Last week, Complete College America announced EAB as one of the inaugural recipients of the GPS Direct Seal of Approval, an award that recognizes software platforms that most align with the organization’s Guided Pathways to Success (GPS) initiative. As noted on this blog on a few different occasions, the Guided Pathways model is an incredibly important shift towards radical institutional restructuring for the benefit of students.
EAB is proud to receive this honor, primarily because of what it signals about our commitment to community college student success.
EAB wins the GPS Direct Seal of Approval
Just two weeks ago, we welcomed more than 70 community college presidents and vice presidents to our offices in Washington, D.C. for the 2016 Navigate Summit. For me, these meetings always feel like a homecoming as I get to see the familiar faces of our founding members and welcome new college leaders to the Collaborative for the first time. The energy from our shared commitment to innovation and student success was palpable—and fueled us throughout two days of learning.
In this setting, we grappled with some hard truths: the role of community colleges in today’s higher education ecosystem, the evolving vocabulary of top challenges, and the path to achieving institutional goals.
Leading radical change at community colleges
Demographic-based initiatives well-intentioned but misguided
Recently, we welcomed a new EAB team member with an impressive background in student success. Across her many stories from the field, the ones that stand out to me are those she shared about her own experience as a young person on the receiving end of well-intentioned but ill-conceived student success initiatives directed at individuals solely on the basis of their gender, race, or ethnicity.
In one instance, she recalled having to attend a pre-college success course restricted to traditionally underrepresented students. The content primarily focused on study skills, demystifying college jargon, and financial aid. Though she admitted some content was useful, she also remembers, “It was always assumed that those who were first-generation students were also low-income, which was not the case with my family. We were given bus vouchers and informed of programs I didn’t need, which created a lot of resentment from peers who were left out of this special programming. It was a mess.”
Look beyond demographics to serve students better