2025 Bellwether Award

The Bellwether College Consortium is pleased to announce a call for applications for the 2025 Bellwether Award. The consortium invites community colleges to participate in a transformative and rewarding experience of sharing their respective responses to bellwether issues. A community college designated as one of the 30 Bellwether Finalists is invited to engage in an immersive, interactive final round of competition for this national recognition. A Bellwether Award winner will be chosen in each of the three categories below.



1) Instructional Programs & Services: Programs or activities that have been designed and successfully implemented to foster or support teaching and learning in the community college.

2) Planning, Governance, & Finance: Programs or activities that have been designed and successfully implemented to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the community college.

3) Workforce Development: Public and/or private strategic alliances and partnerships that promote community and economic development by producing a workforce.



The 2025 Community College Futures Assembly Showcase will be a judged event. As a part of the final round of competition, the 30 Bellwether finalists will present their submissions to attendees, including judges during the celebratory kickoff to the Assembly. Skirted tables will be provided to all finalists and a limited number of electrical outlets will be available.

2025 Submission Portal Opening Soon

Bellwether Award Competition – Round 1 Criteria

  • Identify a critical issue or challenge that this program, model, policy or service was designed to address. (20%)
  • Describe the process, timeline, participants, and resources required to implement the program model, policy or service. (25%)
  • Specify the performance indicators and outcomes that have demonstrated the success of this program, model, policy or service from an equity lens (if applicable) and success in scalability. (30%)
  • Elaborate on lessons learned for colleges considering a replication of this initiative. (25%)



Call for Applications

The application portal’s opening date for the 2025 Bellwether Award competition is June 1, 2024. This is an open call to all public community colleges in the United States and its territories. Announcements will be provided via social media and email correspondence.


Collection of Applications

To be considered for the Bellwether Award a formal application form must be completed no later than September 27, 2024. Applications MUST be submitted ELECTRONICALLY via the ONLINE portal. The Program Summary portion of the application will be scored. The program abstract is limited to 50 words and the program summary cannot exceed 1000 words. No supplemental information is needed.


Application Review

All applications will be sent to the judges who will determine 10 finalists in each category based on the selection criteria (see above).


30 Bellwether Finalists Announced

The 30 Bellwether Finalists will be notified no later than November 2025 and will be announced via press release and showcased on the consortium’s social media resources.


Community College Futures Assembly Registration and Preparation of Formal Presentation

Finalists will be invited to join the Bellwether College Consortium and register for the 2025 Community College Futures Assembly held in San Antonio from Sunday, February 23 to Tuesday, February 25. By popular demand, the Menger Hotel has been secured in beautiful San Antonio. It is adjacent to the historic Alamo and within walking distance of the vibrant Riverwalk.

College finalists must confirm their attendance and register all attendees and presenters. Attendees are reminded to make reservations using the conference hotel link by the deadline. College representatives (e.g. trustees, chancellor, presidents) and business and industry partners are strongly encouraged to attend and provide institutional support for their respective colleges. Three nationally representative panels of distinguished guests will serve as judges. They will select the three Bellwether Award winners. The 2025 Bellwether Award and Best in Showcase Award winners will be presented in each category at the Bellwether Award Ceremony.

A Bellwether Finalist webinar will be announced to address questions, presentation preparation, and the required digital binder submission. Finalists will receive an invitation to this free preparatory event.

The scoring criteria for the digital binder and the oral presentation are the same. Judges will score a maximum of ten pages of content and an additional ten pages for appendices with the presentation.

Guidance for Creating a Binder:

  • The title page includes the program title, college, and award category (large font)
  • Visually appealing & easy to follow
  • Table of Contents & tabs
  • Compelling or data-supported rationale
  • Concise language & easy-to-read text, and
  • Graphics explaining the process and sharing important data and outcomes


2025 Bellwether Award Ceremony

This is a memorable, celebratory event not to be missed! Past event highlights include congratulatory remarks from the U.S. Secretary of Education and engaging conversations with leading CEOs and presidents of influential higher education organizations.


Timeline for the 2025 Community College Futures Assembly

  • BCC Submission Portal Opens: June 1, 2024
  • Bellwether Award Competition Overview: TBA
  • Deadline for Completed Application: September 27, 2024 
  • Judges review Applications (Round One): TBA
  • 30 Bellwether Finalists Announced in November 2024
  • Bellwether Finalist Webinar: TBD
  • Registration Opening: TBD
  • Complete the Bellwether Finalist Information Survey: TBD
  • Deadline for Finalists to Register for Futures Assembly: TBD
  • Digital Binder Submission Deadline: TBD
  • 2025 Community College Futures Assembly: February 2025