Academic News

A Message on the Pathways Initiative from the Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost

November 29, 2012

Dear Colleagues,

You may have recently received an e-mail from Drs. Barbara Bowen and Terrence Martell concerning The City University of New York’s Pathways initiative. That e-mail contained a number of statements that could have led you to erroneous conclusions regarding this initiative.

The Pathways initiative provides a general education framework as well as courses leading into the largest transfer majors for all undergraduates at CUNY. This initiative will increase the quality of education for CUNY undergraduates, propelling more of them to advanced studies. Here are some facts about the Pathways initiative:

  • The Pathways courses are all devised, developed, taught, and evaluated by CUNY faculty.
  • The Pathways courses are subject to all of the same mechanisms of faculty review and approval as has been the case for all other courses at CUNY, plus, for Pathways courses, there is an additional review by a 120-person, faculty-only, university-wide committee. Thus the Pathways courses are subject to faculty review to an even greater extent than has been the case for other courses.
  • The Pathways courses must all satisfy specific learning outcomes constructed by faculty.
  • Campuses have much flexibility in how they construct their specific general education curricula within the Pathways framework.
  • Some campuses are taking advantage of that flexibility to require their students to participate in traditional science laboratories and to learn languages other than English. Other campuses have chosen not to require such experiences, as was also the case before Pathways.
  • Campuses also have the option of arranging for their faculty to spend additional time with students in specific Pathways courses. Some campuses have chosen to do this, and others have not, as was also the case before Pathways.
  • All Pathways core courses have required learning outcomes that emphasize the enhancement of communication skills and analytical skills.
  • The total number of credits required for a CUNY degree, and thus the extent of the CUNY undergraduate experience, remains the same post- as pre-Pathways.

For additional information about Pathways, including about this initiative’s unusually extensive consultation with and involvement of faculty, please consult and

We are extremely grateful to the many hundreds of CUNY faculty whose experience, creativity, and scholarship have significantly contributed to all aspects of the Pathways initiative. The entire CUNY community will continue to implement innovations designed to provide and enhance excellent educational opportunities for our students.


Alexandra W. Logue
Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost
The City University of New York