Create implementation plan.
Step 1

Revisit the communication and engagement plan from Essential Action 3.

It may be a good time at this point of the process to consider new goals for communication and engagement. Consider how the team will share information about the planning process up to this point, seek input on the implementation plan, and help  individuals and departments understand their roles in the finalized plan. There likely will be a need to broaden communications and engagement during implementation as the work will expand to include more faculty from multiple disciplines, advisors, and other student services staff.


helps to define and develop effective communication and engagement strategies.

helps in developing a strategic plan for communication and engagement with diverse stakeholder groups.

highlights sample communication and engagement strategies for different stakeholders.

supports mathematics faculty, administrators, student services staff, and institutional researchers to plan effective messaging about mathematics pathways.

Step 2

Identify course structures that will allow underprepared students to move to and through gateway courses as quickly as possible.

Research demonstrates the negative impact of long course sequences for students (Bailey, Jeong, & Cho, 2009). Acceleration — reducing the time it takes for students to enroll in and complete a college-level mathematics course — underlies the DCMP model. As previously noted, promising evidence suggests that many more students can succeed in college-level courses when provided with adequate support (Complete College America, 2016).

When using a multi-term sequence, create conditions that actively encourage students to enroll in successive semesters, which increase their likelihood of success. The Dana Center recommends consideration of two possible structures for acceleration: a one-semester co-requisite model and a one-year aligned course sequence. The one-semester model includes a college-level mathematics course paired with learning support such as an online tutorial, additional hours of instruction, or mandatory tutorial labs to address any gaps in knowledge and skills. One-year models allow students to complete a college-level course within one year through a sequence of two courses. The first course may be designated as developmental, but it is designed to introduce students to college-level material with appropriate supports and is aligned to the second course. In any multi-term sequence, it is essential to integrate structures to support continuous enrollment to minimize attrition over the two terms.

Regardless of the structure, the leadership team should pursue acceleration models that enable students to complete a credit-bearing mathematics course within their first year at the institution. The team should also consider how both models will affect parameters for scheduling classes.


highlights the success of co-requisite supports and outlines what mathematics faculty, advisors, administrators, and financial aid staff must consider in designing co-requisite model(s) that best serve their institution and students.

supports mathematics faculty and departmental leaders in designing the structure of co-requisite courses. 

Additional resources to support co-requisite remediation can be found on the DCMP resource site, Learn About: Math Faculty under Essential Idea #3.

Step 3

Identify faculty and staff needs to prepare for implementation.

Full-scale implementation of mathematics pathways will depend on broad expertise and involvement of faculty and staff. The leadership team should plan strategically and build capacity for implementation. The team should seek opportunities for faculty and staff to attend training sessions or establish institution-based training in collaboration with others in the region. Additionally, the leadership team can seek counsel from institutions that are further along in their implementation.

Keep in mind that the pathways identified for specific programs of study may require a change in the types of courses that faculty will teach. For example, a greater emphasis on statistics courses may require new certification for existing faculty or indicate the need to hire new staff. The leadership team should think about the professional learning required for faculty and staff, including making appropriate provisions for adjunct faculty.

Step 4

Create a detailed plan for the first year of implementation.

A detailed plan for implementation will include the following information:

  • Clear Targets: What milestones are required to meet year-one goals?
  • Data Collection: What data will you collect? Who will be responsible for collecting it? By when?
  • Deliverables: What needs to be developed?
  • Check-ins: When will you review data and note progress?
  • Adjustments: How will you decide what adjustments to make?
  • Communications: When will you communicate progress and celebrate success? How will this information be disseminated?

As suggested with the goals, identify stakeholders who can provide thoughtful feedback on the implementation plan.

From the start, the leadership team should plan for how it will monitor progress and celebrate success. The plan to monitor progress may include questions of effect, impact based on demographic variables, completion, and persistence. The leadership team can work with the institutional research office to determine which data will answer identified questions and the appropriate analysis processes to use. Foremost, data collection and analysis should inform future decisions, which are communicated regularly through multiple channels to the different stakeholder groups.

Celebrating success is crucial — it gives the leadership team and all involved in implementation an opportunity to acknowledge wins based on data. Moreover, reflection highlights openings and barriers to success, which can be further explored or addressed as implementation continues. Sample questions to guide celebrations include:

  1. What did we accomplish?
  2. What helped our progress?
  3. What interfered with our progress?


helps to define key actions and deliverables in year one of implementing mathematics pathways.

highlights key institutional actions and deliverables in year-one of implementing mathematics pathways.

Step 5

Anticipate and plan for the implications of change.

Many institutions have great intentions when implementing a change, particularly one designed to improve student outcomes. However well-intended the change may be, it will affect those charged with implementing that change. For many, it is not the change itself that can be unsettling; rather, it is the implications of that change on those responsible for implementing it that creates havoc. If leadership team members anticipate that some stakeholders will view mathematics pathways as a welcome change while others may be skeptical or even resist it, they can plan accordingly.

The Stages of Concern, which was introduced in Essential Action 3, refers to what someone may be thinking about or questioning about change; it does not imply that the concern is negative (Hall & Hord, 2015). There are seven stages of concern that fall into four dimensions.


(Source: Hall & Hord, 2015. For more information, please visit

Step 6

Understand and cultivate a positive institutional culture.

Understanding the current context includes being familiar with the cultural aspects of the institution. For example, the leadership team will benefit from knowing how individuals and departments work together, what information is known by different stakeholder groups, and what the attitudes are about change. In addition, institutional culture is affected by communication, collaboration, trust, and engagement. The importance of communication and engagement has been discussed in this guide. Trust is defined as a mutual understanding about the goodwill of others and the confidence that others will do no harm, will do what they say they will do, and have the knowledge and skills to do what is asked of them (Henkin & Dee, 2001; Tschannen-Moran, 2004). Trust is essential to a positive culture. Likewise, the more that collaboration — faculty and staff working together on issues related to teaching and learning, and sharing ideas about instruction — is an institutional norm, the more positive the culture will be.