11:10 AM

UHD Chosen by Prestigious Gardner Institute for G2C Pilot Process

The John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education recently selected the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) as one of 12 national founding institutions for the pilot of the Gardner Institute's Gateways to Completion™ (G2C™) process.

Gateways to Completion is a structured course transformation process that allows faculty and staff at participating institutions to analyze student and institutional performance in lower division gateway courses. The Gardner Institute developed the G2C process with extensive input from the 32-member G2C National Advisory Committee.

UHD, along with the other G2C colleges and universities, will focus its analysis on up to five high-risk gateway courses using evidence collected during the first year of the three-year G2C process. The analysis will inform the creation of evidence-based course transformation plans that that UHD will subsequently implement.

"Gateway courses enroll large numbers of undergraduate students," said Drew Koch, executive vice president of the Gardner Institute. "Research studies, such as Clifford Adelman's Answers in the Toolbox and The Toolbox Revisited, show that students who do not succeed in gateway courses are significantly less likely to complete their stated programs of study and they also are less likely to complete college degrees anywhere."

Koch also noted that failure rates in these courses at institutions across the nation often exceed 40 to 50 percent.

"UHD has made improving student success its top priority and we recognize the crucial role barrier courses play," said Bill Waller, Ph.D., associate dean of University College at UHD. "We have initiated projects devoted to identifying and improving outcomes in these courses, but have never had the opportunity to approach the issue in such a methodical, evidence-based manner. We are excited to be a part of G2C and work with experts at the Gardner Institute. The impact of our participation with G2C and the lessons we learn will ultimately benefit students in many courses beyond those chosen for the project."

UHD joins 11 other G2C founding institutions from across the United States, including American Public University System, Arkansas Tech University, Ashford University, Florida International University, Kennesaw State University, Lansing Community College, Lone Star College - North Harris, Metropolitan State University - Denver, Nevada State College, North Dakota State University and the University of Rhode Island.

"The 12 G2C founding institutions serve as a representative cross section of higher education in the United States," said John Gardner, president of the Gardner Institute. "The cohort's composition shows that this is an issue that spans all of academe. We applaud UHD for its willingness to take action on this issue. This institution is a true leader and innovator in the student success movement."

Faculty at UHD will play a significant role in the G2C work. The plans the faculty generate working with their academic and student affairs colleagues will be supported with G2C predictive analytics and dashboard tools. In addition, UHD will join the other 11 participating institutions at the annual G2C Community of Practice meeting and the annual Gateway Course Experience Conference.

Currently, UHD is conducting an extensive data collection process mandated by G2C prior to choosing the courses it will include in the project, in addition to developing innovative strategies to improve student success in those courses.