Academic News

A Message from the Executive Vice Chancellor Regarding Pathways Review

September 30, 2016

The following message from Executive Vice Chancellor Vita Rabinowitz was sent to CUNY Chief Academic Officers on September 22, 2016.

The June 2011 Board of Trustees resolution on Pathways stipulated that all of the “Pathways policies and processes, including the Common Core, be reviewed and evaluated each year for three years beginning in 2013, and every three years thereafter, to modify them as necessary to improve them or to meet changing needs.” In May 2015 a faculty review committee was convened by Interim Vice Chancellor Julia Wrigley to review polices and available data after completion of the second full year of Pathways implementation.

At that time, and at subsequent meetings, the committee presented the Central Office of CUNY with a number of questions and requested data on various issues. The data provided in response to these queries is attached as an appendix to this memo.

The review committee analyzed the available data and determined that while they were unable to answer long term questions about the impact of effectiveness of the Pathways initiative, the data points they identified should continue to be monitored and shared. The data did, however, provide an initial view of the impact of Pathways on student transfer, course-taking patterns and performance. The committee’s findings are summarized below:

– It is too early to answer key long term questions about the Pathways Initiative.

– The trends that can be observed suggest continuity in most areas pre- and post-Pathways:

Course taking patterns by discipline have remained fairly consistent since Pathways was implemented; foreign language enrollments did not decline.

Retention rates have remained consistent.

Transfer from two year to four year institutions does seem to have increased.

Among first-time freshmen and transfer students, the average GPA after one year and average credits accumulated after one year remained consistent.

It is too early to draw conclusions about issues regarding graduation rates.

– There is not yet sufficient data to conclude that any of the changes are the result of adoption of the Pathways curricular framework.

– A comprehensive review of Pathways should be conducted after a full graduation cycle- in at least four, if not five years.

The ongoing review of Pathways will continue each year as more data are available. In fact, the third year review is almost complete and is expected to be released this fall. We will make the available data accessible to the CUNY community via the OAA Pathways web site.

Vita C. Rabinowitz
Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost