Guided Pathways benefit college students, transforms institutions

Jennifer Fay and Steve Budge TEMPE, Arizona -- Feb. 16, 2018Maricopa County Community College District Foundation (MCCCDF) receives a three-year $325,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation. Grant funds support the development and implementation of a Guided Pathways framework for students, promoting access to and success in the liberal arts. This work represents a collective, institution-wide transformation of Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) practices, policies and structures.

Guided Pathways clearly outlines courses that must be completed to achieve an educational goal; it is an evidence-based, comprehensive educational model designed to provide intellectually coherent learning experiences.

“With Guided Pathways, students can more easily explore their options, identify their educational and career goals and chart a clear, structured program to a successful completion,” stated Maricopa Community Colleges Provost Dr. Karla Fisher.

Mesa Community College faculty Steve Budge and Jennifer Fay are leading the collaborative development of MCCCD Pathway Maps along with faculty from Gateway Community College, Phoenix College and South Mountain Community College. The team is mapping degrees, certificates and university transfer options across the 10 Maricopa Community Colleges.

“We are focused on student success and closing the equity gap,” said Budge. “By implementing Guided Pathways we aim to increase student retention and completion, lower educational costs for students, and help students build the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind needed to be successful at a transfer institution or to enter the workforce.”

Pathway Maps will align with industry needs and college requirements to achieve degree or certificate attainment or university transfer credits in the shortest time, incurring the least expense.

“Students will identify their goals and interests during a redesigned admission process, beginning their educational journey with broadly related areas of study,” explains Fay. This allows for early exploration and provides students with the opportunity to move more easily between certificate and degree programs with minimal loss of applicable credits. Other benefits of this model include the development of natural cohorts of students pursuing a similar goal, and the opportunity it presents for faculty to scale up high-impact practices that are proven to benefit students.”

As part of this effort, the MCCCD Guided Pathway team is reviewing the literature and best practices to determine strategies to help move students through developmental education more efficiently and effectively.

Success of the work funded by the grant will be measured by the expansion of Guided Pathways from the initial four colleges to all 10 Maricopa Community Colleges. The ultimate measures of success will be the length of time and number of credits a student earns in meeting their educational goal; persistence and completion rates; and student performance relative to Pathway Map learning outcomes.

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MCCCD Media Contact: Matt Hasson, (480) 717-0208,
MCC Media Contact: Dawn Zimmer,, 480-461-7892

The Teagle Foundation works to support and strengthen liberal arts education, which we see as fundamental to meaningful work, effective citizenship, and a fulfilling life. Our aim is to serve as a catalyst for the improvement of teaching and learning in the arts and sciences while addressing issues of financial sustainability and accountability in higher education. Learn more at

About Maricopa Community Colleges
The Maricopa County Community College District includes 10 regionally-accredited colleges – Chandler-Gilbert, Estrella Mountain, GateWay, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Rio Salado, Scottsdale, and South Mountain – and the Maricopa Corporate College, serving more than 200,000 students with two-year degrees, certificates, and university transfer programs.

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized for service-learning, career and technical programs, civic engagement and innovative approaches to higher education. The college serves as a resource for career readiness, transfer education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Host to more than 30,000 students annually, MCC offers more than 150 degree and certificate programs at its two campuses and additional locations. MCC is an emerging Hispanic Serving Institution with a diverse student body that enriches the learning experience. Renowned faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to compete locally and nationally. MCC, located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, is one of 10 colleges comprising the Maricopa County Community College District. For additional information visit

Mesa Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA)

Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the college.

The Maricopa Community Colleges do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities. For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator:  (480) 731-8499.  For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system,

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Publication Date: 
Friday, February 16, 2018