Creating a Barrier Free Path to Success and Completion

During the week of October 9, the Guided Pathways Teaching and Learning Subcommittee held workshops to help program mapping teams start their work creating a pathway for each program at the college. Fifty-eight faculty and staff attended the workshops and began their work with a document we call the Learning Inventory. Teams were made up primarily of faculty, but staff from various departments and divisions participated and helped create cross-campus as well as cross-disciplinary involvement in the process.

Learning Inventories outline the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) that students need to be successful in their general career field; the inventories capture each program’s thinking about what students need to do “out there in this field” so that they can build their foundation while at EvCC. A Learning Inventory also details the learning from general education that is most helpful to each career field of study; i.e. what is important for students to gain from distribution areas and core abilities in order to think/act from a holistic perspective within their chosen field?

The learning inventory also includes guiding questions from the 5 Dimensions of Equity to help teams think about how Aspiration, Access, Achievement, Economic Progress and Engagement play a role in the mapping process. Examples of these include: “What program barriers might get in the way of a student’s success? What climate exists in these program and career fields that might make some students feel unwelcomed? Are there opportunities at EvCC for students to gain a more positive sense of identity within your discipline/program?” (Access) and “Will students in my program have the necessary skills to compete in a global economy?” (Economic Progress). Asking mapping teams to use the lens of the 5 Dimensions of Equity helps to ensure that students will experience a barrier free pathway.

Participants in the workshops had an opportunity to express their concerns with the process. We knew before beginning these workshops that faculty worried about a number of possible outcomes related to mapping. Many of the concerns expressed by the teams were addressed in the workshop as teams worked through each step of the Learning Inventory.

The first part of the Learning Inventory asks teams to think with the end in mind, using the UDL (Universal Design for Learning) technique. What are the Majors and jobs in the field that you are representing? With this list, we next ask what are the concepts/ideas/ways of thinking/skills in each of our current Core Learning Outcomes that will add to student perspective/abilities/knowledge in a particular field. From there we focus on KSAs (Knowledge, Skills and Abilities) in a given field, and then look at HIPs (High Impact Practices) that will engage students in deep learning. Examples of HIPs include capstone projects, internships, and service learning.

Section 2 of the Learning Inventory

At the end of each workshop we gave participants the opportunity to share their experience working through the Learning Inventory with members of their team. Overwhelmingly participants said that having someone from outside their department was helpful because of different perspectives. Several participants said they learned a lot about other departments and divisions: “There are more options for a 2 year degree than I thought” and “If you are interested in this career you might consider this major.” Other comments included we should “Encourage students to be lifelong learners,” “Education goes beyond career,” and this is a “Learning centric approach” rather than a career centric approach.

Many of the teams in the workshops made a lot of progress on their Learning Inventory, and planned to meet again in the week following the workshop. Several teams have completed their work (Steps 1 – 6 of the LI) and are ready to begin investigating what a map looks like in Winter quarter.

A second series of workshops for Wave 2 mapping teams will begin Friday, November 3 and continue through Thursday, November 9. Notices will be sent in the Daily Digest with specific times. Phase 2, creating the maps, will begin in early Winter Quarter. We encourage everyone to think about the Learning Inventory and the Program Map as advising tools – how can you we use these documents to help create for a student their barrier free path to success and completion? We believe that the goal is to reduce barriers to completion in each program leading to the realization of students’ goals.