracts close to 2,000 educators, policymakers, corporate and foundation representatives each year. LMC was the only California college selected as a finalist, and has been recognized in the Faculty Innovation category, a new category for the awards. Other categories include Emerging Leadership, Student Success, Exemplary CEO/Board, Advancing Diversity and Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership. For a full list of finalists see www.aacc.nche.edu

At LMC, Mathematics Professor Myra Snell has created an innovative solution to streamline learning and improve success rates for community college students in their studies of mathematics. Professor Snell created Path2Stats, a one-semester course that prepares students for the study of statistics and offers an alternative to the traditional 3 to 4-semester remedial algebra sequence. At LMC, student completion of transferable math has been three times higher in Path2Stats than in the traditional curriculum and, through her work as co-founder and coach for the California Acceleration Project, Ms. Snell has helped scale up this innovation to 20 other California community colleges (http://cap.3csn.org). The California Acceleration Project focuses on redesigning English and math curricula to increase student completion rates, supporting all of California’s 112 community colleges. She speaks nationally on remediation reform and served as a key advisor to Colorado’s statewide redesign in mathematics. As a curriculum writer for the Carnegie Foundation’s Statway initiative, she also developed online, open-education materials for statistics pathways, with extensive data analytic capacities. 

LMC President Bob Kratochvil commented, “We are very honored that Professor Myra Snell’s talents and efforts have been acknowledged by the AACC. Professor Snell epitomizes innovation, focus on access and student success, emphasis on completion, use of data and efforts to eliminate achievement gaps – all keystones of this prestigious award.” 

Katie Hern, co-founder with Snell of the California Acceleration Project, explained, “As the creator of Path2Stats at Los Medanos College, Myra Snell developed a solution to one of the biggest obstacles to increasing community college completion and narrowing achievement gaps for Black and Latino students. The program – first offered by Snell in Fall 2009 and now involving several other instructors trained by her – has dramatically increased student completion of college-level math requirements at Los Medanos.” 

“Beyond her local campus,” Hern continued, “Snell has made a tremendous contribution to the community college landscape. She was the first person to identify the core structural issue driving high attrition rates in remedial course sequences nationwide. As documented in a 2010 article, the problem is what Snell labeled the “multiplication rule” – the more layers of non-credit-bearing remedial coursework a student must complete, the higher their attrition rates. Essentially, the more opportunities there are for community colleges to lose students in a sequence, the more students we will lose exponentially.”  

Los Medanos College (LMC) is one of three colleges in the Contra Costa Community College District. LMC prepares students to excel and succeed economically, socially and intellectually in an innovative, engaging and supportive learning environment. It provides quality programs and state-of-the-art facilities to serve the needs of a rapidly growing and changing East County while enhancing the quality of life of the diverse communities it serves. LMC is located on 120 acres between Pittsburg and Antioch, with an additional education center in Brentwood.