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,

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.

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!

Guided Pathways Resources

As we move forward with incorporating the elements of Guided Pathways into our work here at EvCC, it will be good to have a group of resources to refer back to and to pass on to those who are just finding out about Guided Pathways and wondering what this model is. With this need in mind this blog post is focused on gathering some of the most helpful articles and websites we have come across in hopes that we can continue to equip you with solid sources about what Guided Pathways work may look like. I’ve also included links to institutions across the nation who are a bit ahead of us in doing Guided Pathways to help us build an awareness of possible options as we decide what will best suit EvCC.

Wondering what the Guided Pathways model is? The Community College Research Center (CCRC) has published a number of papers on Guided Pathways. This short, 6 page review, titled What We Know About Guided Pathways, outlines the basic ideas and gives you a taste of what the book Redesigning America’s Community Colleges, explores in much greater detail (FYI, we really recommend reading the book – there are many copies available in our library.). A companion paper Implementing Guided Pathways: Tips and Tools can give you an idea of the timeline and philosophy an institution will need to develop to succeed. You’ll notice that faculty buy-in is defined as a crucial component critical for success of Guided Pathways at any institution.

The National Center for Inquiry and Improvement published a longer article delving more deeply into typical questions occurring when an institution moves towards a Guided Pathways model in Guided Pathways Demystified: Exploring Ten Commonly Asked Questions about Implementing Pathways.

The CCRC has also developed an in depth packet of Guided Pathways resources, containing a research case study from Miami Dade and Planning and Adoption templates to help institutions effectively determine where to target their Guided Pathways efforts.

The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges of Washington has created a Guided Pathways page including information about the College Spark and SBCTC Guided Pathways grant, an editorial by Jan Yoshiwara (SBCTC Education Director), and handouts from the Clover Park Technical Guided Pathways Workshop which occurred earlier this year.

We’ve also been researching other institutions and how they are already incorporating pieces of the Guided Pathways model into their curriculum guides. Here are a few examples which have stood out:

Broward College in Florida has a clear approach for students interested in a biology degree to determine what classes to take each quarter for both those attending both full and part time. In addition Broward’s guide includes links to up-to-date career information for the degree, financial aid, prior learning credit, and internships.

Baltimore County Community Colleges have developed clear pathways for students heading into the Arts and Humanities in their Arts and Humanities program path guide by using an approach which demonstrates how Guided Pathways can keep diverse course choices available to students while communicating clearly what is needed for each degree option.

WA’s very own Shoreline Community College has included transfer-ability of courses to 4 year institutions in their program/curriculum guides for students. The physical therapy guide is particularly noteworthy for advising students on which courses to take for the 4-year institution they hope to enter. Scroll down to the 4th page of the guide to see the section on Select WA state college/university major preparation and recommendations.

Do you have a resource for Guided Pathways work which you would like to share? Post links in the comments section so that we can build a source which people can refer to as we move forward. Keep an eye out on this blog for more resources as well as a blog post on meta-majors coming soon.

A Grant Opportunity

Take a walk with me out of your office and into the nearest parking lot.  Stand there for a moment and imagine that you have never been to college, no one in your family has been to college, and your best resource for figuring out college is a friend of yours who is in their first quarter of classes.  You’ve been told that going to college means a better paying job.  As you stand in the parking lot and look at the buildings, which one should you go in?  Who will you ask to find out “how do I get in”, “how am I going to pay for this” and “what classes should I take for the job I want”?  Stand in the parking lot for a moment and consider that the answers to those questions, are set up in a complex system which fundamentally assumes that you know what you are doing and who to ask for help.  Consider terms like curriculum guide, prerequisite, credits, and acronyms like DTA, FAFSA, and COMPASS which are crucial for navigating the college system and ask yourself if someone like you, who’s best resource is a friend in their first quarter, will be able to make it?  If you want to earn a transfer degree you will have to figure out what a Humanities, Social Science, and Science requirement is and to determine, for example, which of the 135 options of Humanities classes you should take, whether they are offered this quarter, and whether the times and dates will work with your work schedule.  You will do this task probably on your own unless you figure out the value of a program advisor (another new role you are not familiar with) and get connected to one prior to the end of your second quarter.  It’s highly likely that you will pay for classes you don’t need, possible that you will register for classes for which you are not adequately prepared, and that you will eventually give up on this process and become one of the 75% of students at EvCC who entered planning to earn a degree but who do not complete it. (Data collected in 2015 EvCC Institutional Research)

As faculty we believe passionately in the power of learning, the transformative change possible in people who arrive at our classes on the first day and who leave more knowledgeable and better equipped on the last day.  We work incredibly hard, devoting countless hours to helping the students in our classes succeed.  While what happens in our classrooms may be stellar, the scenario above points out that our organizational structure needs adjustment; we need a different model of how we get students into our classes.  This is not a structural change which an administrator can develop and implement, it must come from faculty who are experts in their discipline who know what kind of skills are needed for the jobs in their fields and how best to help students acquire those skills as part of completing a degree.  The organizational change I am talking about, which requires us to examine what we do with a lens for smoothing out some of the road blocks in a student’s journey, is fundamental to the guided pathways model.  We have the opportunity to apply for a grant from College Spark for $500,000 over five years to financially aid us as we fix the issues we know need solutions.  By applying for this grant the administration of the college is taking steps to secure financial support for the work that we will do to craft the changes we want to see at EvCC.  The deadline for this grant is coming up quickly on April 21.  A requirement of the application is a letter of support from our faculty union or the Faculty Forum.   If you think this money will be helpful to our work here at EvCC as we move forward in ways that improve a student’s abilities to attain their educational goals, please contact one of your AFT officers and attend the next Faculty Forum to express your support for guided pathways.