Ten Tenets for Successful College Integration Pathways
Leadership and Culture: Successful college integration of AEL programs and students requires supportive leadership who are involved in change management on behalf of the AEL programs. High-level leadership may include the President, VPAA, Provost, Chancellor, Deans, Department Chairs, and Coordinators.
Structural Change: AEL programs that effectively serve the adult education population must be actively involved in the development of activities, practices, and methodologies that build IET programs and expand HSE and ESL programs.
Curriculum: Curriculum for AEL programs (HSE, ESL, and IET) must include contextualized learning materials, alignment with the Texas Content Standards, and alignment with credential and degree programs that support labor market demand occupations.
Instruction: Instructional practices must be aimed at increasing student engagement, such as those based on Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading (i.e., WICOR strategies).
Faculty Engagement: To maximize student success, faculty need to become more fully engaged in motivating students towards success – not just what happens in the classroom, but assisting with the broader picture, including efforts for recruitment, retention, career pathways advising, etc.
Professional Learning: Ongoing professional learning activities are essential to help faculty, career navigators, and other staff become equipped and remain qualified to provide the services students need for success.
Student Services: In order to survive and thrive on a college campus, adult education students need access to the same services that provide support to academic credit students. Beyond the basics, such as student ID tags and access to the college web site and library, AEL students need access to effective career navigators who can introduce them to the college advising system.
Data Integration: In today’s educational institutions, well developed digital skills are essential. Not only are students, faculty, and staff able to effectively utilize digital resources, but do data management staff have the skills to develop and utilize digital resources to collect and manage data, analyze data, and implement processes and procedures based on data trends? Examples of digital capacity include gathering TEAMS reports, Excel spreadsheets, pivot tables, online assessment instruments, and online program enrollment forms. But also, are the AEL student data integrated with the college student data to allow tracking student success from AEL to college enrollment and completion, to successful employment after graduation.
Workforce Board Development: To ensure the goals of a career pathways approach that results in employment in high demand occupations that offer a living wage, AEL programs must focus on collaborative efforts between the educational institutions and the local workforce entities.
Financial Effectiveness: To effectively recruit, enroll, retain, complete, and move students into academic credit courses, AEL programs must learn to manage funds from multiple sources that will enable students to complete their education and training at little or no cost to themselves. This requires braided funding from Texas Workforce Commission grants (e.g,. AEL and Accelerate Texas), Ability to Benefit grants, WIOA, FASFA, and other funding sources.