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.