Texas Pathways Institute

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Transitioning Learners with a Focus on Early Success

April 10-12, 2024 | Kalahari Resort, Round Rock, TX 

Ensuring College-Level Success in the First Year 

In every community college across our state, the Talent Strong Texas Pathways strategy is being scaled and institutionalized to increase the number of students who reach their end goal of a good career with living wages. Key to our success in this endeavor is integrating new essential practices that enable the transformation at each college so that it becomes “student ready.” This requires the college to focus not only on the academic integration of the learner, but also the social integration of the learner. Moreover, investments in advising and support services are crucial for achieving the college’s student success goals. College leaders must consider how each learner will experience the transition into the institution, obtain early success, and gain momentum toward their goals, at each entry point into the institution. Customized, career-focused onboarding to help students choose and enter a program path should be designed to address existing enrollment gaps in high-wage in-demand talent pathways and promote college-level success in the first year for all student sub-groups. 

Transitioning Learners with a Focus on Early Success builds on the past successes of Texas colleges which have been working to better serve all types of students (e.g., first generation, incumbent workers seeking to reskill/upskill, student parents, dual credit, part-time, etc.) from the multiple entry points of pathway enrollment. This institute highlights the innovation and evidence-based strategies occurring throughout the state to scale accessible and inclusive talent pathways by redesigning the point of entry to include career-focused onboarding with academic and social integration to promote college-level success in the first year. Research indicates that an emphasis on growing student success in Year 1, as measured by the strategy’s eight early momentum metrics, will yield improvement in credential completion and transfer success.  

The Talent Strong Texas Pathways strategy provides support for community college leaders’ efforts in implementing and scaling essential pathways practices for improving the inclusive flow of talented workers to good careers by:  

  1. supporting students reaching their end goal of good careers by scaling clear talent pathways in key programs at every community college; 
  2. actively engaging education and workforce partnerships building employer-led and labor market-responsive short-term credentials aligned within longer-term workforce and transfer program talent pathways to high-demand, high-wage, and valued careers; and 
  3. expanding comprehensive student supports, including basic need supports and a caring college culture that both nurtures students’ sense of belonging and aids all students’ academic achievement. 

College leadership teams participating in this event will consider their role and responsibility for accelerating progress toward these three stated objectives.

Institute Purposes

As a result of actively engaging in Transitioning Learners with a Focus on Early Success college leadership teams will:   

  1. Consider findings and reflections from national experts and successful Texas colleges to inform and accelerate whole-college redesign efforts, focused on the learner’s transition into college. 
  2. Engage with fellow Texas community college leaders in a peer learning network designed to implement essential practices of Pillar 2, associated with helping student choose and enter a pathway. 
  3. Analyze data to gain insights into the student experience in Term 1 and Year 1. 
  4. Develop detailed action plans for scaling the Talent Strong Texas Pathways strategy to promote improved student outcomes. 


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Featured Speakers
Kathleen Plinske
President, Valencia College
Josh Wyner
M.P.A, J.D.
Founder, Executive Director of College Excellence Program, Aspen Institute
Linda Garcia
Executive Director, Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE) at The University of Texas at Austin