Pathway USA Gets Boost from Gates Foundation

Posted on June 5, 2017
Bob Lowry

Dr. Nicole Carr, right, associate vice president for Student Academic Success, teamed with Dr. Kathy Thompson and Dr. André Green of the College of Education and Professional Studies to secure a grant that further supports South's Pathway USA program. data-lightbox='featured'
Dr. Nicole Carr, right, associate vice president for Student Academic Success, teamed with Dr. Kathy Thompson and Dr. André Green of the College of Education and Professional Studies to secure a grant that further supports South's Pathway USA program.

The University of South Alabama’s Pathway USA program, which is streamlining the process for students to transfer to South from area community colleges, has received a boost that will further enhance those efforts.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, through a grant funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have awarded South $50,000 to further support Pathway USA.

“While the grant is supporting our ongoing good work, it also provides us with an important entrée into an exclusive group of colleagues,” Dr. Nicole Carr, associate vice president for Student Academic Success, said. South is among eight institutions receiving the Collaborative Opportunity Grant, and also joins two other groups of institutions that are collaborating to improve student success.

“We share monthly calls with our cohort partners and enjoy access to their learning experiences and resource networks,” Carr said. “As a part of this project, we join a group of national leaders in student success, including Florida International University, Georgia State University, Portland State University, California State University, Northridge and the University of California, Riverside.”

Pathway USA, launched just over a year ago, is a collaborative effort between South and three nearby community colleges — Bishop State, Coastal Alabama and Mississippi Gulf Coast — to improve completion rates at all the institutions.  It was expected that 50 or so students would participate in the first year of the program. Instead, more than 400 are taking part.

The Collaborative Opportunity Grant will better enable Pathway USA to focus on two key areas, said Carr.

  • Improving success by reducing ‘transfer shock’ through providing students with advising from the time they begin their programs at the collaborating institutions, mapping their curriculum across and into South, involving them in activities on campus, and extending the reach to local high schools.
  • Improving success by collaborating with college algebra faculty across the Gulf Coast, including sharing student learning outcomes, course syllabi, and online resources for teaching and learning college algebra.

“We have a wonderful lofty goal of developing ‘one math’ for the Gulf Coast, so all our students share a math background and can move seamlessly across institutions and through their major curriculum,” Carr added.

Acquiring the Collaborative Opportunity Grant required a collaborative effort, Carr said. Dr. Kathy Thompson, interim director of the CISSTEM (Center for Integrative Studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Center in the College of Education and Professional Studies, has worked previously with the Gates Foundation and added insight to the grant-writing process, and Dr. André Green, associate dean of the College, was the grant’s principal investigator and previously directed CISSTEM.

“CISSTEM has the resources to support the collaborations involved in the project. The project includes math, which is a focus for CISSTEM as well,” Carr said. South’s Innovation in Learning Center and the faculty of the department of mathematics and statistics, as well as mathematics faculty at the collaborating institutions, will also be involved in the project.

For questions about admission to Pathway USA, contact USA’s Office of New Student Recruitment at (251) 460-7834 or  For questions about advising, contact Transfer Coordinator Bob Charlebois at (251) 341-4017 or

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