ISSUE

The association for Arkansas Community Colleges (ACC) has been working with its 22 member colleges to implement the guided pathways framework since 2014. The strategy has four components: mapping programs of study to clarify degree paths, enrolling students into those programs, tracking progress and ensuring academic success. While most ACC colleges have integrated guided pathways through degree mapping and curriculum changes, less progress has been made on efforts to support the reforms with new advising practices and other student supports. 

SOLUTION

Building on their current efforts, ACC is partnering with ATD to implement holistic student supports throughout its community college network. ATD’s proven coaching strategies combine academic advising, career counseling, financial coaching, income/work supports and wraparound services to offer a seamless, personalized experience for all students.

Because we believe this project will enable ACC to make sustainable changes that will better support students on their way to completing a credential, we’re supporting it with $650,000. Over the two-year grant period, ATD will:

  • Design and deliver a comprehensive three-day Holistic Student Services Institute for teams from all 22 ACC colleges.
  • Conduct a series of webinars and other activities to provide planning and implementation support.
  • Deliver intensive, individualized coaching to the following six Arkansas community colleges: Arkansas State University-Newport, College of the Ouachitas, East Arkansas Community College, North Arkansas College, Southeast Arkansas College and Southern Arkansas University Tech.
  • Support the remaining 16 Arkansas community colleges with individualized coaching and network learning activities.

Leveraging their existing partnership with the Community College Research Center at Columbia University, ACC will use the Scale of Adoption Self-Assessment tool to track student outcomes. The tool measures credits earned within degree pathways; gateway course completion, math and English completion in the first year; semester-to-semester retention and completed credentials.

Both ACC and ATD are already Ascendium grant partners, and this project builds on other work we support. Complementary projects include the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways, a math curriculum reform initiative that highlighted the need for expanded advising services, and Strong Start to Finish, which focuses on first-year student success.

QUESTIONS

Contact Senior Program Officer Sue Cui at scui@ascendiumeducation.org.