DENMARK, SC – This semester, Denmark Technical College launched a brand-new guided pathways program aimed at personalizing the student experience and empowering incoming freshmen to develop educational plans that will help them to meet their career goals. The new system provides the support and guidance students need as they enter college for the first time.
The Panther Pathways program, which revolves around its three tenants, guided pathway, career pathway and perpetual pathway, is in place to welcome students as they first enter the door and carries them all the way through graduation and beyond, ensuring students are engaged in five core areas including educational planning, understanding the resources available to them, personal development, experiential learning opportunities and relationship building.
“Denmark Technical College students were experiencing a similar trend that many community colleges across the country were noticing, where students were not fully engaged in their education which resulted in lower grades, student satisfaction and graduation rates. We took a hard look at how we were serving our students and developed Panther Pathways. The program fully involves the student in their individualized career path, helps them to develop their identity and gives them the tools they need to reach their full potential,” said Leslie Holman-Brooks, director of career planning and student success.
In addition to providing educational structure and support, the program focuses on streamlining the information pipeline at DTC.
“Previously, students were receiving the information they needed to understand their educational path from multiple members of the faculty and staff which proved to be confusing. The new process focuses on a more cohesive line of communication and a unified message from the college. Their pathway and identity for success are being created for them. All they have to do journey to their individual greatness,” said Dr. A Clifton Myles, executive vice president and chief strategy officer for administration and innovation.
The guided pathways program has an added layer that extends beyond their time at Denmark Tech, setting students up for a lifetime of success. The plan provides for perpetual engagement after graduation to support alumni in pursuing additional education, aiding with job placement and preparing them to repay student loans.
“The perpetual pathway is managed through a new assessment system entitled Watermark, where all students will have portfolios that follow their journeys well past their graduation. Assessing one’s journey and documenting the results is what we are teaching our student to do and that is transformational for Denmark Technical College,” added Myles.
The program is still very new, but early indicators point to improved outcomes for students.
“Upon instituting Panther Pathways, we noticed an immediate impact in the way students were engaging with their educational journeys. Before, many students were passive in the educational process. Now they are really taking an interest in the details of their journey and are fully understanding the steps required to get them where they want to go,” said Dr. Willie L. Todd Jr., president and CEO.
“We are excited about the promise Panther Pathways is showing. The in-depth work from our faculty and staff is paying off and will transform the future for Denmark Tech students,” added Todd.
Denmark Technical College is a two-year HBCU in rural Bamberg County, South Carolina. Denmark Tech serves over 500 students with a focus on technical career training, associates degrees and a four-year college transfer program.