CSUMB and Regional Community Colleges form Pathways Partnership to Improve Student Outcomes

September 26, 2018

SEASIDE, Calif., September 26, 2018 – California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB), Cabrillo College, Hartnell College and Monterey Peninsula College have formed the Monterey Bay College Pathways Partnership (MBCPP), a partnership aimed at improving time to degree and degree completion rates for inter-institutional transfer students in the Monterey Bay region.

Using the Guided Pathways model, a proven model for improving student outcomes within individual higher education institutions, the MBCPP seeks to extend the concept to inter-institutional transfer students by creating a series of 2+2 programs (two years of community college coursework plus two years of university based upper division coursework). These four year cooperative programs are designed to facilitate degree completion and to limit students’ amount of non-transferable coursework.

The Pathways model includes the concept of meta-majors, clusters of majors that are aligned with their stated career or academic interests. By a process of gradually increasing degree focus from meta-majors to specific curricular disciplines and majors during their first two years of undergraduate education, students are far less likely to accrue non-transferable course credit.

Intensive academic advising is another aspect of the Pathways model, with the intent of assisting students at not only the inception of their college experience, but on a consistent basis throughout their academic trajectory. Using a combination of digital media based technologies, increased advisor to student ratios, and in some cases, mandatory academic advising for first year students, the Pathways advising model works in concert with the meta-major approach to greatly increase student focus during the first year(s) of undergraduate education.

The MBCPP seeks to take the individual institution Pathways model and extend the academic advising and academic major coursework integration to an inter-institutional model. Having had success with nationally recognized programs such as CSin3 and CS++, three and four-year cohort based computer science programs developed jointly by CSU Monterey Bay and Hartnell College, CSUMB has committed itself to creating a roster of similar degree programs. In disciplines ranging from Hospitality to Marine Science, these programs are intended to greatly accelerate time to degree and increase degree completion for CSUMB transfer students from the Monterey Bay region.

“Regional Stewardship has been a focus of our university during my time at CSUMB,” notes Eduardo M. Ochoa, the university’s president. “The MBCPP is another step in advancing student success in the Monterey Bay region. By working with our partners in the California Community College system, we can streamline the transfer process and allow students to shorten the time to degree. Shortened time to degree is closely associated with increased degree completion, as any student who has faced an extra semester or year of coursework to complete their degree knows well. Through the efforts of all MBCPP partners, we hope to see dramatic improvements in regional higher education outputs within the next decade.”

Increased inter-institutional cooperation is the foundation of the MBCPP, as well as a commitment to increasing the numbers of Monterey Bay region graduates with the skills and credentials for a digital/knowledge based economy. "Strong alliances among higher education institutions in our region is important as we improve pathways that lead to educational attainment for high-demand, high-wage 21st-century jobs,” stated Willard Lewallen, President of Hartnell College. “Improving social mobility is the key to strengthening our families and communities."

Extending this cooperation across CSUMB’s entire service area makes the inclusion of Santa Cruz County’s Cabrillo College a critical piece of the MBCPP equation. "Regional collaboration across our colleges is important for our students and our local economy. I am pleased that we are partnering with CSU Monterey Bay and our peer institutions to ensure that we have seamless pathways for our students to complete bachelor’s degrees that will lead to living wage jobs," said Matt Wetstein, Cabrillo College president.

In the case of Monterey Peninsula College, having an academic center immediately adjacent to the CSUMB main campus makes the MBCPP a promising program. “We serve students best when we collaborate and leverage our talents and resources on a regional scale, explained Walt Tribley, MPC’s president. ”The synergistic partnership we have will improve outcomes for students beyond what we could achieve as individual institutions.”

The number of students transferring to CSUMB from the three California Community College members of the MBCPP has increased more than 50% in the last five years, a trend that all MBCPP partners expect to continue. “The Pathways model is a formula for regional progress and improved academic outcomes for our transfer students from the Monterey Bay region,” stated President Ochoa, “and we believe that partnerships like the MBCPP are needed to provide next-generation opportunities for our graduates, and a next-generation workforce to fuel the Monterey Bay economy of the 21st century.”