What do you want to study at college? When the answer to this question does not come easily, a student may lose time and money taking unnecessary courses, get frustrated trying to find a direction and eventually drop out of school.
TCC Can Help with That
Because of their commitment to supporting student success, TCC College faculty introduced the Guided Pathways concept to TCC. Guided Pathways is an integrated, Collegewide redesign of the student experience, from enrollment to graduation. The innovative approach is designed to connect students with programs that are aligned with topics and activities they enjoy, which helps them identify their goals earlier and succeed in school and at work. Guided Pathways also facilitates closer collaboration across programs, departments, services and campuses to support students› success.
Start with the End in Mind
Degree and certificate programs that share similar interests and skills are grouped in career areas called Pathways. TCC identified five Pathways that are aligned to the Texas high school endorsements: Arts & Humanities, Business & Industry, Health Science, Human & Public Services, and Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM). Instead of browsing the entire College Catalog and then trying this course or that program, students have a plan and support. Advisors help students choose a Pathway that fits their interests and help them stay on that Pathway. Meanwhile, faculty make sure TCC’s programs support high-demand, high-wage jobs and those students learn the skills they need to succeed in those jobs.
“A benefit of Guided Pathways is that we begin with the end in mind—what career/transfer opportunities exist for students—and work from there to ensure students are achieving their goals,” said Candy M. Center, district director of curriculum and educational planning.
Navigating a Pathway? You’ll Need a Map
Key to the Guided Pathways approach are program maps that simplify student choices and lift barriers. Each map charts a clear, structured path to finishing a program. Students can see exactly what’s ahead and stay on track.
The program maps are the result of Districtwide collaboration. Faculty, deans, advisors, career advisors, transfer counselors, Academic Affairs teams, District staff and the Web Communications team came together in program mapping sessions to design degree and certificate maps with pathway courses and core courses placed in intentional, balanced sequences.
“When students identify their pathway early, they are more likely to take the ‘right” courses for the pathway, in the right order, and stay on their path to success,” according to Christina Ross, Guided Pathways faculty lead and associate professor of speech.
New Approach, New Webpages
To introduce Guided Pathways to TCC website visitors, the Web Communications team redesigned the program webpages, which now are organized by Pathway. Updated content answers the questions, “What kind of job can I get?” and “Is this program right for me?”
The highlight on each program webpage is the new “Job Titles & Career Info” section that features a feed from Burning Glass: Career Insight, an analytics software that delivers current job market data. Because the feeds are tailored to each program and career field, visitors enjoy the convenience of curated research. They can explore a wealth of real-time job information through a user-friendly interface: salary ranges, career demand, skills sought, job titles and more. Not limited to the DFW Metroplex, visitors also can broaden the scope to county, state or national levels to see or compare job information.
To complement the Career Insight data, faculty teams added program-related career information, including extra details like personality traits, aspects of daily work life and job activities that help students identify with each career field.
The Journey Continues
Planning for and launching Guided Pathways has been a Districtwide journey. But its journey does not end here. With the future in mind, the College built sustainability into its Guided Pathways framework. Faculty, Academic Advising, Career Services and Transfer Resources will continue to work together toward the ongoing goal of supporting student success.
Which Pathway would you choose? Explore the options!
Pathways by the Numbers
- 4 Years
- 5 TCC pathways aligned with high school endorsements
- 29 Program Mapping Sessions
- 751 Program Mapping Session Participants
- 95 Redesigned webpages
- 9 Texas Success Center Pathways Institutes
- 102 Texas Success Center Pathways Institutes Participants
- 214 Advisors certified as National Career Development Association (NCDA) Career Advisors
- 11 Staff members certified to provide NCDA training
- 2016—TCC faculty invited Rob Johnstone, Ph.D., founder and president of the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement, to the College to give an overview of the Guided Pathways approach and to facilitate sessions on how to build a Guided Pathways Program.
- 2017—TCC connected its work with:
- National Pathways Work: American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Pathways 2.0 Institutes
- Regional Pathways Work: Texas Success Center Texas Pathways Institutes
- 2018—TCC began the program mapping process with four teams:
- Information Technology
- Allied Health & Nursing
- 2019-2020—TCC completed program mapping sessions for all career and technical programs as well as Associate of Arts programs.