On April 28, Verlin and Howard Kruse ’52 Founders Professor in the Department of Public Service and Administration, Dr. Kalena Cortes (The Bush School of Government and Public Service), and co-authors had their paper published in the academic journal, Science. Dr. Cortes worked with authors René F. Kizilcec from Cornell University; Rachel B. Baker from the University of Pennsylvania; Elizabeth Bruch from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor; Laura T. Hamilton from the University of California at Merced; David Nathan Lang from Western Governors University; Zachary A. Pardos from the University of California at Berkeley; Marissa E. Thompson from Columbia University; and Mitchell Steven from Stanford University.
Their paper titled “From Pipelines to Pathways in the Study of Academic Progress,” proposes a new conceptual model for studying academic progress in higher education. “We propose replacing the canonical academic “pipelines” metaphor commonly used in higher education with academic ‘pathways,’” Dr. Cortes explains. The term “pathways” helps to better describe the different tracks students can go down while still being represented within “institutional structures.” As expanded on in the paper, within the current state of academia there are conceptual issues that must be overcome. In this new conceptual model, students have more autonomy in the academic decisions they are making while still being recognized in their chosen fields.
“For instance, it suggests both a clear structured and sequenced curriculum for college students—this might work for some fields, such as STEM, but not all. In fact, students in the U.S. are encouraged to explore different courses as first-year students. Also, academic pipelines suggest college students have no agency in their own academic journey—we know that’s not true either.” explains Dr. Cortes.
Dr. Cortes is most excited about how the conceptual model proposed utilizes recent technology, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, which was not possible in previous theoretical models. Read the full article here.