The Gateway Project

State
Florida
Academic Level
Baccalaureate
Issue Area
Retention
Key Personnel
Program Focus
Faculty Training

Overview

The Gateway Project at Florida International University (FIU) fosters the transformation of foundational courses (sometimes known as gate-keeper courses) into gateways to success, centered on student learning and the development of complex skills and habits that support persistence through degree completion. To achieve this transformation at scale, the Gateway Project goals include: 1) Reducing the number of courses first-year students fail; 2) Identifying student’s perceptions, experiences and behaviors associated with performance; 3) Supporting the redesign of gateway courses; 4) Promoting evidence based, learning centered, and culturally responsive instruction; and 5) Empowering faculty and varied stakeholders as partners in student success. This transformation means that each year thousands of additional students – most who are Hispanic/Latino - progress toward the degrees and careers of their dreams.

Program Description

FIU faculty support these outcomes by developing learning centered and inclusive course design and pedagogy, while student feedback guides their work. To support faculty, the Gateway Project provides professional development opportunities and course assessment surveys. In 2019-20, 130 faculty participated in The Gateway Project professional development opportunities. Understanding student perspectives and needs are essential to course transformation. This is a foundation of the Gateway Project and key to supporting the success of Hispanic/Latino students.

Some of the program’s continuous improvement activities include:  Gateway Student Perceptions & Behaviors Surveys to illuminate challenges and differences in student experiences and engagement; Inquiry Institutes guide faculty through an analysis of course survey data as well as course outcomes disaggregated by demographic and academic factors; and Gateway workshops to disseminate the findings of student success research throughout the university community.

Outcome

  • Since the inception of the Gateway Project, over 21,000 additional students have passed 21 gateway courses than would have at the 2013-14 passing rates (21 courses with combined > 35,000 enrolled students annually, including Biology, Chemistry, English, History, Psychology, Math, Statistics, Economics). The average passing rate across these courses has increased from 65% to 82%.
  • First-to-second-year retention has increased from 85% (2013-14 cohort) to 91% (2019-20 cohort). For Hispanic/Latino students, retention increased from 87% to 93%.
  • The ripple effects continue as 4-yr. graduation rates increased from 33% to 48% and 6-yr rates from 61% to 66%. For Hispanic/Latino students, 4-yr. graduation rates increased from 34% to 50%, and 6-yr graduation rates increased from 63% to 69%.