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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Program to help shape career paths for students

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September, 18, 2019 | Juan Ibarra | editor-in-chief

A new program titled Guided Pathways aims to help students graduate faster without wasting their time or money.

Planned for next fall, this program will have students choose from one of five career pathways from STEM, Business & Industry, Human & Public Service, Arts & Humanities or Health Science. Students will be assigned to specialized counselors who will help prioritize classes in the field they are interested in.

Begin Quote "We are firmly committed to supporting students through their academic journeys." End Quote - Elva LeBlanc

“The Guided Pathways model basically creates structure and direction for students,” executive vice chancellor and provost Elva LeBlanc said.

The idea for the program is for students to choose where they want to go and then TCC helps them get there, LeBlanc said.

An associate degree should take 60 credit hours, yet students at TCC end up having around 90 credit hours on average, according to board of trustees president Conrad Heede.

“It’s horrible,” Heede said. “Our students don’t have the time or money, in many cases, to do that.”

Over 250 colleges have been redesigned with the Guided Pathways approach since the conception of the idea in 2017, according to the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

One of the program’s goals is to create “world-ready students,” which means students who have been prepared with the three factors of problem-solving skills, communication and computation. These factors are the top three things employers want, according to LeBlanc.

To determine the success of the Guided Pathways program, the key performance indicators TCC will look at are the number of college credits students earn in their first year, the success of a student in math and English courses and how many courses a student completes by the end of the first year.

“We’re shifting from letting students take whatever course they want to helping them make better decisions for themselves,” LeBlanc said. “So they don’t spend more money than they need to or more time than they need to.”

The 3 Goals and 8 Principles is TCC’s guiding philosophy and is set to blend with the Guided Pathways program.

Originally, the Guided Pathways program was already in motion when the 3 Goals and 8 Principles were created, so that was a welcome surprise, according to Christina Ross, Guided Pathways faculty lead and NW associate professor of speech.

“Many of the principles are working on areas related to Guided Pathways, and it’s been very exciting to see the collaboration taking place between student development services and academic affairs,” Ross said.

The program touches upon every principle and pulls people of different disciplines from throughout the college to work together in a collaborative effort, LeBlanc said.

Part of the curriculum managing process will include streamlining the core curriculum and including the specific fields of study so universities accept the credits.

“The structured pathways are designed to shift the focus of student choice from picking courses to picking programs,” LeBlanc said. “This is where you would change from taking 90 hours, for example, to taking 60 hours.”

Long-term goals for TCC align with this Guided Pathways program, and according to LeBlanc, it will craft the structure and support necessary for students.

“We are firmly committed to supporting students through their academic journeys and we want to provide exceptional support to students as they navigate their academic programs,” LeBlanc said.

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