Clearer pathways eyed to boost community college student success

Dive Brief:

  • Community colleges across the country are developing pathways to guide students toward a degree and a career through initiatives supported by a range of nonprofits and the American Association of Community Colleges.
  • Inside Higher Ed reports The Pathways Project is about to scale up the use of guided pathways at 30 community colleges in 17 states, meaning every student entering in the fall of 2018 will choose courses based on the pathways developed by faculty and advisers.
  • In Texas, the average associate degree graduate took 91 credits, 31 more than necessary to earn the degree, which costs more in time and money for students who repeatedly ask for more help finding direction.

Dive Insight:

As community colleges recalibrate their work to not only provide access to broad student populations but also help them find success, pathways projects provide a real solution. Many pathways projects have started small, reaching only small groups of students on each campus. This makes the scale of The Pathways Project important. Developing pathways takes a lot of work from faculty. Once 30 schools have pathways for every conceivable program, later adopters of the strategy will have a wealth of information to build upon.

Patricia Shea, director of academic leadership initiatives for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education believes WICHE’s Interstate Passport project fits well with the pathways work. The passport brings a level of consistency to lower-division general education learning expectations, paving the way for smooth transfers.

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Filed Under: Higher Ed