Program Mapping: Who, what, when, and why?

During Opening Week you hopefully heard the phrase “program mapping” several times. What is this? Guided Pathways has four “pillars” for its work: getting students on a path, clarifying the path, keeping students on a path, and ensuring learning. Program mapping as we are implementing it relates to the second and last pillars.

We serve a large number of first generation college students. Our current “cafeteria model” of college, where myriad choices are presented as equal, may be more of a detriment than a benefit. Data shared by Sean Gehrke from IR showed that the average student at EvCC is taking about 29 credits more than the 90 needed to finish an associates degree; that’s two full-time quarters. One hypothesis of the Guided Pathways model is that we can reduce this number by making clear to students at the beginning what the path to completion looks like, reducing the number of extraneous courses taken.

Another key idea behind program mapping is to take a step back and do what Peg taught us to do in our courses: design with the end in mind. The majority of our students come here with the goal of a certificate or degree that leads to a career. If the students’ goal is a career then we can help by creating a pathway for them that includes knowledge, skills, and abilities that would contribute to success in that career. For example, Brett Kuwada has pointed out that because Engineering companies place great importance on group work, we might point those students towards CMST& 230 – Small Group Communication to fulfill one of their Humanities requirements. I frequently try to steer ELL students to Beth Peterson’s DRMA 130 class – Improv and Sketch Comedy because I know it will help them feel comfortable with speaking conversationally and with understanding idioms and nuances of American culture. I don’t know if any of them take me up on that suggestion, but I suggest it because I think it will help them in many ways, including applying for a job. These kinds of things wouldn’t be requirements but rather default suggestions we could give students in the pathways we advise.

This work will contribute to future revisions to curriculum guides and to the logic we will build into the advising software we implement in the next couple years. Program mapping is a key step in a process to take some of the planning burden out of the advisor role and make room for one-on-one connections regarding personal, academic, and career goals.

The process of program mapping will look something like this:

Phase 1 (started during Tuesday of Opening Week): 

Phase 2 (choose one: Oct 9, 10, 11, 12 @ 2:30-4:30pm or Oct 13 @ 10am-12pm and 1-3pm):

  • Work as a program mapping team through a learning inventory packet, finishing by end of fall quarter
    • Build foundation elements for mapping: identify knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for careers
    • Identify high impact practices and other instructional elements that benefit students
    • Review program outcomes as it relates to what we expect our students to do “out there” that we are responsible for “in here”

Phase 3 (winter quarter)

  • Work across departments to figure out how we can leverage the core distribution requirements to meet our program outcomes
  • Complete program maps by April 30, 2018 in time to report to College Spark

If you haven’t already, sign up for a program mapping team. Staff and administrators are welcome to sign up, too. While it will be critical to have at least one pathway expert in each team, mixing of perspectives will yield some great insights. That also gives us a chance to work more with folks in different parts of campus. The time commitment here will be two hours at a workshop you attend with your team in October, a couple hours after that to finish any work that wasn’t completed there, and another two hour workshop in the winter quarter that involves heavy cross-campus discussion about course recommendations for distribution requirements.

One thought on “Program Mapping: Who, what, when, and why?”

  1. I’m not clear on the time options for Phase 2. Is it that you could choose to meet from 2:30-4:30 on any of the October 9, 10, 11, and 12 dates OR you could meet on October 13 from 10a to 12p OR on October 13 from 1 to 3pm? I can’t find any other way to break those options out to where the time is equivalent. Thanks for clarifying.

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