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Adult Learner Success Summit

Adult learners typically bring a range of goals, responsibilities, and strengths to college. Despite the average age of community college students being 28, college’s structures, processes, and cultures are often designed based on the learning and support of traditional 18–21-year-old students. This can result in adult learners taking longer to complete their credential, stopping or dropping out, or not getting connected to their local college at all.

Yet many colleges across the ATD Network have been working to identify and scale promising strategies to enroll and retain more adults in their communities with some or no college experience.

This half day Summit, taking place on May 11 from 11:15 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET, will explore the diverse experiences of adult learners (students aged 25+) and share high impact practices colleges can implement to better serve these students. 

Sessions will explore how colleges can:  

  • Build successful relationships with historically underserved neighborhoods in their community.
  • Implement strategies that support diverse student populations, particularly on the intersection of race, gender, caregiving responsibilities, and socioeconomics.
  • Learn about teaching and learning strategies and program design that impact enrollment, retention, and workforce connections.
  • Create a seamless experience between non-credit, credit, and adult education programs.

Attendees will receive actionable strategies from dynamic speakers and subject matter experts as well as engage with peers to understand the nuances experienced by adult learners in their academic journey.
“When I was accepted into the Laboratory Science Technology program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, doors opened that I didn’t know had existed.” Cyan Hite, 2022 DREAM Scholar and adult learner. 

“It has always been my motto, even as a little girl, to change this world. Today I am changing this world.” Tena Rynn Quakenbush, 2023 DREAM scholar. Tena is a veteran of the U.S. Marines and pursing a degree in nursing at Western Technical College (WI).

Sponsored by 

Who should attend?

Senior and mid-level leaders from student services, academic affairs, institutional research, and other departments. Frontline staff and faculty leadership will also gain valuable information from this Summit. Teams are not required but are welcome to attend.


Registration Information:

Registration for this summit is free for anyone employed at an active ATD Network College, thanks to the generous support of the ECMC Foundation. 

For higher education professionals and other interested attendees not employed at an active ATD Network College, the fee is $129 per person. Please go to the Registration page to register to attend now.

Cancellation Policy:
All cancellations and refund requests must be received in writing by Thursday, May 4, 2023. Cancellations received after May 4, 2023, from paying attendees only, are subject to a $50 administrative fee. Substitution requests may be submitted in writing to events@achievingthedream.org by May 4, 2023 and will be confirmed via return email.

Sponsorship Opportunities:
Sponsorship opportunities are available for this event. Specific details are available in this sponsorship brochure

Please contact Dayna Gilliard at
or call 240-450-3805.

Consent to Use Photographic Images
Registration and attendance at, or participation in, ATD meetings and other activities grants ATD the absolute and irrevocable right and unrestricted permission to use the registrant's name, likeness, image, voice, narrative, and/or appearance as such may be embodied in any photos, video recordings, audiotapes, digital images, print publications, website, social media, and the like, taken or made on behalf of ATD.
Achieving the Dream (ATD) is a partner and champion of more than 300 community colleges across the country. Drawing on our expert coaches, groundbreaking programs, and national peer network, we provide institutions with integrated, tailored support for every aspect of their work — from foundational capacities such as leadership, data, and equity to intentional strategies for supporting students holistically, building K–12 partnerships, and more. We call this Whole College Transformation. Our vision is for every college to be a catalyst for equitable, antiracist, and economically vibrant communities. We know that with the right partner and the right approach, colleges can drive access, completion rates, and employment outcomes — so that all students can access life-changing learning that propels them into community-changing careers.


May 11th, 2023
11:15 AM


May 11th, 2023
05:00 PM Eastern