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.
A worthy cause
Guided Pathways differs greatly from traditional student success initiatives because it stands to benefit every student at the institution. Rather than introducing a series of high-touch, high-cost, boutique student service models, organizations like Complete College America, Achieving the Dream, AACC, and others are instead championing a whole-institution approach to student success. The essential components of the GPS initiative include:
- Default pathways to standardize the definition of completion at a given institution
- Informed choice to ensure students understand the consequences of their decisions
- Meta-majors to structure program exploration and selection in a meaningful way
- Academic maps to encourage productive course selection
- Intrusive advising to connect students to advisors for relationship building and ongoing support
Related read: How well is your college actually doing Guided Pathways?
Our team received the GPS Direct Seal of Approval because of our commitment to building and supporting pathways through technology. The Navigate platform integrates each one of the above components into its design to support student onboarding, academic decision making, and timely completion. National organizations, research experts, and college administrators have taken notice—but what matters most is the impact we’ve had on students:
- 100% of students at a college in Oregon agreed they would benefit from using Navigate
- 1 in 4 students want to change their major after gathering more information from Navigate
- Applicant conversion rates increased by 4.6% at Danville Community College (Va.) after the college introduced the Navigate technology and supporting process improvements for Fall 2016
No easy feat to build Guided Pathways
Even with the right model in mind, and the perfect technology in place, our members still have questions about bringing Guided Pathways to life on their campuses. The types of questions we hear during research calls and at our 2016 Navigate Summit last month primarily centered on change management: How do we engage faculty? When should students select a major? What wraparound services do students need? What’s the best communication plan to spread awareness about the concept? What academic changes do we need to make to streamline our pathways? The list goes on.
See the sketch notes of our discussions on Guided Pathways at the 2016 Navigate Summit
The anxiety is spurred by the enormity and expansiveness of the model; the 21st-century definition of student success demands support along the entire lifecycle. from entry to exit, and beyond. This year, we are committed to helping members evaluate, build, and improve on their own Guided Pathways models on campus. No two institutions’ models will or should look exactly alike, but our hope is to understand the essential ingredients well enough to inform progress on campus.
Later this fall, we will release a white paper on bringing Guided Pathways to life, with an in-depth best practice study from the Community College Executive Forum to follow next spring.
No resting on our laurels
EAB is made up of a wide range of individuals focused on improving the new student experience and helping students achieve their completion goals. From researchers and communication specialists to user experience designers and engineers (and everyone in between), we couldn’t be prouder to share the news of our recent award from Complete College America.
That said, we continue to re-examine, research, redesign, and retest Navigate to ensure it meets the evolving needs of our students. We look forward to making this difference by working alongside our members every step of the way and measuring our progress not just by the number of awards or accolades we receive, but by the students who succeed with our support.
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