"Al is a consummate professional with amazing insight and knowledge which he openly shares with higher education leaders and practitioners. Cuyamaca College had the privilege of working closely with him for over a year as part of our guided pathways efforts, laying the foundation for equity-minded, systemic change. The Continuous Learning Institute website resources are comprehensive and his recently established Student Success Podcast is sure to pique dialogue, thought, and action. Al's authentic, courageous, and forward-thinking approach is refreshing and is exactly what is needed to meet the moment. "
I support institutions of higher education with clarity, coherence, and consensus efforts to plan and implement homegrown practices that get results for students.
Focus areas where I leverage my coaching, facilitation, training, and project management expertise include (and are not limited to):
- guided pathways planning & implementation (design teams: structure, purpose, project management; student success teams: structure, purpose, inquiry & continuous improvement in services and instruction).
- institutional inquiry and continuous improvement
- closing equity gaps through instructional inquiry
- education master planning, strategic planning, integrated planning
- Title III/V implementation support
- participatory governance and institutional processes redesign
- inclusive leadership
- Unbiased and neutral
- Informs about promising practices from the field (with lessons learned) for institutions to adapt for their context
- Articulates tactfully what educators need to hear and not necessarily what they want to hearSee Projects
"Dr. Solano’s unique style transforms institutions, enabling college leaders to manage change in a manner that supports faculty efforts to foster success, equity and inclusion. With Dr. Solano’s help, Allan Hancock College has made great progress toward building pathways for students that will have a lasting impact on our community. "
"Al helps get you to the crux of what’s blocking progress. Using a methodical model that encourages dialogue, understanding, and accountability, he enables team members to arrive at solutions that are contextually sound and stakeholder-owned. That makes the change efforts take hold. Al gives feedback that is frank and direct, unfettered by politicized campus narratives. While forthright, Al is also generous, amiable, and ethical."
"Over the last few years, I’ve sincerely enjoyed working with Al as we worked on institutional transformation using a guided pathways framework. Al’s coaching approach is one that creates a space for reflective, equity-minded and powerful dialogue that leads to action. "
"Al Solano is extraordinarily skilled in helping colleges implement complex, whole-college student success reforms like Guided Pathways. If your college wants a coach who can break down the change process into clear steps and help you organize teams to design, plan and execute improvements in academic programs, teaching and student support services, Dr. Al is the one to call. "
"It was a pleasure to work with Al during the application and receipt of Cypress College's successful Title V grant. Dr. Solano helped us create an environment for brainstorming our critical needs, and then provided technical assistance as we honed our ideas into a grant proposal. His expertise was critical in our successful application and he has continued to coach and assist the college prepare for a successful implementation. I wouldn't hesitate to ask Dr. Solano for assistance again and appreciate the thought and care that went into his guidance and support throughout this process."
"I am instinctively unsympathetic to consultants who, in my experience, are slow to listen and quick to tell colleges what to do. Happily, Al has been a complete exception to that experience. Al listens attentively, respectfully, thoughtfully—and then draws on his significant experience with a wide range of colleges to indicate what peers having success with and which might be transferable to other colleges. In my experience, Al never tells a college what it should do, but engages in reflection on what it might do and how various approaches might equally well address college challenges. I have always found conversations with Al thought provoking and well worth the time spent."
"Al remains a trusted partner of the RP Group as reliable project managers and effective facilitators are a valued commodity. "
"Dr. Al's understands and genuinely appreciates participatory governance and the critical roll faculty play in shaping reforms such as Guided Pathways. He brings an array of tools, resources, and coaching skills that are tremendously valuable to our work. We engage with him extensively and he makes himself available at a moment's notice. The level of communication is unparalleled."
"Al worked closely with us to plan and implement a session to help us build a structure for guided pathways inquiry. His session was highly engaging, challenged us to think critically, and ensured that we achieved the outcomes that met our needs."
"Our campus participated in a regional integrated planning workshop that Dr. Al led. We were so impressed with the session that we invited him to our campus to assist us with integration work and trainings. He didn't disappoint! Don't expect "sit and get" sessions with him. He'll facilitate groups to do productive and meaningful work. It says a lot about his abilities when he can keep a group motivated and engaged from morning until the end of the day! "
"Dr. Solano provided our college with exactly what we needed to help effectively kick start our Guided Pathways planning and implementation efforts. His expertise and experience helped guide our campus to determine the best approaches to get our college moving in the right direction, ensuring that we bring all faculty and staff along, and to be strategic in our planning process. Dr. Solano provided meaningful activities that helped our college administration, faculty, and staff remain centered on students, work collaboratively, to think about how we want students to experience our campus, and to understand the importance of this work in creating equitable outcomes for all students. I have a deep respect for Dr. Solano as someone who thinks deeply about his work, the planning process, as well has his ability to helping campuses clarify and carry out their visions and goals."
"Al helped secure two NSF grants that support our STEM programs of study and a Title V HSI to support teacher education. He listens to our needs and is an effective communicator and consensus builder."
"Dr. Al provided us with exceptionally well-received customized trainings based on our needs. Our "why, what, how" of Guided Pathways session helped us create the planning structure that best suited us to move forward. In addition, he helped plan and conduct a student panel that helped to give additional meaning to the subsequent meta-major sorting activity with faculty and staff that he facilitated. We appreciate his approach of planning and executing with us instead of to us."
"Dr. Al's collaborative and inclusive leadership style is highly effective. His facilitation of our 3-day summit was highly engaging. It propelled our work and his continued coaching support has ensured that we maintain a steady momentum."
"My team and I have been working with Dr. Al for over a year. His insights and processes help support our integrity in meeting our mission of positively impacting student success."
"Al was very effective in working with faculty in the college to lay the foundation for meaningful strategic planning work. He has also served as project lead for online course development for professional development opportunities for instructors at community colleges and so he has helped us enormously to strengthen our ability to serve our community college partners."
"Change on a college campus is frequently met with opposition, but with the guidance of Dr. Al Solano the process of implementing Guided Pathways has been a positive experience. Primarily because of Al’s approach. He is a coach and not a consultant! I have been so impressed with his ability to help people see beyond the 'weeds in the field' and narrow down the steps needed to make critical changes. Our campus has grown in so many ways thanks to him!"
"Al secured $3.8MM in state and federal grants to boost our dual enrollment efforts and basic skills revamp. In addition, he was instrumental in helping us understand gaps in our program review process in order to improve its structure and processes. "