Tulsa Community College is one of 30 community colleges in the country selected to join a national initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and focused on raising college graduation rates across the country through guided academic and career pathways. The Pathways Project, led by American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), builds better bridges for students from high school graduation to college completion leading to university transfer or credentials that match labor market needs.
TCC was selected from among 48 semi-finalists and through a highly competitive national selection process. This is the first program funded by the Gates Foundation in which TCC has participated and is expected to help lead the next phase of colleges employing Pathway strategies for the future.
“My commitment as President is to get students to and through our college successfully so they can enter the workforce or transfer to a four-year university. This national initiative works toward redesigning community colleges across the country to ensure success and graduation,” said TCC President and CEO Leigh B. Goodson. “Just as TCC led the national discussion on college access when we created Tulsa Achieves in 2007, our participation in the Pathways Project is an opportunity to continue to transform education and to be a model for graduation strategies.”
Higher education has been part of a national discussion surrounding the ability of colleges and universities to support and improve graduation rates with new models.
“Congratulations to TCC for being selected for this national initiative,” said Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin. “Increasing Oklahoma’s college graduation rate and boosting educational attainment is one of the most important things we can do as a state to ensure sustained prosperity. I appreciate the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for its continued generosity.”
Under the Pathways Project, programs, support services, and instructional approaches are redesigned and focused to help students clarify their goals, choose and enter pathways that will achieve those goals, and master knowledge and skills that will enable them to advance in the labor market and successfully pursue further education. TCC’s selection for the Pathways Project comes after the College completed a year-long assessment and development of a 2016-2020 Strategic Plan.
“The Pathways Project’s focus on improving college graduation rates by helping students explore, choose and ultimately achieve their career goals is commendable,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. “This initiative enables students to advance successfully through higher education and into the workforce. TCC’s participation in this project complements the work of both the campus and the state system through Complete College America.”
Partners in the initiative include Achieving the Dream, Inc., the Aspen Institute, the Center for Community College Student Engagement, the Community College Research Center, Jobs for the Future, the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement, and Public Agenda. Partners have participated actively in the college selection process and also are substantively involved in designing a model series of six two-day Pathways institutes, each focusing on key elements in a fully scaled pathway model for community colleges. The project is funded through a $5.2 million grant from the Gates Foundation.
“These very diverse community colleges can feel proud of the strong foundations they have laid for this transformational work,” said AACC president Walter G. Bumphus. “We are pleased with the rigor and integrity that the Pathways partners have ensured in the selection process, and all of the partners look forward to the intensive work ahead.”
The Pathways colleges are in urban, suburban, and rural locations in17 states, with fall headcount enrollments ranging from less than 3000 to almost 60,000 students. The selected institutions are:
Alamo Colleges (TX)
Bakersfield College (CA)
Broward College (FL)
Cleveland State Community College (TN)
Columbus State Community College (OH)
Community College of Philadelphia (PA)
Cuyahoga Community College (OH)
El Paso Community College (TX)
Front Range Community College (CO)
Indian River State College (FL)
Irvine Valley College (CA)
Jackson College (MI)
Lansing Community College (MI)
Linn-Benton Community College (OR)
Monroe Community College (NY)
Mt. San Antonio College (CA)
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (WI)
Paris Junior College (TX)
Pierce College District (WA)
Prince George’s Community College (MD)
St. Petersburg College (FL)
San Jacinto College (TX)
Skagit Valley College (WA)
Stanly Community College (NC)
South Seattle Community College (WA)
Tallahassee Community College (FL)
Tulsa Community College (OK)
Wallace State College (AL)
Western Wyoming Community College (WY)
Zane State College (OH)