Flexible Pathways

Flexible Pathways

This task force will work on enhancing pathways into St. Thomas, pathways through the curriculum, and pathways from St. Thomas to the broader community.

The task force will begin its work during Spring Semester 2015, and members should anticipate a two-year commitment.

The initial charge to the Flexible Pathways Task Force is as follows:

I.  Pathways into St. Thomas

Develop proposals to improve flexibility of pathways into St. Thomas from high school and from community colleges and other postsecondary institutions, considering in particular issues related to transfer requirements and the UST core curriculum, and issues related to improving access to the UST undergraduate program for underserved students through partnerships with community colleges and other means. We will work in coordination with the Educating for the Future task force where appropriate. 

II. Pathways through the Curriculum

Develop proposals to improve flexibility of pathways through UST degree programs, considering the increase where appropriate of the use of online and hybrid courses, considering enhanced integration between internship or externship programs and the undergraduate curriculum, and enhancing where appropriate opportunities to complete degree programs through the option of more intensive schedules incorporating January and summer terms.

III. Pathways to the Broader Community

Develop proposals to improve flexibility of pathways from UST degree programs to participation in the community and employment, considering in particular the enhanced use of service learning and community engagement courses and the expansion of internship opportunities as a component of degree programs; examine opportunities to increase collaboration between academic counseling, the career center, and other academic support services, seeking to enhance the functions of pathway guides who can assist students as they progress through UST toward the fulfillment of their goals following graduation.

We anticipate the formation of 5 specialized subgroups focusing on the following areas to pursue the 3 charges identified above:

  1. Flexible pathways into St. Thomas for transfer and first-year students;
  2. Enhanced use of online courses and programs;
  3. Internships, service-learning, and community engagement;
  4. Options for compressed or more intensive degree program schedules;
  5. Examination of ways to enhance collaboration between academic counseling, the career center, and other academic services that offer support and guidance for students traveling the various academic pathways. 

Fall 2015:

  • The Two-Year College Subgroup intends to work with the president and provost for possible presentation of a recommendation to the board of trustees if the president decides to pursue this path and will work with the co-chairs of the strategic plan for possible presentation of those components of the two-year college proposal that would require approval from faculty for changes to the faculty handbook. We will also engage in more detailed planning of a curriculum plan for the two-year college if it is determined that the project should advance to the next stage of development.
  • The online courses subgroup plans to have its proposals approved during the fall by the Flexible Pathways Task Force and then for the proposals to advance to the next stage of development as appropriate depending upon the particular nature of each component of the proposals.
  • The academic services subgroup plans to generate criteria for evaluating models that include benefits, feasibility, and value added to creating support for the mission of the flexible pathways task force; evaluate and propose models for coordination and collaboration among services at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including Career Development, Academic Counseling and Support, Tutoring services, Math Resource Center, Writing Center, and Disability resources. In the area of Applied Learning, the next goals are to explore the possibility of integrating a systematic for-credit opportunity for applied learning, consult with GALE and the Catholic Inspired Community Engagement task force to explore new programs and practices to create pathways into post-graduation opportunities.
  • In addition to the work initiated by the 3 subgroups during the summer of 2015, the Flexible Pathways Task Force will begin planning for new proposals to establish a higher-degree of flexibility for transfer credit meeting core and major field requirements at UST and will begin exploring new plans for a higher degree of coordination with local community colleges.

Spring 2016:

  • For Spring 2016, the Two-Year College subgroup will continue planing for curriculum, staffing, and facilities and will initiate steps necessary for the accreditation process.
  • The Online Courses subgroup will prepare approved proposals for implementation.
  • The academic services subgroup will consolidate its evaluation of models and propose a model for the improved integration of academic services and will prepare a proposal for the development of Applied Learning opportunities.
  • Proposals for improving flexibility for transfer courses to meet core and major field requirements will be presented to the appropriate governing bodies on campus and proposals for new levels of cooperation with community college will be prepared for consideration by the appropriate governing bodies on campus.

Carol Bruess,  Co-Chair
Professor of Communication and Journalism, Director of Family Studies Program
email: CJBRUESS@stthomas.edu

Kendra Garrett, Co-Chair & Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC) liaison
Professor of Social Work
email: KJGARRETT@stthomas.edu

Susan M. Anderson
Director of Academic Counseling

Linda Baughman
Dean of Students

Susan Callaway
Associate Professor of English

Joseph V. Herrera
Associate Director of Admissions

Kathy Jenson
Adjunct Faculty, Marketing

Ann Johnson
Director of Faculty Development

Vernon H. Klobassa
Director of Communication and Training for Student Affairs

John W. Martens
Associate Professor of Theology

Buffy Smith 
Associate Professor and Chair of Sociology

Laroye Lynn Stansberry Brusnahan
Associate Professor of Graduate Special and Gifted Education

Peter J. Weinhold
Director of Client Services

Donald H. Weinkauf
Dean of the School of Engineering


Past Members

Diane Crist
Director of Career Development Center

Rama Hart
Associate Professor of Organization Learning and Development

Ann K. Lockwood
Assistant Professor of Computer and Information Sciences

Jessica E. Toft
Associate Professor of Social Work


Michael C. Jordan
Associate Vice Provost for Undegraduate Studies
Professor of English