The NC SSC recruits guided pathways coaches, trains them to support colleges implementing pathways, and connects them with guided pathways colleges throughout the state. Coaches are practitioners who have experience with both North Carolina community colleges and guided pathways.
Coaches provide direct, customized, multi-year support to colleges implementing pathways. They help colleges address a broad range of issues, such as effectively engaging stakeholders and considering how changes in one part of an institution affect other elements of the system. Most important, coaches help colleges make sure they keep students at the center of their work.
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Under the direction of the NC SSC, guided pathways coaches help colleges create the conditions necessary for transformative change. For example, they guide teams of faculty, staff, and administrators as they:
- Implement guided pathways at scale, assess their efforts, and improve them over time.
- Make sure all efforts focus on two goals: (1) increasing retention and credential completion for all students; and (2) reducing equity and achievement gaps.
- Build capacity, innovation, and leadership at all levels of the institution with a focus on continuous improvement.
- Are mindful of the state and local context in which they do this work.
Coaches make the case for large-scale transformative change, foster a culture of inquiry and accountability, and facilitate communications between colleges and the NC SSC.
Coaches are expected to:
- Attend ongoing coach training.
- Attend guided pathways institutes and participate with the college(s) they are coaching.
- At least twice each semester, speak by phone with the guided pathways team at the college(s) they are coaching.
- Visit the college(s) they are coaching at least once a semester.
- Review the Scale of Adoption Assessment (SOAA) after it is submitted and review responses with the implementation committees at the college(s) they are coaching.
Individuals who have completed coach training and served as a coach also are invited to help with training subsequent cohorts of coaches.
The NC SSC recruits coaches from guided pathways college teams so coaches are familiar with pathways as it was implemented at their colleges. Coaches then participate in at least two day-long professional development sessions that address essential coaching practices, using data, and making the best use of the Scale of Adoption Assessment (SOAA).
Between their previous experience and the training, all coaches must:
- Be knowledgeable about NC student success goals and strategies that drive transformative change.
- Be committed to student success work, particularly equity, diversity and inclusion.
- Have experience as a change agent, team leader and team player.
- Have direct experience implementing guided pathways through work at an institution or as a coach.
- Have excellent listening, communications, and interpersonal skills.
- Have knowledge of efforts in the following areas: developmental education/gateway course redesign; academic program mapping; advising system redesign, especially career advising; teaching and learning innovation; professional development; student support services such as early alerts and interventions; policy development; and institutional effectiveness.
JFF, which manages the Student Success Center Network and Community College Research Initiatives (CCRI) at the University of Washington offer tools and templates that can help colleges and coaches prepare for their work together.
We recommend visiting this page and discussing the tools with your coach so your college team and coach can maximize their time together.