Submitted by Clover Park Technical College
Clover Park Technical College has been selected to receive $500,000 in grant funding from College Spark to assist its transition to the Guided Pathways education approach. The grant will be matched with a $500,000 allocation from the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, bringing the total value to $1,000,000.
The grant will give CPTC $100,000 per year over the next five years from College Spark – with a matching SBCTC allocation each year – to support the comprehensive implementation of Guided Pathways, as CPTC joins Lower Columbia College, Renton Technical College, Spokane Falls Community College and Tacoma Community College in the second cohort of College Spark grant recipients. The announcement follows a lengthy application process, with Clover Park’s application available to view here.
“Through the discussion and planning that has occurred at Clover Park over the past two years, our college community has demonstrated the commitment and drive necessary to implement Guided Pathways principles,” CPTC President Dr. Joyce Loveday said. “We understand large-scale reform, have demonstrated our willingness to make things mandatory, and are ready to take our institution to the next level by fully implementing every aspect of Guided Pathways.”
Founded as a student loan guarantor in 1978, College Spark converted to a grantmaking foundation in 2004. Since that time, the organization has committed more than $50 million to college readiness and degree completion programs throughout Washington State, according to its website. The Guided Pathways Initiative will invest more than $7 million over eight years to a total of 10 Washington community and technical colleges and the SBCTC to make system-level changes to provide students more clarity in navigating the path to a desired degree.
“Hand-in-hand with College Spark and the SBCTC, Clover Park is ready to make bold changes in the way we deliver education to help our students succeed,” CPTC Vice President for Strategic Development and Guided Pathways Lead Tawny Dotson said.
Guided Pathways is a research-based approach to higher education that simplifies choices for students. While the traditional community college structure features an array of disconnected courses, the Guided Pathways model groups courses together to form clear paths through college and into careers. This helps streamline the process for students to select and pursue a degree with a clear and efficient path to completion.
The process of implementing Guided Pathways includes four design principles. Colleges must clarify the paths, mapping out each program journey and establishing detailed information on employment and transfer opportunities at the end of each program. The second principle is to help students choose a path, with support systems in place from the moment of entry to help them identify the best path for them. The third principle is helping students stay on the path through intensive advising and intervention when students stumble along the way. Finally, colleges must align program learning outcomes with requirements for success in further education and employment in the field to ensure students are learning.
“I’m extremely excited that College Spark recognized our enthusiasm and planning for this project,” CPTC Guided Pathways Core Team chair Dean Kelly said. “Guided Pathways will help us improve our processes and systems and lead to better student retention and completion.”
CPTC’s Guided Pathways Core Team includes 18 administrators, staff and faculty members from across campus. The team grouped the college’s 44 programs into seven schools: Aerospace and Aviation; Automotive and Trades; Nursing; Business and Personal Services; Science, Technology, Engineering and Design; Advanced Manufacturing; and Health and Human Development. They also established a four-year implementation plan for the college, which can be viewed here. A Guided Pathways at CPTC page featuring more resources is available at www.cptc.edu/pathways.