Education is supposed to prepare students to function effectively in society, but this goal can become obstructed by ineffective educational design. The guided pathways framework enables systematic college reform aimed at optimizing the student path from high school to employment or further education (Bailey, 2017). It emphasizes flexibility, accessibility, future-minded educational planning, and support for students through carefully tailored programs and active advising (Van Noy et al., 2016). The current paper briefly summarizes findings regarding the state of implementation of guided pathways at a specific community college.
Although the college has successfully implemented the foundation of guided pathways, there is considerable room for improvement remains. Its website contains extensive information on degree and certificate programs grouped among six communities. Students can use community and program pages to discover course requirements and relevant information about associated career paths. The college’s Guiding Panthers to Success (GPS) facilities help students create their initial education plans and monitor progress towards their goals (Center for Community College Student Engagement, 2018). Success Centers offer support for underprepared and disadvantaged students through tutoring and other assisted learning activities. While all students have access to those services, not everyone uses them, necessitating further support optimization. The college’s high school outreach effort needs to be expanded to include other potential feeders and simplify student transfer. Integrating appropriate mathematics courses into non-STEM programs would be critical for further education (Bickerstaff et al., 2018). Student monitoring software could help implement intrusive advising and improve learning outcomes. Additional support for learning documentation and work-experience programs would help improve employment outcomes. The college must pursue further improvements along those lines to receive the full benefits of the new framework.
The college’s main strengths include a thorough approach to program mapping and significant student support services. On the other hand, its implementation of proactive advising still leaves much to be desired due to the absence of adequate software support. It also needs to improve its out-of-college initiatives, namely preparing future students and securing employment and training opportunities along the lines of internships. Additional reforms should focus on the systematic integration of educational planning, monitoring, and assessment activities with external outreach.
Bailey, T. R. (2017). Guided pathways at community colleges: From theory to practice. Diversity & Democracy, 20(4).
Bickerstaff, S. E., Chavarín, O., & Raufman, J. (2018). Mathematics pathways to completion: Setting the conditions for statewide reform in higher education. Community College Research Center. Web.
Center for Community College Student Engagement. (2018). Show me the way: The power of advising in community colleges. Author.
Van Noy, M., Trimble, M., Jenkins, D., Barnett, E., & Wachen, J. (2016). Guided pathways to careers: Four dimensions of structure in community college career-technical programs. Community College Review, 44(4), 263-285. Web.