Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Documentary Featuring Vol State Debuts Today Online

You may remember that Vol State took part in the filming of an educational documentary last fall. Voices of Pathways is a five-part documentary film series about colleges in the process of implementing guided pathways. Filmed at five community colleges in different regions of the country, the series shows transformational change from the perspectives of faculty and staff members undertaking the day-to-day work as well as the students these efforts aim to serve.

The films are now available online. The Gates Foundation, which funded the project, will use its broad reach to promote the films, including tweeting to its 175K followers, putting information on the home page of its postsecondary website, and including information in several newsletters and other publications.

Synopses of the Five Films

Continuous Improvement: Volunteer State Community College
For the past 20 years, Volunteer State Community College (Gallatin, TN) has implemented many practices proven to advance student success. In 2014, the faculty and staff committed to focusing their efforts around guided pathways and embracing continuous improvement. Today, Vol State students experience many features of pathways, including educational planning, proactive advising, clear first-year requirements, scheduling based on students’ academic plans, and instruction that uses a growth mindset approach.

Are We Student Ready? Milwaukee Area Technical College
Faculty and staff at Milwaukee Area Technical College (Milwaukee, WI) have a strong commitment to social justice and a belief that guided pathways can help create more equitable outcomes for their students. In launching pathways at MATC, faculty and staff are working to help students better navigate college as well as their broader community, which is facing the toughest consequences of deep economic inequality, deindustrialization, and structural racism.

Getting Along with Math: Austin Community College
Austin Community College (Austin, TX) is situated in a thriving art and tech economy. With the right degree or certificate, students can attain well-paying jobs in a dynamic sector. But for many students deemed underprepared by the placement process, developmental math was an uncrossable divide that kept them from attaining their academic and career goals. Using guided pathways, ACC redesigned math learning and transformed its academic model so more students can succeed.

Changing the Data Culture: Linn-Benton Community College
Linn-Benton Community College (Albany, OR) has moved from using data for compliance to using it for improvement. The college’s data team found creative approaches to overcome fears of data and help faculty and staff become more comfortable using it in their day-to-day work. LBCC faculty and staff now embrace data and rely on it to evaluate their guided pathways efforts and make evidence-based decisions. Most important, they consider data a powerful tool for helping more students succeed.

Many Minds Working Together: Prince George’s Community College
As part of its guided pathways work, Prince George’s Community College (Largo, MD) built cross-functional teams that streamlined 217 credit programs down to 82, created clear programs of study, and updated advising. Through ongoing collaboration among faculty and staff members, PGCC mapped all programs of study to jobs in the greater Washington, DC, area. The college also expanded its relationships with employers, including federal contractors that offer jobs with competitive salaries, benefits, and opportunities for advancement.

The five films are available for viewing here.

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