Learn about guiding principles for guided pathways

Austin Community College is taking the first steps toward implementing “guided pathways” at the college in fall 2016, as its 24-member Futures Institute looks at how programs and services can be reorganized to better support students’ on-time completion.

Faculty and staff from around the college discuss strategies during a session with Dr. Davis Jenkins.

Faculty and staff from around the college discuss strategies during a session with researcher and author Dr. Davis Jenkins.

The group’s work is based on the book “Redesigning America’s Community Colleges: A Clearer Path to Student Success,” co-authored by Dr. Davis Jenkins, which highlights colleges that have realigned programs into career focus areas supported by improved processes for connection, entry, progress, and completion.

Following are some of the principles for redesigning programs and support services using the guided pathways model:

  • Help students with career exploration and goal-setting from the start.
  • Require every student to have a clear roadmap to completion, further education, and job advancement.
  • Ensure that program learning goals are clearly articulated and aligned with requirements for success in further education and employment (engaging employers and university colleagues to do so).
  • Simplify choices for students, using program maps as the defaults for program plans that are required of every student, but that students can customize with support from an advisor.
  • Give students predictable course schedules that make it easier to organize their lives around school and graduate on time.
  • Redesign the intake process to help entering students who are undecided about a major to choose a field of study as quickly as possible.
  • Integrate teaching of foundation skills into college-level gatekeeper courses for major program areas to enable academically unprepared students to successfully enter a program of study as soon as possible.
  • Monitor student progress on their program plans, providing frequent feedback and support as needed.
  • Build bridges into college programs (as opposed to preparing students for college generally) from high schools, adult basic education, and other feeders.

Excerpted from the paper, “Redesigning Community Colleges for Student Success; Overview of the Guided Pathways Approach” by Dr. Davis Jenkins, Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University.

Read more about the Futures Institute’s work at Futures Institute gets underway.

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