Guided Pathways to Justice and Equity?

You may not be surprised to know that within Guided Pathways we have the Equity Subcommittee. EvCC has done significant work in terms of diversity and equity in the last decade, though perhaps with a stronger emphasis on diversity.  So why do we need a special subcommittee to talk about equity?  It turns out that diversity is easier to achieve than equity.  Diversity is something we can readily quantify and measure.  How many ________ people do we have?  If the number is high enough, it’s easy to check the diversity box and think, “Mission accomplished.”  Equity goes deeper than just fulfilling a quota, though.

Dafina-Lazarus Stewart’s powerful essay looks at questions of race and diversity within academia, providing insight into ways we’ve thought about diversity and inclusion but missed genuine equity and justice. Stewart argues that in academia we’ve focused on diversity (having various minority groups present) without really paying attention to equity (making sure that the minoritized people have the same status and credence as the dominant groups.)  Stewart offers several illustrations of the difference:

  • “Diversity asks, “Who’s in the room?” Equity responds: “Who is trying to get in the room but can’t? Whose presence in the room is under constant threat of erasure?”
  • Inclusion asks, “Has everyone’s ideas been heard?” Justice responds, “Whose ideas won’t be taken as seriously because they aren’t in the majority?”
  • “Diversity asks, “Isn’t it separatist to provide funding for safe spaces and separate student centers?” Equity answers, “What are people experiencing on campus that they don’t feel safe when isolated and separated from others like themselves?”

Our Guided Pathways work presents an opportunity to think about these questions (and the others in Stewart’s essay) and to examine equity and justice on campus.  As we are evaluating our programs to increase student success, this is a natural time to look at outcomes for all students and see if different groups have different outcomes.  If we find a gap in equity, we have the chance to address it.  Here’s the good news:  Increasing equity doesn’t have to be a nebulous, abstract goal.  We can make simple changes in our practices that will help all of our students to be more successful.  

One step can be to check that your web page and any documents you post online or in Canvas are ADA accessible.  John Melson, Director of Educational Technology, posts “Tuesday Tips for Accessibility” in the Daily Digest each week.  You can find an archive of these tips on the Intranet.

Does your program collect demographic information on students?  You can use this data to see if there are particular groups of students who don’t use your services as much as others do.  Who isn’t coming through your door? The EvCC website has a number of helpful demographic statistics to use as a starting point for comparison.  

There are tools and techniques available specifically for instructors. The website informED offers many suggestions on how to become a culturally sensitive educator.  Instructors can use a variety of teaching strategies and culturally relevant materials to connect better with diverse students.  You can also be on the lookout for professional development opportunities that focus on equity.

In meetings and in the classroom, you can use “amplification” like the women on Obama’s staff to make sure that minority voices are heard.  Reiterate what they say and make sure that the speaker is credited for their ideas.  

Guided Pathways has the potential, if we build it right and well, to increase equity at EvCC.  We have the opportunity to bend our arc closer to justice, going beyond diversity and coming to genuine equity.  But this kind of work does not happen just because we have nice ideas.  Our Guided Pathways work gives us the opportunity to ask important questions and reflect on our practices.   Let’s take this time of change to make sure our institution serves all our students equitably.


What’s Happening with Guided Pathways this Spring?

The tulips are in bloom across campus and we’re starting the fourth week of the quarter; it must be time for students to start cramming for the first midterm exam and for us to give you an update on Guided Pathways at EvCC.

Lots of work is happening with Guided Pathways this quarter; much of it centered on participating in the budget development process (check out the youtube video of the Draft #1 share out; GP was the right after Jennifer Howard’s overview), GP Mission/Purpose Development by the Guided Pathways Steering Committee, and reporting to College Spark about the work we’ve been doing in order to meet the May 15 grant deadline. Budget development, grant reporting, and mission/purpose crafting might not be work that makes you leap out of the bed in the morning, excited about the day, however, it’s foundational work that will help us make future progress so we’re digging in, spending the time, and getting it done.

This quarter we are planning a cross pollination conversation bringing together folks who’ve been coming to GP sub-committee meetings (or anyone on campus who is interested) to connect on the global areas of GP development; getting students on a path, clarifying the path, keeping them on a path, and aligning pathways with careers. If you’re on one of the GP sub-committees (Communication, Equity, Advising/First Year Experience, or Technology) and you’ve been wondering when you would connect with the other sub-committees, this is your chance!  Or, if you haven’t made it to a sub-committee meeting but would like to chime in on the GP conversation, this is an opportunity for you as well and open to all employees. Mark your calendar for May 19 from 1-3pm in GWH 386/388 to come catch up with your colleagues and help determine what work will happen next.  

Also new this quarter is our GP Intern!  Samantha Reed, former GP Genius Parking Spot winner and Instructional Support Tech in the EvCC Writing Center, is serving as our intern to fulfill requirements for her Master’s degree program in Higher Education at Central Washington University.  Samantha will be writing future GP blog posts on articles we think speak to the broader issues associated with our GP work, particularly around equity, so keep an eye out for our guest blogger later this quarter!

A conversation about the future of advising at EvCC….

The Guided Pathways Steering Committee has been conducting student Focus Groups this quarter and one of the themes which has emerged in the student feedback is the urgent need to enhance our current offerings in the areas of advising. Every student deserves access to a knowledgeable person for advising during the quarter, between quarters, during the day, in the evening, etc., and we do not currently meet this need from our students’ perspective. As we reflect on the Guided Pathways model, the potential the model has to positively impact students and the increased emphasis on long-term relationship building via advising, the Guided Pathways Steering Committee has assembled a task force to develop a resource document to open a campus discussion of advising.

An initial group participated in creating a first draft of information students need personalized access to as they interface with EvCC. Their work culminated in the list (linked at the end of this post) of the advising pieces which make up the puzzle for students from their initial contact and commitment to the college through graduation, transfer, career, and beyond. It is particularly important to emphasize that this list is created from a student context to help focus our perspective on who we serve and the central purpose of this institution.

The goal of the Guided Pathways (GP) model is for students to have a structured experience which removes barriers to getting on a pathway, staying on a pathway, and learning. In addition, our focus at EvCC is to leverage the GP model to create and sustain an equitable experience for all students. Advising is unequivocally an equity issue. The choices we make about who provides advising and when it is available to students has a direct impact on students’ access, engagement, aspiration, and achievement at EvCC.

The draft list was next coded by item as faculty work, staff work, or work shared by faculty and staff using the lens of the Guided Pathways model. Maximizing student access to the information and relationships they need to thrive at EvCC in an equitable manner is a core value of Guided Pathways and central to the work of the GPSC so these codes represent what could be, not necessarily what is current practice on our campus.

There are some core themes which emerged as we worked through this list of advising needs for students using the lens of the Guided Pathways model.  As with all GP work, we are particularly thoughtful of the first generation student experience and how someone with this background interfaces with EvCC.  These themes include:

  • To ensure quality program advising, program-specific advising is done by faculty.
  • To ensure high standards of equity and quality, it makes sense that helping undecided students choose a pathway is done by faculty or highly trained staff in the Advising Center.
  • To ensure a quality orientation, it makes sense to have Entry Advising, provided by faculty or trained staff, be part of Mandatory Orientation. Whether Entry Advising is provided by faculty or staff specifically trained to provide the relevant information to students, does not impact the goals of the GP model.
  • For ease of access, basic informational questions (How do I register? When is the drop deadline?) should be handled by anyone with access to the relevant knowledge and/or resources, including staff and faculty
  • Issues of potentially legal importance (transcript evaluation, visa/immigration status, financial aid, etc.) should be handled by trained staff in those areas.

We would now like to share this first draft of the advising needs of our students for campus conversation in the form of comments added to our draft document. Is there some item students need which is not listed? Is the code listed (F for Faculty, S for Staff, and F/S for either) by each item appropriate for how we can best serve a first generation student? Are there specific circumstance which we need to list with more detail to get a full picture?  We’re hoping for a robust, cross campus, all employee conversation about future possibilities on how to best serve student advising needs.

Click here to access the list of items drafted and then coded as (F) for Faculty, (S) for Staff, and (F/S) for Faculty and/or Staff.  Note: the file is set up to be viewed by EvCC folks only, so you may need to log into your google (gmail, drive, etc.) account to view the file, prior to clicking.


Mid Winter Update

Wow, it’s the 5th week of the quarter already! Let’s catch up on the Guided Pathways work occurring across campus.

At the All Instruction meeting I presented on the impact of College 101 (it’s positive and the effect lingers over several quarters for students) and goals specific to faculty for our work Winter quarter. I’m sharing these goals with everyone because these have potential college wide impact and because everyone likes to stay in the loop! The goals include the following:

Update Curriculum Guides
•COLL 101 is required; it is listed?
•Do you have a default quarter-to-quarter schedule of courses?

Consider common 4 year transfer institutions
•Where do students in your discipline transfer to?
•Do your discipline courses transfer? If not, is there a work-around for students?

Update your departmental web page
•Career options
•Transfer Information
•Program Advising appointments via youcanbookme

Consider the equity barriers that exist in your classroom and work to eliminate one

Also during January our Achieving the Dream coaches, Lynda Villanueva and Diane Troyer, met with all campus in two World Café events to facilitate cross campus dialogue on our EvCC results from the Institutional Capacity Assessment Tool (ICAT). Results from the discussion are being recorded and discussed; items pertinent to our GP work will likely be shared here in a later blog post. Personally, it was such a treat to chat with so many people from across campus and to hear the different perspectives on our strengths and work ahead. If you participated, a big THANK YOU for making this such a success!

Guess who the winner of the Guided Pathways Genius Parking spot is? Tara Murphy!!! Tara is an Associate faculty in the Cosmetology department and is looking forward to using her reserved parking spot when she comes to main campus for meetings…so don’t park in it! If you would like to put your name in for the raffle for the parking spot for March, plan to participate in Guided Pathways work this month like…

Reading this blog! Hey, you can enter right now! Click here.

Attending any GP sub-committee meeting.
Want to know when the meetings are? We have created an EvCC Guided Pathways calendar that you can view in your google calendar. Just enter EvCC Guided Pathways into the “add a coworker’s calendar” space in your google calendar and you’ll be able to see when and where the meetings are.

Coming to a GP Work Session:
February 10, from 11-12:30 in JCK 106 to discuss Curriculum guide Templates or March 3 from 9-10:30am, location and topic TBD.

Meeting with faculty in your Pathway to create a Default First Quarter Matrix.
Department Chairs met last week and created versions for the Art, Business, Healthcare and Public Safety, and STEM pathways. Click on each name to find out what default courses they’ve listed for students who select the pathway but are unsure of which discipline they will choose. The Humanities, Social Science, and Industry Technologies Pathways are also working on creating default first quarters so join in the conversation! Our goal is to have a draft created by March 3.

That’s it for now! Have a great weekend,

Our Institutional Capacity for Change

Friday you got an email from President Beyer asking you to take the Institutional Capacity Assessment Tool questionnaire. Having useful results from this survey will require the participation of as many of us as possible. I’d like to explain more about what this tool is, why we are using it, what we plan to do with the results, and… fabulous prizes!

When changes are needed to promote student success, what’s EvCC’s capacity for change?

That’s a big question. The Achieving the Dream folks have put together a framework for thinking about this. They look at 7 “capacities”: Equity, Teaching & Learning, Engagement & Communication, Strategy & Planning, Policies & Practices, Leadership & Vision, Data & Technology. If a college is strong in all of these areas then it’s ready to embrace the changes needed to build a student-focused culture.


This framework fits beautifully with our Guided Pathways work and our larger Achieving the Dream efforts. The goal here is to find out areas in which we’re strong and areas in which we need to improve. To have effective change at an institution-wide level we need to be strong in all seven of these capacities.

The ICAT itself is two demographic questions about your role at the college and then seven pages with questions about each of the capacities. If you don’t know the answers to a question, there’s an “I don’t know” option.

What will we do with the results? The ICAT is a conversation starter. Our intention is to collect people’s ICAT responses through Finals Week (Dec 12) and then compile results and share out with the campus via this blog. Then, we will organize forums to discuss the results. We want to know what people know and don’t know about current efforts. In capacities in which EvCC scores low, we’ll have a great place to start a campus wide conversation about what the source might be. We want to hear from as broad a community as possible. So please encourage everyone on campus to participate (staff, faculty — tenured and associate).

Fabulous Prizes!

Classified staff can put the ICAT down as an hour of work. All faculty and staff who complete the ICAT can email Sharon Ralston to be entered into a raffle. The prize will be a reserved parking spot (location TBD by Facilities and Security) for the month of February

Please help us collect data so we can assess where we are as a college and where we need to put our efforts!

Here’s the link from Pres. Beyer’s email to get to the ICAT:

You will need the authentication code for EvCC: Ua07PdGX.


Let’s not call them Meta-majors anymore

I’m at the College Spark Metamajors workshop in Vancouver, WA with many of he Guided Pathways Steering Committee members. We are learning about some great work other colleges are doing which I would like to share with you.

But before I do that, I want to make it publicly known that we’re officially going to change from using the phrase “metamajors” at EvCC. Nina Benedetti is heading the metamajors subcommittee and the first thing that committee did was vote to no longer call them metamajors. Henceforth, we will call them “Pathways”. Why relabel? First, we have a lot of certificates and programs that are not the same as “majors” and second, using a phrase students aren’t familiar with does not make anything more easy to understand. So think PATHWAYS.

Pathways are program groupings, like Health Sciences, Business, etc. The idea is to put similar programs together with a label students pick correctly when they start college. Once we have these groups we can work on developing how students will interact with them and what kind of supports are needed for students within them. Some of the cool things we’re hearing that other colleges are doing:

  • Changing from course catalogs to program maps. Instead of an alphabetical list of courses, students see a 2 or 3 year map of what to take and when to choose a pre-req stacked right when appropriate.
  • Contextualized Math. When a Pathway involves a specific college-level math course, we can design a Pathway that will get students to that specific class as soon as possible, in hopes of ending the current need for students to take up to five quarters of pre-college math before taking that Math 107 or Math 146 course.
  • Pathway-specific College 101 courses. This could be a powerful tool in getting our students on the right pathway and headed to a career. For example, there are so many Health Science careers that our students don’t know about. If we’re going to put potential Health Science students into a College 101 course, why not have that course discuss material about the career options so students can make a more informed decision?

Can you tell we’re eager to get Pathways pinned down so we can start on all the other good stuff we can do within them?

We floated our current draft of Pathways at the Department Chairs meeting last week. The Chairs agreed on the number of Pathways with mild suggestions on renaming of those Pathways, and a possibility to have Humanities separate from Art. There is still work to be done to gain consensus. Our goal is to have the Pathways groupings of programs finalized this quarter.  Much work was completed last spring and we have recent  input to help us finalize this. We will continue to review and assess so think of this as the starting point. Consider these groups as organizational architecture which will help us to move to the next stage of designing how students will interact with them on our website, what they’ll be labeled, how to provide advising and/or counseling support, etc.

Please use the comments space here to give your feedback on the Pathways. Everyone on campus is committed to student success. Please contribute your voice so we can all do this redesign work together.

If you’re interested in working with one of the sub-committees and adding your voice to the discussion in a more regular way, here are the sub-committee meeting dates and times:

: Nov 14 from 2-3pm in Nippon Business Institute
Equity Gap Research: Oct 31 from 2-4pm in WHI 228
Pathways: Nov 2 from 3-4pm in Rainier 227
Technology: Nov 2 from 3-4pm in Rainier 227

Guided Pathways Steering Committee and Sub-committee update

Who’s on the Steering Committee?
The GP Steering Committee had their first meeting Oct 3.  The members of the Steering Committee are myself (Anne Brackett), Kristine Washburn, Nina Benedetti, Elizabeth Stam, Masashi Kato, Gail Muilli, Laurie Franklin, Heather Bennet, Eugene McAvoy, and Megan King, the ASB president.  Kristine and I are co-chairing the committee.  The insight students can provide to the development of GP at EvCC is crucial, yet they are balancing service in multiple roles while also studying for classes, so Megan and two other ASB officers will rotate attending the meetings.  We had hoped to have an additional faculty to serve from the areas of Advising/Counseling/TriO; however, while there was definitely a desire to serve, many faculty with this expertise have already committed time and energy to other aspects of college service and simply cannot make the commitment at this time. Given the crucial nature of advising and a need to have someone with knowledge on the committee this year, we have invited Andre Guzman to fill the remaining spot, making the overall group five faculty, five administrators, and one student.

What was discussed at the meeting?
You are welcome to read over the minutes for specifics (click here to see the minutes). We decided who would chair which subcommittee (listed below) and tasked each chair with contacting the people who have already let us know of their interest to coordinate meeting dates and times.  If you haven’t let us know of your interest, that’s ok, we’ll make another blog post listing dates and times of each meeting so that anyone can attend.  At the first sub-committee meeting each group will read over the 5-year Implementation Plan to develop goals for the work they will do this year:

Advising/First Year Experience: Jessica Cain and Andre Guzman
Meta-Majors/Pathways: Nina Benedetti
Technology: Betsy Stam
Equity Gap Research: Kristine Washburn
Communication: Masashi Kato

What will happen next?
The general format moving forward is that each sub-committee will tackle a particular facet of developing GP, the chair will report to the Steering Committee, the Steering Committee will either give feedback, inform other communication partners (Faculty Forum, VP Staff, all campus via this blog, etc.) to seek additional feedback, and/or progress with the recommendation.  Minutes will be taken at each sub-committee meeting, and the GP Steering Committee meetings, and will be posted in the GP Canvas course, so if you want to know what’s up, you can always check the minutes.

Meta-majors: what is this even about?

Last spring a group of cross campus faculty met regularly and developed a draft of seven different meta-majors. Meta-majors are groupings of programs to help students simplify the complex choice of what to study to gain the skills they need for the career they want. At the All-Instruction and Students Services meeting during Opening Week we shared this first draft of the meta-major groupings and asked for feedback. The wordle below captures the themes which emerged from your comments:


The first thing I noticed while reading people’s comments was that it was not clear to many what a meta-major is and how it is different than our current divisions. Let’s consider this from a student perspective.

A brand new student comes to EvCC. They encounter the “Wall of Curriculum Guides” and are asked to pick a program. That’s terrifying. There are over 100 curriculum guides to choose from. Psychology research tells us that when the number of choices is that large and overwhelming people either turn away or they use something arbitrary to decide (eg, “that’s what my cousin is majoring in so I’ll major in it, too”).

Consider the same scenario from the student’s perspective, only now, instead of the “Wall of curriculum guides” there are six pathways (meta-major groupings) to choose from.  This is a much simpler choiceThe pathways are consciously organized by general student interests: STEM for those that say “I want to do something technical”, Arts and Humanities for those that say “I want to do something creative”, Health Sciences for those with an interest in the many areas of medicine, Social Sciences & Human Services for those that say “I want to help people”, etc. These are meant to be big broad buckets based on general interests instead of the narrow ones we have now (eg, “do you want to earn a degree in Early Childhood Education or Education?”).

There are some great things that can happen with meta-majors. For example, we could offer meta-major specific College 101 courses. If they’re interested in Health Science, that College 101 class might go into what all the different career choices are within Health Sciences, many of which the student may not have heard. The student can get advising from an advisor within that meta-major who knows all of those programs very well, getting them started on the right courses in their first quarter, not their third.

If we offer an “Exploratory” meta-major option, the truly Undecided students could be funneled into a College 101 course that is connected to an HDEV course to do more extensive career exploration. The idea behind an “Exploratory” meta-major would be to have students start there and transition to a different one within one to two quarters. The goal is to get the student to the path they want to be on faster, earning credits that will count towards their degree while they narrow down career choices.

These meta-major buckets should be designed with STUDENTS and their career goals in mind, not academic traditions or our own opinions about where we think our disciplines should be or with whom we like to work. The idea here is that we collect up all of the similar programs into a group so that students who only have a vague general sense at first can immediately start to funnel into the places they can start working on achieving their goals. This way a future graphic designer can start in ART 110 during their first quarter instead of realizing it later and making their whole degree plan longer. I think Engineering is a great field for helping people, but most of the students who come here saying they want to help people are generally more interested in Social Sciences and Human Services than Engineering (which I’m a little sad about). So I don’t expect Engineering to get cross-listed with Social Sciences.

Meta-majors will not necessarily disrupt divisions. But they might require some people to cross train in advising and they will need cross division conversation to help meet the needs of our students effectively. For example, someone who says they’re pre-med would likely choose Health Sciences. Traditionally, pre-meds have always been STEM students so in this case we would want to make sure Health Science advisors and College 101 faculty were able to advise the pre-med student accurately, which means regular conversation between biology, chemistry, and allied health faculty about the full spectrum of career options available to students in the field of healthcare and the coursework needed to get the necessary degree or certificate.

There were some great comments made during the All Instruction and Student Services meeting that will prompt good conversations moving forward. There are a lot of programs that don’t fit neatly into one bucket (eg, Fire Science) that would benefit from being crosslisted in more than one meta-major so that students who have a particular career goal in mind end up able to take the classes they need for the job they want.

With this understanding of meta-majors in mind, I’d love to hear more of your comments about this topic. Here is a link to the current draft of the meta-majors. Ask yourself this: If a student wants to go into career X or to earn a degree in field Z, what meta-major might they pick? Give your general thoughts, specific thoughts, and ideas you have about how we can use meta-majors to help students get where they want to go without spending extra money on classes that don’t fit their end goals.  I’ll send an announcement out next week calling for volunteers for the meta-majors subcommittee. If you are passionate about this please join that committee!

Guided Pathways Q&A

Last week we hosted two Q&A sessions for the purpose of answering questions that folks might have about Guided Pathways. We realize not everyone could attend these sessions so wanted to summarize some of the questions and answers here on our blog.

Question #1: What is Guided Pathways (GP)?

Guided Pathways is a model, outlined in the book Redesigning America’s Community Colleges, which hopes to address the challenges community and technical colleges face in helping students succeed in earning a degree or certificate. Guided Pathways is not an initiative, but rather a shift towards viewing what we do from the lens of a student and making changes so that our very complex system can be more easily navigated by those who have little to no background in college. The model involves the following:

  • Getting students started on their path (enrolling, placement, registration,etc.)
  • Clarifying the path (advising, curriculum guides, grouping majors/degrees/certificates into meta-majors)
  • Keeping students on the path (program advising, community building, academic warning, etc.)
  • Aligning pathways with careers (program outcomes, assessment, transfer, etc.)

Want to know more? We have an earlier resource blog post which gives more background or you can check out Redesigning America’s Community Colleges from the EvCC library. We have lots of copies!

Question #2: We received a grant from College Spark for developing Guided Pathways (GP) at EvCC. What does the College Spark Grant ask us to do?

We are in year zero of the grant, a year in which we focus on developing the work plan for years one and two, assess what we do (or do not do), and develop meta-majors. A large focus of GP work in Washington state is to eliminate the equity gap so much of the GP work we do will be with an equity goal in mind. This is a very brief overview of the goals of the grant, to find out more, check out the Guided Pathways 5-Year Implementation Plan.

Questions #3: What work has been done and what will happen next?

Last spring several groups started working on Guided Pathways. One group looked at our current curriculum guides and began drafting a curriculum guide template to incorporate some elements students would like to know including: a suggested sequence of courses for each quarter, recommended courses for common transfer partners, pre-requisites, etc. Another group created a draft of meta-major groupings. An opportunity to give feedback on these groupings occurred at the All Instruction/Student Services meeting and other opportunities will be announced. Many faculty engaged in Jump Start grants and explored various aspects of GP work at the college including a world languages transfer guide, a color coding scheme for engineering students to better understand which courses count towards multiple goals and which are more specific, and some initial work on how a meta-major specific College 101 might work. These are all summarized in the GP Canvas course under the Jump Start Grants button.

What happens next?
We are forming a GP Steering Committee and several subcommittees (Advising, Meta-Majors, Equity Gap Research, Communication, Technology Products) and recruiting volunteers from across campus who have an interest in poking their head up and joining a college wide discussion. The GP Steering Committee will meet on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month from 1-3pm. Interested in joining? Let us know before Thursday, Sept 22!

Questions #4: How can I stay informed?

Well, you’re reading the blog which is a great first step! Sign up to follow the blog and you won’t miss any new posts.  We have also created a Canvas course which houses much of the information related to GP work at EvCC. The Canvas course is only accessible by link, due to the constraints of our system and the number of users, so bookmark the link so you don’t have to hunt for it later. If Canvas isn’t your thing, we also have a Guided Pathways Intranet page. Check it out!


What does advising have to do with Guided Pathways? Well with the given feedback from the book club meetings hosted by faculty and the “Redesigning America’s Community College” book it seems that advising plays a very critical role.  If we are trying to help students obtain and complete their certificate and/or degree then we need to help them map their courses to meet their end goals.  This map needs to be clear and communicated early and constant throughout their educational endeavor here at EvCC.  Sounds easy, right?

I believe that this initiative is right for our students here at EvCC, but it will take work, time, and will be important that we work together to give it a real chance. Communication and having critical conversations will be key to the success of Guided Pathways here at EvCC.  We can no longer shy away from the issues or misunderstandings that may be crippling the advising infrastructure that is essential to make this work for all, especially our students.

At EvCC there are three main strands of advising that we are currently practicing.  There is mandatory entry advising (MEA), mandatory 3rd quarter advising, and program advising.

We are working on these important strands of advising now, but have really focused on 3rd quarter advising.  In 3rd quarter advising, faculty and students are assigned to one another by their program of study and area faculty can advise.  Then they both meet to create an educational plan that meets the students’ needs for their given program.  Again, sounds pretty simple…but not everything is what it seems all the time.

I had the pleasure of having a dialogue with 65 Mandatory 3rd Quarter advisors late last month.  This was a great conversation and as some faculty have said, “eye-opening” and “interesting on how there are so many perspectives that we all have, trying to do the same thing for our students”.  Those were my thoughts, as well, as I reviewed the comments from my notes and reflected on the conversations.  What was very evident was how faculty had student success as their primary goal.  I believe we all do here at EvCC…that’s why I came here!  We just need to look at what we can change today and see what changes are needed to get us where we are aligned with our advising goals and objectives within each given strand of advising.  There are some easy fixes and then there are other issues that will take time.

Some of the issues brought up, not all, were advising training, use of technology, clear definitions of what each strand of advising is, equitability in 3rd quarter assignments, uniform processes, evaluation of advising for all faculty advisors is needed, transfer advising issues, and some departments would like to see their students first quarter vs. 3rd quarter, but others don’t… list goes on.

What was clear is that a “one-size fits all” approach will not work. Currently, we are working with Engineering and Computer Science on a pilot. We are assigning students to each program as a group and having the respective department (per their request) assign the students to their faculty to ensure quality and equitable assignments.  These particular departments are using “youcanbookme” and seems to work well for them.  Since, other departments have heard of this and are interested in doing this come fall quarter. This started by having a critical conversation between myself and an engineering faculty, but we were able to come out with a plan that worked for the faculty and more importantly was better for our students.

So, it is clear that advising is very critical to the success of the Guided Pathways model.  I will continue to work with faculty and working on getting an advising committee together. This committee is meant to be long-standing and not a 3-6 month committee that will fall off the face of the earth after we meet a couple of time.  Faculty who are ready for change and take action have expressed interest in this committee which make me excited.  We have to give this a chance!  Our leader is committed to this work and I know that we are all for making change for the better when it comes to our students.  What attracted me to EvCC you’re your willingness to go big, take action and be leaders in our CTC system… and more importantly, with a PASSION for student success!

Work we are doing now and/or will be working on the next 3-5 months

  • Training: We are currently providing and working to improve entry, 3rd quarter, and program advising training for new and current faculty
  • Communicate to students and faculty advisors the importance to have the updated and correct program code for students. This will allow for a better assignment for both the student and faculty advisor
  • Share the definitions of Mandatory Entry Advising, Mandatory 3rd Quarter Advising, Program Advising. This would help the confusion especially between Program Advising and Mandatory 3rd Quarter Advising
  • Find another name for Mandatory 3rd Quarter Advising. It seems to confuse many of our students and faculty has also expressed the need to change the name. Mandatory Education Plan is an example of a new name
  • Review curriculum in College 101 to see how we can better educate students on the advising process and expectations from both the student and faculty
  • Look to see if 3rd quarter advising should be tied to quarters or credits
  • Create a clear mission statement for advising across campus
  • Continue to work on equitability of assignments within departments
  • Themed College 101 sections as we go forward with Guided Pathways
  • Jason Pfau is working on Degree Audit and we have already seen some improvements
  • Cross training for some departments who may need more demand for advisors in their department
  • Work with Peg Balachowski to be part of new instructor training which will help staff understand advising expectations and process
  • Work with other institutions that have already implemented Guided Pathways and also share the same advising model as we do here at EvCC
  • Work with individual departments to see what model may work for best for their students
  • Other important issues that will arise…

Thank you,

Andre Guzman, Associate Dean of Advising and College Success