El Paso Community College

Institutional Initiatives

EPCC has become nationally recognized for student success and academic achievement. The data shows that EPCC has made a measureable impact in many areas including increased completion of degrees and certificates, greater transfer rates, improved student engagement and retention, enhanced college readiness, creating a college going culture as well as numerous other student success measures. EPCC is an Achieving the Dream Leader College, was competitively chosen as one of only 30 colleges selected for the AACC initial Pathways Project and is nationally known for creating best practices in community colleges. In 2015, EPCC was named one of the nation’s Top Ten Community Colleges by the Aspen Institute.

The college is repeatedly ranked in Community College Week and Hispanic Outlook Magazine as 1st amongst nearly 1,200 community colleges in awarding associate degrees to Hispanic students; EPCC has also been awarded the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine; EPCC was also named multiple times to the coveted Military Friendly Schools® list which names the top 20 of the colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans, and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus. The college was awarded the Leah Meyer Austin Institutional Student Success Leadership Award for outstanding institutional achievement in equity and excellence in 2011; and was recognized by Excelencia in Education with the “Samples of Excellence” award for the Early College High School program. In 2016, EPCC was recognized with AACC’s prestigious Student Success Award.

El Paso Community College RISE to the Challenge Bridge Program provides research training and supplemental instruction for students which has had measurable success. RISE, which stands for Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement has had extraordinary results. The program provides opportunities for students to do active research and learning in biomedical fields—areas where underserved students don’t typically find a path. This program has increased diversity and given more students opportunities to excel in biomedical careers. Since its inception, more than 179 EPCC students have participated. Of these students, 159 transferred to a university, and 90 have graduated with baccalaureate degrees in biomedical sciences, 17 with master’s, 7 Ph.D.’s, 4 M.D.’s and 1 PharmD degree. 20 of the students are in graduate school, five are teaching at the K-12 level, four are College/University faculty and many are working in the field. As a result of this program, students have high GPAs, are selected for research, internships and other projects as well as have extremely high retention rates.

Salvador Muñoz, Ph.D., former student and current Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Rochester who is also a published research and a NIH funded Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellow said: “As a former RISE student at El Paso Community College, I received support at the onset of my career which helped me establish a firm footing in research before I had a grasp of what was possible in my future. As you know, I struggled early on with respect to seeing a path to success in higher education as I had no such example in my extended family. As many of my peers in El Paso I had a distorted view of college and its value. …. Luckily, I became acquainted with the RISE program. It was through this mentorship and the resources put forth to help students like myself that I finally found a path to success that I could be passionate about…I became not only the first of my immediate family to finish college but rather the first in my extended family to obtain a doctorate degree..”

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