Report Analyzes Impact of Guided Pathways Practices at Community Colleges

The Center for Community College Student Engagement’s new report analyzed the impact of guided pathways practices at community colleges across the country.

Its research, “Building Momentum: Using Guided Pathways to Redesign the Student Experience,” used student and faculty perspectives. More than 100,000 community college students and 7,000 community college faculty members were used as part of the report.

The guided pathways practices are “designed to help colleges improve rates of student completion, transfer and attainment of jobs with value in the labor market,” the report said.

“Guided pathways has been a monumental movement when it comes to academic advising,” said Dr. Robert Garza, president of Alamo Colleges District-Palo Alto College. “The connection, entry, progress, completion and then ultimately looking at the employment or the transfer of the student. It’s really giving colleges an idea to look at the advising life of a student in a holistic way from the point of entry to the point of exit to when they transfer or go onto their employment.”

Dr. Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap

Over the years, higher education institutions have used the “cafeteria model,” meaning students enter college with a number of options to choose from and spend time “making choices and taking courses to hopefully end up with a degree or ‘square meal’ at the end of the cafeteria line,” according to Dr. Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap, president of South Seattle College.

“We are finding that that design has not been conducive towards completion,” she said. “So really focusing on outcome focus, degree and certificate programs, organizing students’ course taking and their experiences with course taking and course selection in a way that’s structured and supported but also flexible and adaptable for students. Those are all important components of guided pathways.”

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