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Frequently Asked Questions

We have gathered some of the most commonly asked questions to give you more information about the Bellwether College Consortium and some of the events we host. If you have a question that you don see here, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at

Note: Clicking on the ribbon will reveal the answer. 


General Questions

What are the Bellwether Awards?
Established in 1995, the Bellwether Awards are a long-standing, respected award solely awarded to innovative community colleges. The rigorous award competition is an integral part of the Community College Futures Assembly where the 30 Bellwether Finalists are invited to present their program in a final round of competition among selected peer institutions. The Assembly is sponsored by the Alamo Colleges District and focuses on cutting-edge, trendsetting programs that are worthy of scaling and replication given their evidence-based outcomes and indicators. The Bellwether Awards are given annually in three categories to community colleges with outstanding and innovative programs or practices. Award categories are Instructional Programs and Services (IPS), Planning, Governance and Finance (PGF), and Workforce Development (WD).

The Bellwether Award has been compared to football’s Heisman Award because it is competitively judged and is awarded by respected peers in leadership positions. Recipients of the Bellwether Award have said that it has been a springboard for other types of recognition and/or funding.

How many finalists are invited to compete?
Ten colleges are selected in each of three categories (i.e. Instructional Programs and Services (IPS), Planning, Governance and Finance (PGF), and Workforce Development (WD)).
When are the 30 Bellwether Finalists announced?
The consortium will announce the finalists in November 2023. Bellwether Finalists are notified via email and through our social media channels.
Where can I find the latest announcements by the Bellwether College Consortium?
Announcements appear on social media. Please follow us on the following social media platforms for the latest news.
Who are members of the Bellwether College Consortium?
Finalists are invited to become members and are considered contenders for the Bellwether Award after they join the consortium. Consortium members receive registration to the Community College Futures Assembly and other valuable benefits.
What are the three award categories?
  • Instructional Programs & Services: Programs or activities that have been designed and successfully implemented to foster or support teaching and learning in the community college.
  • Planning, Governance & Finance: Programs or activities that have been designed and successfully implemented to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the community college.
  • Workforce Development: Public and/or private strategic alliances and partnerships that promote community and economic development
Is my college eligible to submit an application?

ALL community colleges in the United States and its territories can apply. The 30 Bellwether Finalists are those community colleges that scored highest in the first round of competition. Each college can enter one submission per award category.

What should I include in my application?
Each college’s application should address the criteria detailed on the BCC website in a comprehensive and concise manner.
Should I submit additional materials with my application?

No. Additional materials are requested only from finalists after they have been notified of their finalist status.

When is the application deadline for the 2023 Bellwether Award competition?
The deadline for the 2023 Bellwether Award competition is September 27, 2022.
Where is the application and how do I send it?
Applications will only be accepted through the Bellwether submission portal.

For any issues or concerns contact Robert Acosta at

Can a college submit more than one entry to a category?
Each community college can submit one entry per category (i.e. instructional programs and services, workforce development, and planning, governance, and finance) for the competition.

We welcome colleges who have never participated before as well as our past award finalists and winners.

Digital Binder

There is a maximum of 10-pages for content with a 10-page maximum for appendices. Does the 10 pages of content include or exclude the cover (front/back = 4 pages) and TOC (front/back=2 pages). In booklet format, this would consume 6 of the 10 pages of content. Or is the cover and TOC included in the 10 pages of content? This affects design and visual appeal.

These pages are not included in the total page count. Feel free to design a cover and please include your program name, college, and award category if a Bellwether Award competitor.

A URL link will need to be provided for the binder. I’m assuming this is to download the document. However, if we were to use a service such as, would a link to the digital publication be acceptable. Once there, the document can be viewed digitally and downloaded as a PDF.

A pdf is all that is required. Please download the document from the source and then upload it to our survey. We try to keep it simple for our judges who receive a link to the pdf file and a paper copy of each binder in their scoring packet.

Are embedded videos allowed as graphics? allows us to do this, but I wanted to be assured we were within or submission requirement if including video embedding.

We request a PDF without links or videos. We have found that keeping the digital binders free of hyperlinks and is the best practice for scoring and maintaining a fully functioning BCC digital binder library with resources that can be accessible in perpetuity.

Webinars and Futures Assembly Questions

Is there a 2024 Bellwether Submission Guidance Webinar?
Yes! The guidance webinar for the Bellwether Award and Legacy Award competitions can be found here.
Will there be protocols in place to ensure a safe conference for all who attend?
We will also be abiding by Texas’s state guidelines and Alamo Colleges District guidance to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Will there be a 2024 Bellwether Finalist Guidance Webinar?
Yes, it was held on November 20th.  Access recording here.
Will there be a virtual event option?
We are currently planning an in-person conference at this time.


Contact Us



We are here to address your questions and share our latest news. Reach out to us if we don’t reach out to you!

For general questions:

Rose Martinez, PhD