Redesigning the Student Experience
In 2016 ACC began restructuring its programs and services to support "guided pathways" — a strategy embraced by community colleges nationwide to provide students a clear roadmap to on-time completion and personalized guidance to help them stay on track.
ACC's goal is to improve student success outcomes and remove barriers to success. This work is ongoing. Here is a brief summary of our activities at ACC:
- 2016-2017: A Futures Institute of 24 faculty, staff, and students (chosen from 110 applicants) spent a year in study of Pathways, visited leading colleges across the nation, and reported back on how ACC might adapt the model for ACC. As a result, ACC took initial steps – creating 10 "meta-majors" or Areas of Study, creating AoS Information Sessions for all new students, and requiring a student success course during a new student's first semester to explore career options, learn about college resources, and gain student skills and strategies. ACC appointed an Assistant Dean for a Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL). ACC opened the ACCelerator, implementing a new approach to developmental math, utilizing adaptive software for individual learners.
- 2017-2018: Program Maps were implemented for all instructional programs, intended to provide students with a clear guide to program purposes, course sequences, and connections to transfer and employment. Student Affairs added many new advisers and clarified the role of advisors versus counselors. Representatives from the FCTL, together with the Provost, created Project ACC (Active and Collaborative Communities) to help faculty redesign courses. ACC led a consortium of community colleges in obtaining an Achieving the Dream grant to create Open Educational Resources (OER) for a complete degree to relieve students of the burdens of costly textbooks.
- 2018-2019: ACC expanded co-requisite math, providing "just in time" remediation to students taking developmental and an appropriate college level math concurrently. The same was done for integrated reading and writing students. ACC entered into additional co-enrollment programs with universities to help students gain a smoother transition to their chosen baccalaureate degrees. ACC secured approval of its first baccalaureate degree, helping registered nurses throughout Central Texas have a smoother, less costly path to a bachelor's of science degree in nursing.
More About Guided Pathways
The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) has al collection of resources concerning Pathways on its web site. The resources provide answers to such fundamental questions as: What is Guided Pathways?
"The guided pathways model is based on coherent and easy-to-follow college-level programs of study that are aligned with requirements for success in employment and at the next stage of education. Programs, support services, and instructional approaches are redesigned and re-aligned to help students clarify their goals, choose and enter pathways that will achieve those goals, stay on those pathways, and master knowledge and skills that will enable them to advance in the labor market and successfully pursue further education."