As Seward County Community College/Area Technical School begins its 41st year in operation, the highlight for this semester is recognition as one of the top 50 community colleges in the nation.

The Washington Monthly has named SCCC/ATS as number thirty-three in its 2010 ranking of America's 50 best community colleges. The only other public Kansas Community College in the top 50 was Barton Community College as number 50.

The data is based on the Community College Survey for Student Engagement as well as the graduation rate of those students who continue their education and graduate from a four-year college or university. The college has achieved this honor based on the survey criteria that covers Active Collaborative Learning, Student Effort, Academic Challenge, Student Faculty Interaction and Support for Learning.

While most community colleges are inexpensive, have open admissions, and are largely unknown outside their local communities, they stand out in teaching and helping students earn degrees, according to Washington Monthly. Kevin Carey in this publication went on to say that "when it comes to quality of instruction they outperform not only their two-year peers, but many elite four-year research universities as well. Students at the top community colleges are more likely than their research university peers to get prompt feedback from instructors, work with other students on projects in class, make class presentations, and contribute to class discussions. Research universities too often subordinate teaching to research. At the best community colleges, teaching comes first."

SCCC/ATS has long been known for its personalized instruction and this recognition show's the college's commitment to student success, said Dr. Duane Dunn, SCCC/ATS president. "We know that personal interaction, individual support and advising, and concerted efforts toward insuring faculty and advisor availability are key aspects of helping students achieve their goals."

Traditionally, students who begin at SCCC/ATS and transfer to a four-year college or university are more successful than those who begin at a four-year institution. "A large part of that success can be attributed to the ongoing efforts of our faculty and staff," Dunn said. "Being recognized as one of the leading colleges in the nation validates the efforts of our faculty and staff. We are proud of this recognition and will continue to make sure our students are provided services, which lead to their success."

Washington Monthly is a nonprofit magazine, based in Washington, D.C. The article, entitled "America's Best Community Colleges" is located on the web at

For a direct link to the College Rankings,