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