Designing Multiple Pathways to Learning

One of the key trends impacting colleges and universities today is the need for multiple pathways to participation in an institution.

At the City University of Seattle, faculty and administrators tackled this issue head on. At AAC&U’s conference on general education, Elizabeth Fountain, David Griffin, and Melissa Mecham described their university’s approach to a multiple pathways model.

At the university, the large number of professional courses are taught by adjuncts, leaving the general education as the foundational cohesive curriculum offered by the school. Recognizing this issue, the university focused on general education as a distinctive experience.

The program was based heavily upon the excellent work of others: (1) Knowledge Management Research, (2) the Lumina Foundation’s Degree Qualifications Profile, and (3) AAC&U’s VALUE Project Rubrics for General Education.

Creating multiple pathways to learning suggests practices for general education in relation to the person and type of student:

For new students (adult and traditional): college readiness and completion of lower level general education.
For transfer students: student readiness and integration into general education based on university-wide outcomes.

Multiple points of entry allow students entering at all levels to integrate into the mission of the institution. Transfer and adult students should not be able to “opt-out” of the general education or the signature experiences of the university simply because of their point of entry.

The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) annual conference on General Education and Assessment was held at the New Orleans Marriott in New Orleans, Louisiana, February 23-25, 2012. I attended on behalf of Queens University of Charlotte with four faculty colleagues. Read all the articles on this conference here.

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