Academic Policy & Practices

Academic Policy & Practices

Promising Practice: Audit registration holds and revise policies

Complex registration processes create barriers and confuse students, often discouraging them from re-enrolling. By conducting an audit of all registration holds, and eliminating or revising those that are unnecessary, obsolete, or burdensome, we will enable students to continue to progress toward a degree.

MATC Strategies:

A cross functional team was developed with College stakeholders and leaders to review all holds and determine what is necessary and how to ensure student success. In the process of reviewing, the Team will also look at best practices on a national level, recommendations from EAB, and MATC student data. The end result will be equity minded student centered processes and procedures that create a clear pathway and opportunity and reduce or eliminate barriers to student success.

Promising Practice: Offer retention grants for in-need students

Many institutions lose students every year due to students' unexpected financial circumstances, often for shortfalls of no more than a few hundred dollars. As a result, it is in a school's best interest to offer retention grants to help students stay in school and on the path to graduation. It is important to develop plans and processes to award financial assistance to address small account balances for qualified students.

MATC Strategies:

The team will develop plans and processes to award grants to address small account balances for qualified students so that small financial setbacks do not prevent students from completing courses and graduating. The team’s plan will include recommending grant amounts and determining administrative processes for students to access grants. The defined processes will include regular student account review, with grants provided strategically and proactively.

Promising Practice: Assess and align math requirements

Traditional math pathways contribute to attrition and student equity concerns. All programs of study should require mathematics skills most appropriate for success in the associated degree pathways. Mathematics aligned to programs will also be embedded in transferable degree maps shared with all participating two- and four-year institutions.

MATC Strategies:

In 2020, the Math faculty developed and began offering a new course, MATH 134: Mathematical Reasoning. This course aligns better with specific program requirements and removes a common barrier to many of our students seeking an associate degree. Since that time, we have increased the number of MATH 134 section offerings to match demand.

Promising Practice: Offer college-level gateway courses

For many underserved students, developmental education can be a barrier that slows down student progress and hinders persistence. Existing developmental education courses should be redesigned so that students deemed underprepared for college-level writing and/or math can enroll in college-level, gateway English and mathematics courses with mandatory co-requisite academic support.

MATC Strategies:

The Mathematics Department has moved away from offering developmental math courses. Students now select between corequisite math courses (College Math and Intermediate Algebra) and non-traditional math courses (Math Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning). Embedded tutors are utilized in the corequisite sections as well as Math Reasoning. We have also created a Virtual Math Lab for students to get drop-in help with high enrollment courses.

The English Department offers two levels of academic support for both our 100- and 200-level gateway courses for underprepared students who place in learner-supported sections. Enhanced sections of these courses offer two hours of additional reading and writing support provided by the same instructor while Co-Requisite sections provide four hours of additional support taught by a different instructor. In addition to these supported sections, all students can receive additional support through both the tutoring and writing centers.

Promising Practice: Create undergraduate academic degree maps

Students who pass all their classes can still end up paying preventable "hidden costs" if they take more courses than expected. Academic maps establish clear pathways to timely completion of courses that count, reducing the time (and money) to graduate. Schools should develop maps for all undergraduate academic degrees with recommended course sequences for on-time completion.

MATC Strategies:

Academic program mapping work is continuous. The initial phase included credit efficiency work to reduce programs to the 60-64 credit range. This phase also aligned the offerings of math and English in the first year of the AAS programs. New courses in English, math, and science were built into the modified programs. This phase was completed for the 2020-21 year. Evaluation of effectiveness of changes will occur as 2020-21 data is finalized and will drive ongoing change.
Academic program maps continue to be modified as program scheduling is developed in 8 week offerings and as the college implements Self Service and Navigate.

Promising Practice: Leverage meta-majors to ease student pathways

Meta-majors group a much larger number of individual programs of study under a broader academic umbrella and offer students a more refined range of clear pathways to graduation and careers. Institutions should develop and implement credit-bearing first-year experience courses designed to provide students broad overviews of specific majors within the meta-major or programs of study.

MATC Strategies:

In 2019, we converted our six academic schools to seven Academic & Career Pathways based on Holland Code Assessment:

business management icon  Business & Management

community & human services icon  Community & Human Services

creative arts, design & media icon  Creative Arts, Design & Media

general education icon  General Education

Healthcare icon  Healthcare

manufacturing, construction, & transportation icon   Manufacturing, Construction & Transportation

stem icon   Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)


The new Pathway Offices are student-centered and staffed with Student Success Liaisons, Professional Advisors, and Retention Coaches. Incoming students are connected with their Pathway teams during their orientation (Stormer Events), and those students who are undecided are provided Career Coaching.

Promising Practice: Create pathways for transfer students

Students who transfer are often unable to articulate all of their previously earned credits at their new institution. Transfer is an overlooked equity issue; students of color are more likely to begin their journey at a two-year institution. Transferring credits earned at these institutions is harder than it needs to be. Streamlining transfer pathways will make it easier for students and the credits they have earned, to transfer successfully between two-year and four-year institutions.

MATC Strategies:

MATC has maintained partnerships with over 40 universities involving more than 400 transfer agreements linked to every associate degree at the college (and has steadily grown those opportunities). Despite affording every MATC graduate with an opportunity to transfer to a baccalaureate institution, transfer rates have remained consistently below desired levels when compared to comparable institutions. As such, MATC has implemented a series of solutions. From 2013-2016, the college undertook the initiative of linking degree levels into comprehensive advising ‘maps’ stretching from first semester, short-term credentials to baccalaureate degrees (and, in some cases, beyond). These maps formed the foundation for student academic pathways. From 2016 to 2020, with the implementation of its Promise Programs, MATC designed Promise Completion partnerships with universities such that students, when transferring, would continue to have the economic burden of higher education removed. In 2020, MATC launched the Center for University Partnerships and Studies (CUPs) which brought university student services and instruction onto MATC’s Campuses. Finally, in 2021, continuing the expansion of CUPs, MATC began work on four initiatives seeking to close transfer equity gaps through partnerships with EAB, AACC, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Further, work began to link MATC associate degrees through to professional graduate programs further painting pathways for students and removing barriers to continuing education.