Temple College is one of 12 community colleges in the state that have been selected to participate in a new student success initiative called the Texas Pathways Project.

The initiative is designed to ensure that students attending community colleges either graduate with a credential or transfer to a four-year institution. It is sponsored by the Texas Success Center and is modeled after a national initiative with the same name that is sponsored by the American Association of Community Colleges and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Colleges participating in the Texas Pathways Project will commit to implementing what are known as guided student pathways. This may involve redesigning everything from curriculum and instruction to advising, class scheduling, orientation and registration. Students will be offered additional support and guidance as they navigate their pathways.

Colleges participating in the project will participate in biannual institutes and will be assigned a Texas Pathways Coach. Full implementation of the project is expected to take four to five years.

“Joining the Texas Pathways Project is the right step for Temple College and especially for our students,” said President Dr. Glenda O. Barron. “Providing students with concentrated pathways, coupled with strong support services, will enable them to complete their certificates and degrees, as well as successfully transfer to four-year institutions.”

Barron noted that Temple College already has very clear pathways for students who are interested in health professions. The challenge is to develop similar pathways for students interested in other fields. In May, Barron met with academic and student support services leadership to generate faculty and staff support for the new initiative. Faculty members later voted overwhelmingly to support the project.

The Texas Pathways Project received seed funding from the Greater Texas Foundation, which is based in Bryan. Other colleges chosen to participate in the first round of the project are Amarillo College, Austin Community College, Brazosport College, Dallas County Community College District, Grayson College, Houston Community College System, Lone Star College District, McLennan Community College, Midland College, South Texas College and Southwest Texas Junior College.

To be selected for the project, colleges had to demonstrate that they are committed to substantial redesign of their academic and student service programs and have already laid the groundwork for long-term reform. Applicants also had to document strong partnerships with local school districts and transfer institutions.

Barron said the Texas Pathways Project fits perfectly with several initiatives that are already under way at Temple College, including the New Mathways project, which is designed to make sure students take math courses that best match their intended career choice.

Barron said she hopes Temple College will serve as a model for other community colleges that have yet to participate in the Texas Pathways Project.