College Forward’s Austin Buchan Wins 2016 Executive Leadership Award of Excellence

September 21, 2016

By Allie Ciaramella, Communications Manager 

Austin Buchan, Executive Director of College Forward, received the Executive Leadership Award of Excellence today at the 2016 NCAN National Conference in Detroit, Michigan. 

Austin is responsible for operations across the breadth of College Forward’s mission and strategy, and has made student service tools a central component of the organization’s strategic plan of growing its impact without growing the organization. Austin is leading numerous projects that focus on building, codifying and sharing a comprehensive set of adaptable tools that will strengthen the college support industry, its services to students and student outcomes nationwide.

Austin was promoted to the role of Executive Director at College Forward in July 2015. He joined the Austin, Texas-based organization in 2010 as a Program Manager, where he developed collegiate mentoring services and later led the development of the Salesforce-based student information system CoPilot. Though Austin built the platform intending it for College Forward’s use, CoPilot proved to be a powerful and desirable tool, and as of this fall will track data for more than 156,000 students served by more than 24 nonprofits, higher education institutions and state agencies.

It’s been a busy summer for College Forward. First the organization made a Commitment to Action at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative America, pledging to expand its Success Partnerships program over the next three years, partnering with two-year and four-year higher education institutions across Texas. And in July, College Forward partnered with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative and Civic Nation to use the Up Next text messaging tool to connect one-on-one with students and increase college access, matriculation and success.

The Executive Leadership Award of Excellence recognizes the dedication and hard work of an individual serving as a college access program’s Executive Director, President, or as a member of its Board of Trustees or Directors. The winner receives a $1,000 award in support of a new, one-time scholarship made in his or her honor.

NCAN solicits nominees from its membership for the annual Awards of Excellence in College Access and Success. A committee of NCAN members reviews all nominations, with final decisions confirmed by the NCAN board of directors. NCAN thanks the five members of the 2016 Awards Committee for their service:

  • Cat Horzewski, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee
  • Roxanne Mendez, The Riordan Programs at UCLA Anderson School of Management
  • Lauren Olsen, Rutgers University
  • Robbie Stabeno, Waco Foundation/MAC Scholarship Program
  • Tina Wirth, Earn Up

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