California Guided Pathways Project launch

Support from College Futures and Teagle Foundation launch California Guided Pathways Project

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—December 7, 2016—Today, a broad-based group of community college leaders coordinated by the Foundation for California Community Colleges announced the launch of the California Guided Pathways project, a venture designed to substantially increase the number of students who earn a certificate or degree at a California Community College.  Initiated with support from the College Futures Foundation and the Teagle Foundation, California Guided Pathways will help up to 20 California Community Colleges design and implement structured academic and career pathways for all students. 

“The Guided Pathway model provides a structured framework for colleges to lead institutional change and improve student success.” said incoming California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley. “I applaud the colleges and partners who’ve taken an innovative leadership role tailoring a national model to benefit students in California.” 

The California Guided Pathways project is a practitioner-driven effort that allows colleges to weave together current reform initiatives into an integrated, institution-wide approach to student success. The model helps colleges clarify paths to student end goals, helps student select a program and stay on path, and ensure quality learning. By creating structured educational experiences that support each student from point of entry to attainment of high-quality postsecondary credentials and employment in a chosen field, the project will increase the number of students earning community college credentials, while closing equity gaps. 

Our students are often low-income and first in their family to attend college.  By clarifying pathways and providing guidance throughout their education, we can ensure more students complete a degree, transfer to a four-year college, and increase their earning potential,” said Sonya Christian, president of Bakersfield College and chair of the California Guided Pathways Advisory Committee. 

In early 2017, between 15-20 community colleges will be selected to implement the California Guided Pathways Model from a competitive application and interview process. Colleges will participate in six two-day institutes, which will focus on key elements required to implement a fully-scaled pathway model which serves all students at a community college, plus receive support on the change process from expert coaches.  Each college will commit to have implemented guided pathways for all incoming students by 2019.

The California Guided Pathways framework recognizes that faculty are at the core of ensuring student support, instruction, and completion in partnership with colleagues in other areas of our colleges, including financial aid and outreach,” said Julie Bruno, president of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges and member of the California Guided Pathways Advisory Committee. “The Academic Senate is pleased to see such support for the faculty-led efforts in our community colleges to advance student learning and student achievement in an integrated and intentional manner.”

The California Guided Pathways project was inspired by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Pathways Project. Three local colleges selected for the national project—Bakersfield College, Irvine Valley College, and Mt. San Antonio College—helped spark a movement to adapt the model to California’s unique educational context. 

This project sets up a compelling opportunity for California community colleges to build on existing initiatives and appropriately adapt a guided pathways model developed for the national AACC Pathways Project by a group of national partner organizations,” said Kay McClenney, senior advisor to the AACC president and CEO. 

The project is funded by the College Futures Foundation, Teagle Foundation, and college fees. In addition to AACC, the model leverages the expertise of national partners such as the Center for Community College Student Engagement, Community College Research Center, and WestEd.  An advisory committee will help advance the project by engaging representatives from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, California State Universities System Office, technical assistance providers, and advocacy organizations.

“The Foundation is pleased to support a scalable approach to increase student success and completion, made possible through the support of committed philanthropic partners,” said Keetha Mills, president and CEO of the Foundation for California Community Colleges. “Hundreds of thousands of students are poised to benefit from efforts to design and implement clear, structured academic and career pathways for all students.  

Foundation also serves as the hub to promote effective practices that improve college completion rates through the Success Center for California Community Colleges. 

The project will be directed by the California-based National Center for Inquiry & Improvement and an advisory committee which includes representatives from participating colleges, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, Campaign for College Opportunity, the Career Ladders Project, the CSU System Office, the RP Group, and others. In addition to AACC, the Guided Pathways model draws on the experience of national partners such as the Aspen Institute, Achieving the Dream, Center for Community College Student Engagement, Community College Research Center, Jobs for the Future, Public Agenda and WestEd.  

To apply to become a participating college or to learn more about the project, please visit: Applications are due on February 28, 2017. 



The Foundation for California Community Colleges is the official nonprofit foundation to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and Chancellor's Office. The Foundation's mission is to benefit, support, and enhance the missions of the California Community Colleges system, the largest higher education system in the nation. Incorporated in 1998, the Foundation works with community colleges and partner organizations to manage donations, grants, programs, and services that drive excellence in education. Since inception, the Foundation has provided over $250 million in direct grants, support, and cost savings to California Community Colleges. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit corporation and receives no direct state or public support. |

College Futures Foundation operates on the beliefs that a vibrant future for California’s economy and communities requires more bachelor’s degrees, and that every student should have the chance to succeed in college. College Futures works to remove systemic and institutional barriers to college success, enabling students to access the knowledge, financial aid, and other resources they need to earn college degrees and choose their own futures. The foundation aims to chart a new course for student populations who are lowincome and have had historically low college success rates by changing policies, practices, systems, and institutions in ways that better support students. |

The Teagle Foundation works to support and strengthen liberal arts education, which we see as fundamental to meaningful work, effective citizenship, and a fulfilling life. Our aim is to serve as a catalyst for the improvement of teaching and learning in the arts and sciences while addressing issues of financial sustainability and accountability in higher education. For more information |

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