Guided Pathways Create Student Success

Higher Education

BY CAROL PROBSTFELD SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY DEC 22, 2018

Winter commencement at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota begins a significant transition in the lives of our graduates. As 310 of our 1,175 graduates walked across the stage of the Bradenton Area Convention Center Dec. 13, they began the next phase of their lives.

Some will enter the workforce in a professional field, but most come to SCF to begin their educational journey—they will earn their Associate in Arts degree at SCF and transfer to one of Florida’s state universities or another institution in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. At the college, our mission is to prepare them to be successful in that next step.

Our A.A. transfer students are with us for their first two years. We teach them to be college students and lay the foundation that will lead them to success at the next level. We take pride in our ability to prepare students for their second two years and take our role very seriously. Florida’s state colleges provide more than half the juniors and seniors at state university system schools. SCF graduates record a higher grade-point average at our state universities than many of the students who began as freshmen there.

Florida’s 2+2 articulation system has a lot to do with this. Our A.A. graduates are guaranteed entry to a state university with two years of credits. Adding guided pathways to this equation makes student success even more likely. SCF has agreements with several state universities to provide a guided pathway for a student to earn a bachelor’s degree in their chosen field of study that encompasses their time at both institutions. This creates a seamless transition from college to university with guaranteed admissions and without excess credits. It is logical, timely and economical for our students.

Research from the Community College Research Center shows that guided pathways improve student retention and shorten the time to degree completion. These pathways give students a course by course roadmap to reach their goal. At SCF, these pathways are used by students in our workforce degree programs and those on the A.A. completion and transfer path. Partnering with their transfer university from the start of their higher education increases the likelihood of earning a bachelor’s degree.

SCF has an institutional commitment to providing the right opportunity for every student to study what they want where they want. The college joined the FUSE program with the University of South Florida and the University of Florida’s Gator Engineering at SCF last year. This year, we have entered into agreements with the Florida A&M University Ignite program and New College. Through each of these agreements, students who meet the prerequisites can gain acceptance to both institutions, receive clearly outlined curriculum requirements and receive support and services from both SCF and the university. In some cases, students can gain access to on-campus university events while still attending SCF.

We plan to establish a University Partnership Center to allow representatives from our university partners to provide advising services and transfer information to our students and are discussing partnerships with more Florida four-year institutions. Guided pathways with our university partners remove the mystery and uncertainty from a student’s pursuit of higher education. We want to give students as many face-to-face opportunities to get their questions answered as possible.

Students come to SCF to complete the first two years of their college education in an affordable, impactful manner. The pride we take in seeing them accomplish their goals does not end with graduation from our institution. They may walk away from SCF after crossing the stage, but we know that their time with us has prepared them for the next step in their educational journey.

Dr. Carol Probstfeld is president of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota.

Screencap: SCF President Carol Probstfeld congratulates graduates after they receive degrees.

« View The Saturday Dec 22, 2018 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Other Articles in Higher Education

May 18, 2019Tom Barwin

The Two-Plate Debate

May 18, 2019Christine Robinson

Tackling Barriers to Affordable Housing

May 18, 2019Mark Pritchett

Mrs. Iversen and the Power of Endowment

May 11, 2019Donal O'Shea

Talking About Race