New Mexico State University (NMSU) and its community colleges, including DACC, are collaborating on “The Aggie Pathway,” a program designed to effectively support students who begin their academic careers at a community college en route to a bachelor’s degree at NMSU.
The Aggie Pathway is open to all community college students, but prospective students from several groups have been identified as excellent candidates: those who want to attend NMSU but do not meet NMSU’s new admissions requirements, those who are the first in their family to pursue higher education, and those who are interested in a bachelor’s degree but want to start on a community college campus.
The program will include a number of educational practices that have been shown to support student success.
- Students will take classes in learning communities. Research has shown that when students enroll in the same classes, and the subject matter from those classes is integrated, students learn more effectively and earn higher grades.
- Students will have regular contact with peer mentors, advisors, and faculty at both DACC and NMSU. Recent studies have also shown that “intrusive” support such as structured contact between students and college/university employees helps keep students on track to graduate.
- Students will be introduced to student life at NMSU through designed academic, cultural, and athletic events. While students will be DACC students, we ensure that they begin to become familiar with and feel comfortable on the NMSU campus.
- Students will also have the opportunity, at additional cost, to access other services at NMSU including the residence halls, the activity center, and other NMSU resources.
The explicit goal of this program is to help those students who want a baccalaureate degree transition to NMSU prepared to study at and graduate from the university. Aggie Pathway students with a 2.5 GPA or greater after 24 college-level credits will be able to transition to NMSU at that time. Students with a 2.0 to 2.49 GPA will be able to enter NMSU after 36 college-level credits. The NMSU system has also developed a procedure to reward pathway students as they make their way to the bachelor’s degree. Pathway students will be eligible for an associate degree when they pass all of the courses required for the degree, whether they complete the requirements while at DACC or after they transition to NMSU.
Higher education is facing many pressing issues at this time: the cost of higher education, the preparation of students for 21st century employment and civic engagement, the student loan default rate. As the NMSU system responds to these and other issues, the Aggie Pathway is a clearly defined route from the community college to the university.
Start at DACC. Finish at NMSU. We look forward to seeing you here next fall by Dr. Monica Torres DACC Vice President of Academic Affairs.