New Certificate to Strengthen Guided Pathways

Nationwide, the guided pathways movement is helping more students succeed. But as Sova co-founders Alison Kadlec and Paul Markham observe, “not nearly enough has been done to meet faculty where they are, speak to their interests, and bring them into this work as true partners.”

To bolster faculty engagement—for the strongest possible impact on student success—ACUE and Sova are developing a new certificate in guided pathways implementation. This credential will focus on best practices that ensure student learning and persistence to completion—pillars three and four of the Pathways model.

Sova supports higher education organizations across the country in efforts to scale evidence-based student success initiatives. It provides facilitation support to the Pathways Partner Collaborative, a group of leading student success-focused organizations responsible for supporting the implementation and scale of guided pathways nationwide.

“Sova bring a wealth of insights—all of which will inform our new certificate,” said Penny MacCormack, ACUE’s chief academic officer. “We’re going to ensure that faculty have a rich understanding of their role in guided pathways and are equipped with evidence-based teaching approaches.”

The guided pathways reform model has four main pillars: first, clarify programs of study to better inform students about the sequence of courses needed for a degree. Second, ensure that students choose the right program, one that fits their strengths and career aspirations. Third, help students stay on the path to complete their studies. Fourth, ensure learning at every step along the path, so that graduates are well-prepared.

To date, work across these pillars has largely been led by administrators, advisors, and student support personnel. But, as MacCormack notes, “it’s hard to overstate the influence of faculty on students’ career interests, choice of program, depth of learning, and determination to complete their studies.”

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