Paris Junior College Regent Ginna Bowman recently traveled to the tenth annual Board of Trustees Institute to demonstrate to other colleges from around the nation how PJC is leading the way to further student success.
She, along with PJC President Dr. Pam Anglin, presented on a panel sharing what PJC is doing in the American Association of Community College’s Guided Pathways Project. The Greater Texas Foundation pays for trustees from colleges to attend.
“I was very pleased to know that we’re ranked among the leaders in the Pathways Program, which is sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,” said Bowman. “Everyone was very complimentary that PJC is a leader in getting this Pathways project started. Educating our students and seeing that they succeed is very important.”
This year the Trustees Institute focused on the role of college boards in enabling pathways to student success. Bowman and Anglin served on the panel, “How Boards are Creating a Climate for Change.” Also on the panel were Brenda Hellyer, Chancellor, and Dan Mims, Board Chair, of San Jacinto College, which has more than 23,000 students and is located in Pasadena, near Houston.
When selected to participate in the Pathways Project, PJC learned it was one of only 30 colleges nationwide and four in Texas – the other two are El Paso Community College and Alamo Colleges in San Antonio. PJC is the only college further north than El Paso or Houston to be selected, and the only rural college from Texas.
The Pathways project grew from research showing that too many choices produce indecision, procrastination, decision paralysis, and bad choices on the part of students. At its heart, Pathways is meant to provide a simplified set of options, with clear information on costs and benefits to help students make better decisions.
Colleges also help with reminders, assistance and feedback to keep students on track, and more clearly show students how what they learn will lead to success in future employment or further education that are important to the region.
“Dr. Anglin is very respected on her vision for this college and for our early participation in Achieving the Dream,” said Bowman. “I came back really pleased on how PJC is admired nationally for what we do and our innovations on behalf of students. We’ve got a long way to go, but we certainly are leaders in Texas and nationally in getting this project going. People are asking us questions on how to accomplish this goal. It was very encouraging.’
Bowman said she and fellow PJC Regent Louise Taylor also learned a lot from the many national experts at the conference on making this program – and PJC students – more successful.