How Guided Pathways Can Reduce a Student’s Time and Cost to Completion

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Ann Buchele, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at Linn-Benton Community College, joined the podcast to discuss the big institution-wide lift and ROI return on establishing guided pathways and support for your students.

What we didn't want to do is continueto create a schedule where student had to get up at five am, and they hadthirty seconds to Rester for themistry qort before it filled you're, listening to enrolment growth,university from helics education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Roman at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh and Roman growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to Enroman GrowthUniversity, a proud member of the connect Evu podcast network, I'm EricWolson with helics education and we're here today with Doctor Anne Buckley,Vice President of academic and Student Affairs, at Lynde, Benton CommunityCollege, and welcome to the show it's great to be here really excited to haveyou here and get to chance to talk with you today about how to reduce astudent's time and cost to completion through guided pathways. Before we digin, can you give the listeners just a little bit of background on bothlimbent, an community college and your rule? There Tor Sellin Bentin communitycollege is in Alveny Oregon, it is albuny is about an hour and a halfsouth of Portland we're in the valley. It's quite beautiful mountains on bothsides, and my role at Lyn Benton is is my title. Suggest I oversee theacademic areas as well as a student as the student service areas through ourguted pathways, where Peopl we actually combined both academic and studentservices, its actually part of the role of guiding pathway. So this is,although I've been in this world for about seven years, I've had bothacademic and student services for the last two years awesome and to kick usoff before we dig into that guided pathway strategy. Can you just remindus and help us understand the broader problem that many community collegesspecifically are up against in...

...successfully retaining and graduatingtheir students? Absolutely for all the right reasons.Community colleges are open access institutions, and so you can imaginethat without it admission criteria we have we have students that come t everylevel of preparedness, some areadto role and others. You know not quite somuch and because of that you know some students have a long way to go beforethey reach their goal and oftentimes life gets in their way: Families Jobs.You know they're juggling so much and oftentimes they'll start and and notcomplete. So definitely a different type of challenge that communitycolleges have, you know, can coms compared to universities. Many of ourstudents are also commuted colleges, trtheire, one efent. You know away fromneither homelessless or not having transportation or having food andsecurities and so hen. Those things happen. It's they need to stop out.They need to stop going to college and and often our students also kind ofcome for a few terms, and then they leave for a few terms, and when youdon't have that momentum, it's often easy than stop returning and so becauseof that community collegeis nationwide for many many many years have hadreally very low complation rigts. When we started libet and we started theGude in pathway's work. We were looking at it's an embarrassing number butwe're quite transparent. We're looking at eleven eleven percent of ourstudents completed their goal in three years, and it didn't get any better atfour years or much better. We were at thirteen percent, and so we knew likemany other colleges have worked kind of moved into the guide of pathways work.Then we needed to do something about it, that it wasn't. Okay, students werehiling up a lot of debt, a lot of credits and not not getting their goal.So that's what how lb decided we needed to do something with our retentionandcompletion rates, superhelpul context...

...and and to help solve for this problemwithin the beauty of open access? Can you give us a high level overview onboth the concept and strategy of guided pathways? Sure no Godtin pathways is isbrilliantly as simple and it's complicated as those two words guidedpathways. So you know part of the guy to pathways work on K, ow. The firstword is a guide and, and that is about helping a student, find a person or athing or a team that helpd them along their path to completion. O me back upa little bit. You know the concept of guided pathways really is creating aculture change at our institutions D and that when I mean that culturechange I mean you know, You'e probably heard the term our students collegeready, while with Guidod pathways work. You know we look at it our colleges,student ready. So it's getting that mindset in we have to meet the stidents.You know where they are. So one of one of those aspects is again that guy thatadviser, that we call them here at my college, navigators that help a studentmake decisions when it comes to from everything from entering a program. Youknow their career decisions as well as what they should take along thatprogram and getting them ready to complete that program and then theother aspect of goded pathways in a high level. Is that pathway, completing you know, helping a studentlearn what courses they need to take and when they need to take when theyneed to take them? So they're not going off the path or if they do go off thepath we call it. You know if they think they begin to meand or th demand Er onpurpose, not accidentally taking a course or a series of courses thatwon't meet whatever it is thertheir...

...degree or their certificate goal is,and so we at my college call them program maps and we have program Matfor all of our eigty two certificate in degree programs. So a student can pullup that Maph to the program they're interested in, and it tells themexactly what they need to take every term and when it comes to electives, wehave a drop down menu that shows different choices, highly curaten, somaybe just three or some choices and that they could take if they're notinteresteding in the one that pops on the map and our maps also acknowledgethat some students, many community college students, come into adevelopmental education level. So it also helps them see if they, if they do,have a lower math and writing score trtheir map recalculates, so forguidedpathways. It has a Completel, clear, math for a student from point, a topoint Z, as well as a go to group team person that guides them when theyeither have academic events or life evens as well. We're also learningwitgit of pathways that that relate that rapperon student services,supporting a student in all aspects of their life is really going to help them. You meet their goal, so that's kind ofth, the high love of guided pathways, a guide in a path and an help usunderstand how and who in your institution, came together and wasinvalved in developing the creation, the mapping, the support of theseguided pathways wel. We were fortunate enough to be one of thirty collegesselected in the in the United States, through a Billa Melinda Gates,foundation grant to kind of launch into this into this work, and so we hadtwenty nine other peer institutions that kind of supported US along the waythat was wonderful and so at my college, and my role in this was to kind of bethe team lead the facilitator for LVCC...

...and and again I'll w just kind of share.All of our dirty laundery or our mistakes, cu o. We really kind of- Idon't know how to call it just kind of mandered and talked and brainstorm fort a good first year or two before we really landed on what we thought guidedpathways would be at my college, Lin Benton and you know it's not a one sizefit Sol. It's not a thing: it's not an initiative, it's not something! YouStart and then you end, I ' beiuess. I mentioned Awell back. It's that culturechange ind, so for us it ill be. You know the first piece of our work waswas creating that Ergency for the college and getting everybody tocollege understanding that we need to do something with our with our poorcompletion and w our etention an completion rates and and we needed tokind of, have all hands on deck. So we created, I what we called a court teamand it was about twenty individuals made up of faculty, classified anmanagers and on and off student representatives that were pasted withGosh. We met for a while weekly and then it was every other week and it waskind of tessed with being the champions of this work and figuring out what thiswork actually should be, and from that cord team we had different work groups,so the coure team was kind of our kind of our governance, which is a reallystrong word. I can't figure out a better word right now: kind ofgovernance ir go to group proval group when it came to our go, O pathwaystwork, and then we had sub groups which we found very effective. So we had agroup working on program mapping. What should our program maps be, which theylook like how Shoul we have our our departments. You know populatethose maps. We had a small group to working on advicing redesign. You knowwe started that by doing an audit of our system of our admission system andour vising system D, and you know where, where were the students getting stuck,and we did a complete review on our...

...revising advising kind of with thatGroud we had a. We called an early alert subgroup andthat again was a group that worked on how we could find students who were struggling academically and how couldwe get to them sooner and that group actually created our first resort,which is our our students are over one place or one stop shot for students togo with with any sort of issues. We had a scheduling subgroup. We knew thatfrom our program amaps we wanted to populate our schedule. We wanted tocreate a schedule that actually had the courses the students needed when theyneed it. So we went off our programats to make sure that we, what we didn'twant to do is continue to create a schedule where student had to get up atfive am, and they had thirty seconds to Raster for chemistry FORTSA. You knowbefore it before it fills we needed to stop that. We had a group doing that.We had an admission registration group who really streamlined our missionsprocess. We wanted a student to come to US feeling welcome from the firstmoment they thought LBCC was their college of choice all the way to theend, and then we had a group working on the corack model. You know the otherthing we we know in community Collegeis is that students Languagh anddevelopmental ad courses that often times especially in math they give upbefore they ever even get to college level, so really working on trying toimbed more support in our maths and writing courses. So a student doesn'thave to take so much developmental Ed. Our goal is to eliminate it al together,as well as bringing embedded tutoring into some of those courses. So reallystudents have support. You know along the way, so those are some of our mainsubgroups and you know and an we had add hawk. You know, as the kind of wecontinued to work and then as we were,...

...what I feel and why I feel that I'll beis arrived and that's kind of I don't know how better to say it, but then wewe've really we've kind of embraced at e pathways, and it's just and we havereached that culture change is because we don't have thes standing groupsanymore. It's just embedded into our regular everyday work. So we don't havethese special guided pathways subcommittees that are doing this work.We have committees now standing committees that you know are working onthese aspects as well as others which to me just it's just now part of ourdaily work and that's exciting, and I think you mentioned in yourintroduction that this is this. Work is long term, his isN'TA quick fix and wefound in the first five years of this work that were wemen in for about sevenyears now, the first five years of this work. We didn't see our numbers change,we didn't see much retention, difference or just a little, but not isour institutionl research office was say not enough to be meaningful. Wedidn't see a higher completion rate and that was that was hard hard to take, aswe were all working very hard on this, but in the last two years I'm excitedto say that we have seen a difference. We have seen our FAUL to followetensionimprove. We have seen a completion improve, so it's it's people reallyhave to stay the course we ere told when we started this. It's a ten plusyear commitment and I thought wow. That is a long time, but it's true. Itreally is true. You just have to keep staying on his path and you knowfinally, you'll see some beneficor students wewill see the benefits whichis really exciting yeah, and so I really really appreciate you diggingdeep into the weeds there and helping us understand that this guided pathwaystrategy requires a pretty large lift to be done right in order to make iteffective for us and I'm sure many listeners right now, maybe throwing uptheir hands and claiming funding...

...limitations, resource limitations, timelimitations- and I can't do that- is there an Roi Story to help mabeconvince these sceptics that yes, this is worth doing. Oh absolutely, I meanthe wonderful thing about community college s whell. I think all alleducation. You know we're not a special snowflake, but you know it's aboutstudents, it's ITHAT's! Why we're here, and so I think, working on completionrates on tension rates, helping students gain their goals with lessdebt. Less credits is the work that we all have to do it. It's you just can'tturn away from that to us. That's Theo Rli, you know so we've been, you know,moving our percentageis up about about five percent, but we're- certainly youknow far from from where we, where we want to be. We just decided that thiswas our work and we weren't going to let this ECS. I sound so polyanalike, Iknow, but that we were not gongto. Let funding limitations, stop this work andwe didn't the grant that we started with didn't fund our internal work andonly funded our travel to six intertertainment in three years.The word we had to do at our own college- It was you know, was on ourown budget and we just decided that we were going to reallocate time andresources, sometimes money, but you know to support this work, which meansyou know it meant that you know we had to decide. You know what we were goingto stop doing. TELLSA meant that student are that Aur staff facultysdeath, we know, is working harder ore, also working smarter. We stopped doingcrazy admission things that were getting in the students way to help usstreamline. So this was a lot of work, but in my college, as I imagine in mostcolleges were all very passionate about helping students and so for us this wasyou just couldn'twjus couldn't turn away from it, and now it's just easier:it's Orr. It's we. We have wonderful...

...maps. We have a good, solid, advisingteam approach. We have scheduling that works so much better than than I did inthe past. We hire differently now when we hire especially th with faculty. Wewant to make sure that when we hire that we have faculty that that don'tjust think it's about teaching their discipline, but it's about supporting astudent along their entire journey, which is different. It was a change forus and ban important changes and such great stuff. Any final next steps,advice for institutions listening and now excited ramped up, they're lookingto either creates or enhance their existing guided pathways. Where do yourecommend they start first yeah great question, and so again is I mentionedbefore, starting by creating that urgency. You know at the colleges lookat your data and- and you will probably find you know- that your studentsaren't completing as much as you know. You think that they would o. So that iskey advice and how you get everyone on board, because you want everyone atyour college to be a champion of this, so crate the urgency and to make surethat you're really transparent with your data, because again, that's goingto help create the urgency- and I think another takeaway for us, and that weactually could accidentally did a smart thing. We've got a great institutionalresearch team who are afraid of nothing so anytime. We we started a differentintervention. We made sure that we had an evaluation plan, so we didn'tcontinue to do something that didn't work. We made sure that we were lookingat if Thatan evaluation plan. You know every so many months years, dependingon you know what it was and that helped us figure out the biggest impacts,because it can. You can't do everything we understand. You know there's just somany hours of a day, so it's a small...

...chunks but to make sure you know thatyou're looking at what you're doing and then having the strength to stop doing.If it's not making an impact, you know but giving it enough times for sure,and then I gosh- and I can't say this enough- have fun celebrate the littlethings we would just have crazy. You know in the world when we could bettogether. You know we would just have silly silly parties, silly celebrations.You know one little percentage, point of something or one piece of softwarethat workd or you know one great student story. You know we would justyou know just celebrate, because every one of those successes impacts thestudent and you know- and it's all about the students you know meetingtheir goal. So again we also had fun chocolate help aand. Thank you. So much of your timetoday, what's the best place for listeners to connect with you if theyhave any follow up questions, sure so, Gelyn Benton community college, Thats,L in N Dsh be n ton community college in Albany. I'm out there on the websiteN, so you can click on me and thet. We'll get my email as well as my emailis, is Buch Ela at Lyn, Benton donedu there as well so and I'm happy happyhappin to help in any way. I'm also on the the Pat, the Gudde pathwayscoaching website, because I Hav a Guy Who hath waistcoach for other colleges,so you can find me there under Ann Buckley, bchge Le and my college hasdone quite a bit of of reaching out to other colleges who are starting thiswork and we've got a great team and we're very willing to do any sort ofphone call or if, when we can travel again, you know some travel as well,because we we do feel like we've made good stridesand when we like to share those successes and help in any way with ourwith our par institutions. You heard...

...her folk she's opening up the door foryou, learn off their curve and thanks againt, so much for joining us today.Your MOUs welcome attracting today's new post. Traditional learners meansadopting new enrolmant strategies. helics educations data drivenenterprise, wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges anduniversities thrive in this new education landscape and he lox has justpublished the second edition of their enrolmint growth playbook, with fiftypercent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's mostpressing and romant growth challenges download it today for free at Helocks,Educationcom playbook you've been listening to enromantgrowth university from helicks education to ensure that you never missan episode subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player.Thank you so much for listening until next time.

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