AAC&U’s New Guided Pathways Project Champions Student Learning, Career Preparation, and Completion
WASHINGTON, DC – The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has announced a new two-year project, Strengthening Guided Pathways and Career Success by Ensuring Students Are Learning, to build institutional capacity and strengthen student learning at community colleges with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Ascendium Education Group.
“Ensuring that educational quality and college completion are inextricably linked is more critical than ever. We are grateful to our supporters for their help in advancing AAC&U’s initiatives around pathways to student success,” says AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella.
As the leading national association focused on quality in undergraduate education, AAC&U, in collaboration with the Center for Community College Student Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin, will work with 20 community colleges to build institutional capacity and to develop resources that will help institutions strengthen their efforts to ensure students are learning. A call for proposals will be released in March 2019 for institutions interested in participating in this effort.
“I am excited to be working with AAC&U. Both organizations, the Center for Community College Student Engagement and AAC&U, have studied and worked in the space of effective teaching practices, but this is a new narrative as we look through the lens of guided pathways and learn what colleges are doing and want to do,” says Evelyn N. Waiwaiole, executive director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.
Guided Pathways is an integrated framework, based upon structured experiences with student success at the center, that supports institutional transformation as articulated in Redesigning America’s Community Colleges: A Clearer Path to Student Success, Redesigning America’s Community Colleges is co-authored by AAC&U Board Member Thomas Bailey, president, Teachers College, Columbia University. The Guided Pathways project builds institutional capacity to define clear and coherent pathways for degree completion and to ensure learning while on the pathways, leading to completion of a postsecondary degree or credential.
The Guided Pathways Framework has four main practice areas:
1. Mapping pathways to student end goals;
2. Helping students choose and enter a program pathway;
3. Keeping students on path;
4. Ensuring that students are learning.
“This collaborative project will support and align with existing guided pathways efforts, with a particular focus on the development of a scalable faculty-led teaching, learning, and assessment model that promotes the completion of high-quality degrees and credentials that will fully prepare students for lifelong and career success,” says Tia Brown McNair, AAC&U’s vice president for Diversity, Equity, and Student Success.
AAC&U is looking forward to partnering with the Pathways Collaborative on this effort and will convene an advisory group of leading experts to fully realize the project goals.
To learn more about this project, visit www.aacu.org/strengthening-guided-pathways.
AAC&U is the leading national association dedicated to advancing the vitality and public standing of liberal education by making quality and equity the foundations for excellence in undergraduate education in service to democracy. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises 1,400 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.
AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, faculty, and staff engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Through a broad range of activities, AAC&U reinforces the collective commitment to liberal education at the national, local, and global levels. Its high-quality programs, publications, research, meetings, institutes, public outreach efforts, and campus-based projects help individual institutions ensure that the quality of student learning is central to their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.
Information about AAC&U can be found at www.aacu.org.
Ascendium Education Group (formerly Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates) is the nation’s largest federal student loan guarantor as well as a leading higher education philanthropy and provider of student success services for postsecondary institutions. Founded in 1967, Ascendium provides information, tools, and counseling to millions of borrowers nationwide, helping them avoid the consequences of default and keeping the door to re-enrollment open. Ascendium’s philanthropy program funds initiatives aimed at exploring, validating and scaling evidence-based strategies for overcoming systemic obstacles to completion of postsecondary education, particularly for students from historically underserved populations. All of Ascendium’s operations are grounded in the belief that every individual has potential to contribute meaningfully to their community and society. We work to unleash that potential through the power of higher education, and to eliminate barriers that stand in the way of its fulfillment. To learn more, visit ascendiumeducation.org.