Dr. Karen A. Stout is president and CEO of Achieving the Dream, Inc., the nation’s most comprehensive nongovernmental reform movement for student success.
Dr. Stout, who previously served as president of Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) in Pennsylvania for 14 years, serves on the advisory board to the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a commissioner and executive committee member with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and a past member of the American Association of Community Colleges Board of Directors (2011–2014). Most recently, she served as co-chair of the AACC 21st Century Commission’s Implementation Steering Committee, working with more than 100 leaders from across the country in developing a framework for the redesign of America’s community colleges.
Under Dr. Stout’s leadership, MCCC was recognized nationally for its work in student success, receiving Achieving the Dream’s 2014 Leah Meyer Austin Award for significant institutional improvement supporting student achievement. The college is one of seven institutions in the country named to the Next Generation Learning Challenges Breakthrough Models Incubator national grant program. Through the program, MCCC improves first-time students’ understanding of financial, civic, and digital literacies. The college has ranked among the top 10 digital-savvy community colleges in the country by the Center for Digital Education every year since 2004. A national leader in advancing sustainability, the college has earned the 2011 and 2014 Climate Leadership Award from Second Nature.
Dr. Stout led the development and implementation of three strategic plans and two facilities master plans that led to the expansion of the West campus in Pottstown, the expansion and near remaking of the Central campus, a new Virtual Campus, a Culinary Arts Institute, new occupational and transfer programs, strong relationships with community partners, and new relationships with school districts and colleges and universities.
Before joining MCCC, Dr. Stout served as the vice president for institutional advancement and enrollment services at Camden County College and as the CEO of Rohrer Campus in New Jersey. She also held positions at two community colleges in Maryland.
Dr. Stout is a frequent national presenter on topics ranging from leadership to strategic planning to fundraising to using data to support continuous improvement. She wrote the forewords to Re-visioning Community Colleges: Positioning for Innovations and Getting the Green: Fundraising Campaigns for Community Colleges. She also wrote chapters entitled "Leading and Learning: Structures and Strategies for Accelerating Innovation" and "Navigating the Relationship Between Governing and Foundation Boards."
Dr. Stout holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Delaware, a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Baltimore, and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Delaware. She was named to the University of Delaware’s Alumni Wall of Fame in 2005 for her outstanding professional and public service achievements and received a presidential citation from the university for her contributions to community colleges in 2012.