Structured pathways lead to post-secondary credentials

Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” conveys the enchantment of traveling a path unknown and virtually untouched. Forging a new pathway provides a sense of freedom and adventure. Everyone should experience a road not taken at least once in life.

Sometimes, though, there is no need to create a new pathway, especially when a reliable one already exists. Many students pursuing a college degree have tried to forge their own pathway, spending more time on the trail than intended, ending up with credits that do not apply toward a degree, or lacking a credential at the end of the journey.

While higher education should be a time for exploration, when students take paths less traveled, they might venture in the wrong direction, get stuck or reach a dead end. Far too often students become lost or confused in the maze of options in the academic environment. Deciding which classes to take and when to take them can be daunting when trying to map out an associate degree from zero to 60 credits. Add in a work schedule and time with family and friends and the complexities compound.

In academics, following a structured pathway to reach the end goal of completing a post-secondary credential may be the best road to travel for many students.

Beginning with the fall 2016 semester, Ivy Tech-Columbus has structured pathways — guaranteed and consistent course schedules — available for several academic programs. Classes will be held the same days and times for the entire certificate and/or degree program. With a known, structured pathway for credential completion, arranging other commitments becomes much easier for students.

Students can follow a structured pathway to earn the Statewide Transfer General Electives Core (STGEC) certificate in just two semesters. This 30-credit certificate is fully transferable to any public four-year institution in Indiana. And the STGEC certificate is the first-year curriculum of an associate degree in general studies with Ivy Tech. The STGEC certificate structured pathway is available at the Columbus, North Vernon and Seymour educational sites, making it even more convenient for students to complete a post-secondary credential close to home.

Also offered at the North Vernon and Seymour learning sites is a structured pathway for the first two semesters of the business administration degree. The final two semesters of coursework for this Transfer Single Articulation Pathways (TSAP) Business Administration Degree would be completed at the Columbus campus.

The Columbus campus has structured pathways available in other programs, too, giving students many options for certificates and degrees, which can lead directly into careers or transfer to four-year institutions. Those pathways are:

Advanced automation and robotics technology


Criminal justice

Health sciences (such as electrocardiography, medical office, phlebotomy and clinical support)

Ivy Tech advisers can help students map out their credential completion plan through one of its structured pathway curriculums.

A structured pathway can keep students focused and result in on-time credential completion, which saves time and money. Therefore, when encountering a fork in the road, a structured pathway may be the right choice, especially in post-secondary educational degree pursuits.

Dr. Jo Ann Hallawell is dean for the School of Liberal Arts & Sciences and Education (University Transfer Division) at the Ivy Tech Columbus campus.