At the Department Chairs meeting earlier this week, Alison Stevens announced the college has money left over in the Instruction budget to jumpstart the work on Guided Pathways. Specifically, there is enough money for 800 faculty hours of work to be completed by June 30. Guided Pathways work is interwoven with what we already do to help students succeed, and this money offers us a chance to do some initial work targeting areas in which we believe students would benefit from changes. The department chairs who were present had a discussion on how to use this money and three ideas emerged: 1) Form a committee of interested faculty to create a curriculum guide template. 2) Form a committee of interested faculty to research meta majors at other institutions, decide on meta major categories which are a good fit for EvCC, and seek input from all departments on which degrees fit into which category. 3) Ask for grant applications from individuals, departments, and/or other faculty groups of interest for how they would use the funds to accomplish Guided Pathways work at EvCC prior to June 30.
The last one is particularly exciting. This is the beginning of a new era where faculty identify things that need to change and change them. Whenever I’m talking with colleagues we’re never at a loss when it comes to identifying problems and how we think they should be fixed. I think the thing that’s kept most of us from fixing them is time and money. Though this go around doesn’t provide the former it at least provides the latter. The college isn’t always able to find money for the things we need to get done so we need to take advantage of this.
Start thinking about what we can do in the next two months. You don’t need to propose something grandiose. If you have a small project in mind that can be finished by June 30 that’s great. If you want to spend time doing serious planning and starting something bigger that’s great, too. You can see the book Redesigning America’s Community Colleges for ideas on things that various other colleges have been doing. Common themes are
- Mapping pathways to student end goals
- Helping students enter a path
- Keeping students on the path
- Ensuring that students are learning.
And while you are planning, keep in mind the main point from Achieving the Dream: using data to make informed decisions and to test whether changes have had an effect.
Please use the Comments section of this blog to vet ideas you might have for projects.