Institutional Advancement

Exploring Pathways

Barton College’s innovative “Pathways” program creates connections between new incoming students, their peers, and faculty/staff leaders through a shared interest. New students are able to bond in small groups even before they arrive on campus. They explore interests in fun and low-pressure ways, making life-long friends during the experience. There are currently 11 active Pathway programs including: 

  • ArtWorks
  • AVID for Higher Education
  • Barton Bands
  • Esports
  • Educators in Action
  • FBLA Collegiate
  • Healthcare+ HOSA
  • Horizons (Horizontes)
  • Nursing Direct
  • Presidential Leadership Fellows (PLF)
  • Theatre Action Guild (TAG)

Research suggests that many students who enter college without a pre-identified community, such as an athletic program, can often feel a sense of disconnect and isolation during their first year, especially for underrepresented populations. Recognizing the need amongst our own students, campus leadership developed this long-term and distinctive initiative that helps incoming students build their network before they even step foot on campus, emphasizing that students who actively engage in a supportive community or have a sense of belonging early in their college experience are more likely to persist and reach their academic goals.

Leading the way for each program is a dedicated faculty or staff member that ensures their students have the opportunity to thrive in their chosen Pathway. These leaders – seasoned professionals with years of experience and knowledge in their respective fields – mentor and inspire students, providing invaluable insights and industry expertise. 

Dennis Matthews, vice president for enrollment management and marketing, has watched Pathways grow from a simple idea to an integral part of the Barton Experience. “As I often describe the new Pathway opportunities to prior Barton students,” he shares, “I very frequently hear how they wish they had a chance to do something like this. It really is quite distinctive to Barton, and so tied into our mission.  We want every Barton student to have their team here – and I think Pathways provides another opportunity for every Barton student to realize that sense of a welcoming community.”

As we celebrate the remarkable impact of the Pathways program, we invite you to be part of our upcoming Giving Days on March 12-14, 2024. Pathways stands as a featured campaign during this special event, and your support, regardless of its size, can make a difference in the lives of our students. By making a gift during Giving Days at, you help ensure that students in these programs have access to extraordinary opportunities, empowering them to navigate their unique paths to success.

Keep reading below to learn more about each individual program.

Individual Program Descriptions

ArtWorks – ArtWorks is for students who want to engage in the community and develop leadership skills while continuing to grow as an artist. Students are introduced to the vast opportunities available within the Barton network as they collaborate with art leadership in our communities and expand successful art/work connections.

AVID for Higher Education – AVID for Higher Education proudly serves more than 26,000 students in over 50 institutions in 17 states. Barton College is proud to be one of those sites, building on the success of AVID in local and regional high schools. AVID for Higher Education joins a strong and innovative team at Barton dedicated to supporting student endeavors for academic success. AVID for Higher Education is dedicated to supporting students, often first-generation students or students of underrepresented populations, during their entire Barton College experience by offering support, seeking solutions, and engaging in self-reflection and team-building experiences.

Barton Bands – Barton Bands provide a platform for students to express their passion for music while also pursuing degrees in business, nursing, education, the sciences, the arts, and many more. From marching band performances that energize campus events to concert ensembles showcasing classical and contemporary repertoires, the Barton Bands offer a diverse range of musical experiences.

Barton Esports – Esports, short for electronic sports, refers to organized, competitive video gaming facilitated by multiplayer online platforms, with professional players and teams competing in various video game titles for recognition. Barton College competes in a variety of games in the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) and other organizations. Some of the featured games include League of Legends, Fortnite, Madden, NBA 2K, FIFA, eNASCAR, Valorant, Overwatch, Rocket League, CS: GO, Call of Duty, Rainbow Six, Apex Legends, Super Smash Bros, Hearthstone, and Paladins.

Educators in Action – As one of Barton College’s newest Pathway programs, Educators in Action (EIA) is designed to give a career advantage to students interested in education, EIA combines social activities with numerous opportunities to meet, work, and learn from successful educators in our region, many of whom are Barton College alumni. This Pathway group is meant to be engaging, fun, low-pressure, and impactful in giving Barton EIA graduates a variety of advantages they are unlikely to find any place but Barton. 

FBLA Collegiate – FBLA Collegiate is a national association that unites business and education together through programs and services in which students, educators, and business professionals learn about one another. The Barton chapter has won numerous awards at both the state and national levels, and is generally recognized as an outstanding student organization at Barton. FBLA Collegiate at Barton College has been dedicated to inspiring and developing the next generation of leaders by preparing members for careers in business and business-related fields. 

Healthcare+ HOSA – Barton College’s Healthcare+ HOSA program focuses on real-world experiences that allow students to interact with healthcare providers, establish relationships, and build an understanding of numerous parts of the healthcare spectrum. Healthcare+ HOSA provides a jumpstart into numerous healthcare careers including Nursing, Pre-Med, Health Promotion, Exercise Science, Gerontology (Aging Studies), and Healthcare Administration. With a personalized focus on learning and individual pathways to success, Healthcare+ HOSA is a unique building block for a career in healthcare.

Horizons (Horizontes) – The new Horizons (Horizontes) Pathway group at Barton College seeks to recognize the celebrated heritage of students whose backgrounds and cultural traditions are richly distinctive and diverse. In the inaugural year, this Pathway group will focus on the revered Latinx/Hispanic traditions that are widely represented in Barton’s growing Latino community, exploring how different heritages shape who we are and how we live. Students engage the broader campus community in their exploration, discovering food traditions, cultural experiences, the roles of family and community, how we all celebrate and have fun, and how we support one another to promote greater awareness and understanding.

Nursing Direct – Barton College‘s Nursing Direct is a selective, early acceptance program that allows high school students who meet the application and GPA requirements to be accepted directly into the nursing program without competing for upper-level courses at the conclusion of the sophomore year.

Presidential Leadership Fellows (PLF) – The Presidential Leadership Fellows (PLF) at Barton College seeks to prepare young leaders who will impact communities in new and exciting ways, engaging and leading in a variety of arenas and positions, in areas such as public policy, healthcare, global enterprise, education reform, the arts and international relations. Leadership Fellows will be challenged to think creatively about complex issues that will face the next generation in our ever-changing society, as they prepare for thoughtful and informed citizenship after graduation. The program is a comprehensive four year experience with a distinctive focus each semester. Shadowing opportunities with alumni and community leaders will be included at various points throughout the program. Years three and four have “Leadership in Action” projects that will provide real-life opportunities, first on campus and then in the larger community. Those who successfully complete the four year sequence will receive a PLF Certificate and be honored at graduation. Becoming a Presidential Leadership Fellow is one of Barton’s most prestigious opportunities. In addition to regular workshops and seminars, Fellows engage with our President, alumni, faculty, key administrators, board members, and civic leaders in the Wilson and Eastern North Carolina communities. 

Theatre Action Guild (TAG) – Theatre Action Guild (TAG) creates an easy way for new incoming students, both first-years and transfers, to bond quickly with others who share their passion for theatre, and to do so in a way that is fun and engaging. TAG is led by Barton Theatre faculty who also share that passion, and it provides a fast-track to getting involved in theatre productions at Barton, on stage and behind the scenes. In addition, TAG students get to take advantage of Barton’s regional and professional connections to see outstanding performances, engage in workshops with technicians, be introduced to the business of theatre, and begin building an important network of theatre professionals. TAG is designed for both theatre majors and students in other majors who love theatre and want to be involved.

Browse by Topic

Explore Campus News


Share Your Story

If you have an inspiring story because of philanthropy at Barton College, we invite you to share your story with us.