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year, and is harnessing a Pathways foundation to reach that
destination, President Chad Brown says.
Serving 3,500 students, many of them from rural areas in
southeast Ohio, ZSC re-constituted about 40 majors into seven
meta-majors under Pathways. Student intake, advising and
a middle-skills science, technology, engineering and math
(STEM) program have also incorporated the model in their day-to-day work.
Utilizing a Loss/Momentum Framework (LMF) to track
student interaction with the college, officials view Pathways
as an "onramp" to move students from high school to transfer
institutions or the workforce.
"Connection, completion and continued enrollment is the
goal," Brown says. "Many students won't stick with what they
start, so our idea was to maximize transferability within
majors. What we're doing reframes the conversation on
campus around what success means."
Administration engaged faculty early on, pulling them
together to organize meta-majors at the same time ZSC was
converting its schedule from quarters to semesters. Associate
professor Marcie Moore attended a Pathways Project Institute
to learn how she could make such fundamental changes
within her department. Sessions focused on design principles,
data review and project implementation strategies. Upon her
return, Moore presented her findings to colleagues during
professional development meetings.
"We put the seed in and hit the ground running," Moore says.
"President (Brown) and I expected resistance to the concept, but
we really didn't get that. We focused on research and gave faculty information in pieces so they weren't overwhelmed. They
thought about it logically and said this makes sense for us."
A committee comprised of general education, technical
and programmatic faculty continually review curriculum
changes and offer suggestions that are then sent to an academic affairs team.
"There's perspective coming from all sides of the academic
house," Moore says. "We're making sure these voices are heard.
We're not making decisions that will affect others without first
getting their input."
Beginning this fall, ZSC learners will build their schedules,
plan future careers and get financial advice at a one-stop
Student Success Center, ideally adding another layer to the
college's Pathways plans, Brown says.
"Before this, we were operating in silos," he says. "What we're
doing with Pathways represents a fundamental transition for
the institution. Success Center personnel will help students
with life challenges, while faculty can be more of an academic
partner and mentor."
Faculty is maintaining its investment in curriculum changes,
using a model where the provost has final authority, adds Brown.
"Our staff is going to lead the process and keep the college
moving forward," he says.
STAYING ON THE PATH
Participating colleges continue to engage staff as they further
scale up their unique Pathways models. Leach of Western
Wyoming Community College says forthcoming town hall
meetings will allow faculty to give formal input.
"I'm encouraging people to stop me in the halls to talk,
too," Leach says. "I hope that when we hear some worries
that are normal and healthy, we'll call a meeting to answer
SVC will refine its programming via staff collaboration and
regular review of data, Keegan says.
Looking ahead, one of the college's objectives is to integrate
Pathways into its relationship with K- 12 and baccalaureate
institute partners. Sharing a strong, common vision across
campus will only benefit what otherwise would be a difficult
transformation process, Keegan says.
"The vision itself is critical, because it pulls a diverse college
community around a focused goal," he says. "Pathways is a
strategy that's supportive of that vision."
Keegan is pleased to join other community colleges on what
he believes is a long-term path to success for his students.
Staying on the straight and narrow means emphasizing a participatory work environment for faculty and staff.
"We already have a series of guiding principles like openness,
honesty and collaboration," Keegan says. "There's a high expectation that we work with each other in a way that's consistent
with those principles."
Douglas J. Guth is a writer based in Ohio.
"WE'RE MAKING SURE THESE VOICES ARE HEARD. WE'RE NOT MAKING DECISIONS
THAT WILL AFFECT OTHERS WITHOUT FIRST GETTING THEIR INPUT."
MARCIE MOORE, associate professor, Zane State College