Gateways to Completion®

 An evidence-based plan for improving teaching, learning, and

success in historically high-failure rate courses. 



Gateways to Completion, an evidence-based process to create an institutional plan for improving student learning and success in high-enrollment courses that have historically resulted in high rates of Ds, Fs, Withdrawals, and Incompletes especially for low-income, first-generation and historically underrepresented students.  This multi-year process helps institutions create and implement a plan for course redesign that supports teaching, learning, success, completion, and retention.


By joining Gateways to Completion you will:

  • Be a part of a larger national movement to redesign gateway courses and provide more for faculty who wish to improve their student outcomes.
  • Improve teaching and learning in courses you identify as, high-enrollment courses that have historically resulted in high rates of Ds, Fs, Withdrawals, and Incompletes (high DFWI rates)and transform them through an evidence-based course self-study process supported by Gardner Institute staff.
  • Receive unparalleled guidance and support as you collect historic course analytics, survey data from current students, and gather other institutional and course-level forms of evidence to apply to your course redesign plan.
  • Participate in the Teaching and Learning Academy which includes one face-to-face and multiple virtual workshops to study, learn, and apply evidence-based practices and engaging pedagogies as part of the gateway course redesign efforts.
  • Be involved in the Gateways to Completion community of practice which includes one face-to-face annual meeting, periodic virtual meetings as well an array of webinars and discussions that maximize the dissemination of promising practices and wisdom across Gateways to Completion cohorts and institutions.
  • Have access to, and be involved in, the Analytics in Curriculum and Pedagogy process.  Gateway course faculty, institutional research staff, student success professionals, and other campus leaders will work through structured exercises during the first year of the Gateways to Completion process to apply analytics and guide early intervention in high-failure rate courses. Gateways to Completion's Analytics in Pedagogy and Curriculum component includes both tools and the processes needed to guide early and frequent feedback.
  • Access to a web-based platform, ongoing webinars, and resources, and expertise.

II. Barriers to Student Success in Gateway Courses.

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High levels of failure in gateway courses.

The Gateways to Completion process improves student learning and success in gateway courses through an evidence-based, structured course analysis and redesign process that involves faculty and staff.

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Students in underrepresented populations are often disproportionately represented in DFWI rates in gateway courses.

Your courses will be transformed through the redesign of curriculum and teaching approaches, that foster inclusivity and have the potential to positively affect student learning and performance for all students, thus having a greater impact than remediation.

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Lack of faculty involvement in student success efforts.

Faculty, instructors, adjuncts and graduate teaching assitants of gateway courses are foundational to the Gateways to Completion process, and this process provides them with the tools and institutional support they need to make course and curriculum changes with the goal of improving student learning and success. 

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Course enhancements or improvements often do not impact a significant number of students.

With a focus on high-enrollment courses that historically have high DFWI rates, and using an integrated, evidence-based, multi-year approach, this process has the potential to impact the learning and success of a large number of undergraduate students who enroll in these courses, and over time, all undergraduate students have the potential to be positively affected.

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Lack of connection to other processes, including reaffirmation of accreditation.

This process is an integrated process that can provide a link to institutional processes, including: general education revisions, reaffirmation of accreditation and quality improvement projects, strategic planning processes, general education revisions, quality learning initiatives (e.g., Degree Qualification Profile, Quality Matters, and the Liberal Education and America’s Promise initative), and other strategic student learning and success efforts (e.g., academic advising, tutoring, peer-assisted learning).

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Lack of community practice or support for faculty who want to improve gateway course outcomes.

Faculty involved in the Gateways to Completion process receive on-going support through a network of faculty, from across the country, Gardner Institute staff, faculty development colleagues from their institution, and nationally recognized teaching and learning experts (Teaching and Learning and Academic Pedagogy and Curriculum Fellows), in addition to face-to-face meetings, webinars, and online discussions.


Gateways to Completion is a three-year process that begins with Analyze and Plan (Year One), continues with Act and Monitor (Year Two), and culminates with Act and Refine (Year Three and beyond), this process provides faculty and staff both time and tools to fully plan, implement, and refine gateway courses based on evidence collected. 


Year One
Analyze and Plan

The Gateways to Completion process begins with Analyze and Plan in Year One and involves using the tools provided to engage faculty and staff in an institutional self-study process that will identify the opportunities and conditions necessary for change. At the end of this first year, a Comprehensive Institutional Report and Action Plan will be developed by representatives from the Course-Specific Committees.

Year Two
Act and Monitor

In this phase, faculty and staff begin to take action on the recommendations that came from the Comprehensive Institutional Report and Action Plan developed in Year One. Understanding that course transformation, as well as changes to policies and procedures require time, this year is crucial to both piloting course transformation and changes, and going through the governance processes, as necessary, to make changes to policies and procedures. Data will continue to be collected to monitor progress and early outcomes, faculty and staff will continue to participate in face-to-face meetings, as well as online webinars, and discussions with the Gateways to Completion Community of Practice.

Year Three
Act and Refine

During Year Three, institutions will continue to implement the recommendations and actions identified in Year One, and collect and use data to make refinements.   Once faculty and staff have an understanding of what is working and why they will consider opportunities to extend the project to include additional gateway courses. Faculty and staff will also continue to participate in the ongoing meetings and support offered through the Gardner Institute, and identify outlets for scholarly work related to their Gateways to Completion process.



Visit our Fees page for information on fees, applicable discounts and to apply for next years cohort.

Now Accepting Applications

The Gardner Institute is currently accepting applications from colleges and/or universities interested in joining the next Gateways to Completion cohort.

Join the 2018–19 COHORT



To learn more about Gateways to Completion and our proven results, simply give us a call or e-mail us.