Guided Pathways for Student Success
What are Guided Pathways?
The Pathways model is an integrated, college-wide approach to student success that helps students navigate their way through their entire higher education experience to completion. Central to Pathways are clear, educationally coherent program maps. The Pathways maps created by faculty and staff contain easy-to-understand steps for the routes through meta-majors, along with the learning outcomes of the programs that are aligned with identified requirements for success when transferring and entering the workforce. Pathways begin with the student’s starting position on the map, provide the support necessary to get the student onto college-level pathways and keep the student on the pathway to successful completion, transfer, and/or career.
Guided Pathways Essential Practices
- Clarifying the Path: backwards design to create meta majors that provide structured flexibility
- Help students choose and enter a pathway: locate students within the educational landscape
- Help students stay on the path: actively monitor where students are on the path and provide support
- Ensure that students are learning: clearly define and measure institutional, program, and course outcomes
- (Strobel & Christian, 2016)
Why Guided Pathways at AWC?
According to the Community College Research Center (CCRC), one of the challenges to closing equity gaps in higher education is that many first-generation college students encounter “structural barriers, including disconnected courses, unclear program requirements, advising services that are difficult to access, and lengthy developmental education sequences” (March 2018). Additionally, first-generation college students frequently have fewer outside resources available to them to help navigate college. Based on the research and recommendation of the CCRC, pathways models have now been adopted as best practices by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), and Pathways initiatives across the country are receiving significant financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, among others.
At AWC, approximately 55% of our students are first-generation, and 26% begin in developmental coursework (AWC Fact Book 2017-18). Developing clear, intentional pathways for students to navigate their educational experience from AWC to a university and/or into the work-force ensures our students succeed and thrive in their communities.
How did we Develop AWC’s Pathways Model?
A small group of faculty and staff convened in the Fall of 2017, in concert with early Strategic Planning initiatives. That small group helped identify key stakeholders to help shepherd the process of researching, designing, and adopting a Pathways model appropriate for AWC.
AWC Faculty & Staff attending the inaugural AZCSS convening in Tempe, AZ
June 10, 2019.
AWC Faculty & Staff participating in AWC’s first Disaggregated Data party,
September 27, 2019.
AWC Faculty & Staff sharing information about Guided Pathways with Taste of the Future attendees, October 23, 2019.
Dr. Tamara Clunis, VP of Academic Affairs at Amarillo College, with AWC, NAU-Yuma, YUHSD, and UofA faculty & staff following a Guided Pathways coaching session, March 6th, 2020.
Guided Pathways Charter Team: Allison Gilliland; Aman Ghebremicael; Bryan Doak; Clarissa Monroy; Cristina Gonzales; Donna Taylor; Dubia Zaragoza; Elaine Groggett; Ellen Riek; Eric Lee; Jane Peabody; Jennie Buoy; Jennifer Thimell; Jessica Carrillo; Joann Chang; Julia Howe; Julissa Fitts; Kathy Ocampo; Lee Altman; Leigh Loughead; Linda Elliott Nelson; Lori Stofft; Marco Diaz; Martha Martinez; Martha Cordova; Mel Parker; Michelle Thomas; Monica Ketchum; Moses Diazdeleon; Nicole Harral; Omar Heredia Romero; Sarah Berner; Shara Skinner; Vanessa Natseway
Milestones to Date (January 2018-March 2020):
- Researched and Developed Pathways model
- Presented Proposal to President’s Cabinet [approved Nov 2018]
- Participated in inaugural Arizona Center for Student Success Convening
- Established Pathways Charter Team
- Established Meta-majors (Majors for Matadors)
- Held Disaggregated Data Party
- Created Faculty & Advisor Training (to be held August 5-6 2020)
- Designed Success Course (13 sections to be piloted in Fall 2020)
- Created Director of Guided Pathways position
- Created Faculty Coordinator of Guided Pathways position (currently unfilled)
- Vertical Planning Session with AWC, NAU, YUHSD, facilitated by Dr. Tamara Clunis (Amarillo College) and Dr. Betty Krohn (AVID for Higher Ed)
- Align & Map Coursework
- Create Program Maps
- Coordinate Career Assessment Tools
- Coordinate with Centralized Scheduling
- Create Student Web Interface
- Create Measurements for Effectiveness
- Design Capstone Curriculum
- Develop Additional Community Apprenticeships