SUNY launched the Guided Pathway Project—a statewide strategy focused on building capacity for community colleges to design and implement structured academic and career pathways at scale, for all students. Closely based on research from the Community College Research Center (CCRC) and the current national Pathways Project led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and building on emerging research and experience in the field, this project is intentionally designed to dramatically contribute to the state’s strategic plan of increasing completion rates and assisting our students to succeed in their higher education goals.
The Guided Pathways project will focus on building capacity for community colleges to design and implement structured academic and career pathways for all of their students. Based on AACC’s model, the SUNY Guided Pathway model is an integrated, system-wide approach to student success based on intentionally designed, clear, coherent and structured educational experiences, informed by available evidence, that guide each student effectively and efficiently from high school to postsecondary entry through to attainment of high-quality credentials at two and four-year institutions and careers with value in the labor market. Monroe Community College was selected as the lead college based on their participation in the AACC Pathways 1.0 Project. The participating colleges collaborate with the New York State Student Success Center and other state-wide communities of practice funded through the SUNY Performance Improvement Fund (PIF).
SUNY Guided Pathways Institutes
The format is based on the AACC Pathways Institute model where colleges participate in five institutes, each two days in length, designed to engage five to seven-person college teams of varying member composition based on the topics. The topics are focused on CCRC’s Scale of Adoption Assessment and includes clarify the paths, help students get on a path, help students stay on their path and ensure students are learning. Each institute will focus on an important aspect of institutional change and pathway design and implementation; each will require advance work by the colleges, and each will result in products developed by the participating college teams, including action plans. The institute format will combine discussions with national and state experts, technical assistance, and facilitated discussion and planning sessions for college teams. SUNY supports coaches to facilitate team discussions and implementation during and outside the Institutes. An alumni program will provide support to the Cohort 1 colleges throughout Cohort 2.
18 Participating Community Colleges:
Cohort 1 (2018-2019): Corning, Jamestown, Mohawk Valley, Monroe, Onondaga, Orange, Rockland, Suffolk, Tompkins Cortland and Westchester Community Colleges
Cohort 2 (2019-2021): Dutchess, Erie, Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley, Jefferson, Schenectady, Ulster, and Nassau Community Colleges
A cross-functional steering team including representatives from faculty, advisors, academic and student services administrators, IR and IT staff, and other stakeholders will participate in the Institutes based on topics. A key component of supporting the team will be ensuring that team members have access to data regarding student enrollment in and progress through guided pathways. At a minimum, colleges will monitor key performance indicators for student enrollment and progression each semester, gateway course and other milestone attainment, and credentials earned by exploratory or “meta-major” and specific program.
Creating guided pathways requires managing and sustaining large-scale transformational change. The work begins with thorough planning, continues thorough consistent implementation, and depends on ongoing evaluation. The goals are to improve rates of college completion, transfer, and attainment of jobs with value in the labor market – and to achieve equity in those outcomes. Recognizing that some pathways within each college may be more fully developed than others by that point, each pathway should include at a minimum:
- Clearly specified further education and employment goals for every program;
- A full-program curriculum map with a default semester-by-semester sequence of courses to complete the program;
- Exploratory or “meta-majors” to help entering students choose a program of study, identification of critical courses and other milestones students are expected to attain in each semester;
- Program learning outcomes aligned with the requirements for success in further education and employment, with necessary assessment strategies in place;
- Policies for intentional advising at intake to assist students in selecting a program that is right for them;
- Policies to provide timely feedback to students when they meet benchmarks or get “off track” in their selected program.