Clarify the Paths
Program Map Template (posted 4/5/2018)
This template outlines program mapping design principles and provides a structure colleges can use for mapping. (California Guided Pathways)
PRACTITIONER, PRESIDENT, AND PARTNER PERSPECTIVES
Gretchen Schmidt, Executive Director, AACC Pathways Project, Pathways Partner; Marty Cavalluzzi, President, Pierce College Puyallup, Pathways College; Karen Stout, President & CEO, Achieving the Dream, Pathways Partner; Uri Treisman, Director, Charles A. Dana Center, The University of Texas at Austin; Bruce Vandal, Vice President, Complete College America (posted 4/5/2018)
(1) Clarifying the path we always say is the first part. And the colleges have to provide clear, efficient, transparent pathways for students through the institutions.
(2) And where we’re getting with the guided pathways is that students will be able to see every single course that they’re taking — “How does that map out to my career?” So you’re not just in English 101. You’re in English 101 because you need to learn these skills because they directly apply to your career, and here’s how. You’re in this math class because you need to learn these skills. And this is exactly how they’re going to apply to your career.
(3) And what we learned is that standalone sequential developmental education, even tweaked and accelerated a little bit, if it’s not connected to a program, is not going to be effective. And so now we’re in this Developmental Education Redesign 2.0 that requires dev ed to be connected to the programs. It can’t be standalone anymore. And so that is like the fundamental point of connection between developmental education and pathways.
(4) All 17 professional associations of mathematicians now endorse the idea that students should be in math courses that are directly relevant to their programs of study.
(5) Getting the students through their gateway courses and into programs of study in their first year then enables us to build a set of supports for students all the way through into their second year and all the way to graduation.
I was given a full layout of every semester. Each semester was given a set amount of classes to take. I was fortunate enough to take some classes in high school that transferred to the college here, which saved me a lot of time and money. So I was able to pretty much follow the layout exactly. Some classes were taken out of order. For the most part, they do the order for a reason, because it usually transitions from one semester to the next very well. The class that I took out of order was a little more confusing. It was the next step from my previous class that I was supposed to take, but it did not fit in my schedule, so I took that class, the advanced class before the intro class, and so it was a little bit harder at first. I did talk with my advisor about it. He told me what I was doing, it wasn’t very much recommended. But after talking through it, he thought that it would be okay for me to follow through with it.
I started out with the advisor, and I told them that I wanted to do a particular pathway. I didn’t have an idea of really what I wanted to do. I just chose something that I thought would be best for the future as in where the direction of — we’re going as an economy and everything. Then I found out I didn’t like it. I looked at what I’m passionate about, which is art, but then I was like, well I can’t really pursue art here to a full bachelor’s, and I’m not ready to transfer, especially to an art school, where I know they are very demanding of you. And so I looked at what I was actually doing on my spare time, and I was going to business seminars, and I was going to conferences. I was like, “Why didn’t I look at this before?” I went to my counselor, and I was like, “I want to go into business.” And they were right there to say, “This is what you need to do.” They gave me this whole — my guided pathway. It keeps me focused so that I’m not off gallivanting to class to class. It was a really good experience once I found my passion.
What I did when I met with my advisors was we talked about what my career goals were, so what were jobs that I would like to see myself in, what were jobs that maybe I didn’t know about going into it. So like, for example, I didn’t know about diversity and inclusion as a work field, especially in higher education. So we had talked about it a little bit and as a kind of I guess an alternative for my other career goals, as a fall-back. That was something that I was kind of aiming for, so degree-wise I’m going to work towards that. They were talking to me about so HR, do you want to do supply chain and what does that really entail, so HR is going to be more of working with your employee law and things like that so is that something that interests you, entrepreneurship they have in our business program, so they asked me, “Would you open your own business?” And I said, “Yes.” But as well as possibly wanting to go finish out my four-year degree, and then telling them again what I want to do long term, like “Okay, what I recommend for you is to do the general business management, because it sounds like you could really just do all of them if we let you, if we had like somehow just a way to do all of them, you would do them. So we’re going to put you in the general business management, you’ll take a little bit of everything, then when you go to your four-year, you can pick an emphasis accordingly. So let’s say your career path changes, you kind of wanted to do HR, but you like some of the stuff that goes on in supply chain management, instead of putting you in one of the other and kind of making you pick, since it is a two-year school, and you do plan to go to a four-year school, how about if we just do general and you can pick your emphasis later.” And then because I ended up switching up things a little bit and trying to get into the diversity field, they met with me again and they’re like, “We’re going to keep you in general, but when you go to your four-year, you should pick HR because that’s usually an HR position within a company or a college. That’s where you would find your diversity team. So stick with HR, you’ll learn a lot, also you’ll learn about a lot of the laws and stuff like that,” which is a big part of diversity and inclusion, as well as they kind of set me up for, they talked about my master’s, they kind of really take into consideration what my long-term goals are and not just what I’m doing here. So that’s kind of how they help you pick it.
To me a Guided Pathway means, I feel like it’s a lifesaver, really, because honestly, I did not know what to do. I just thought I can just pick classes that I need to take and just try to get through them as quick as I can, but not really. For me, the way my system was kind of set up was, in the fall, I would do like an English class, a math class, maybe a science, and then, in the spring, I would do my humanities classes or a history class. With the guided pathway, that really helped me out.
One of the nice things is that our school partners with a lot of the universities in the state to make sure that when you transfer — you do a two plus two program, or something similar. That every course that you take towards that, every gen ed, and all the basic course material before you go to the bachelor’s, they try to make sure that every credit that you take transfers fully for that particular program.
The career plan is discussed a lot. I think every semester there’s at least one professor who talks about making sure that you know where you’re going with it. Teachers change their minds when they’re learning to be teachers of what they want to do, as you take more classes. I started out, actually, as a secondary education major. I switched over to elementary education because we don’t offer an English education major here, so I switched to elementary cuz then I could still teach that. It’s always discussed, and it’s always kind of open forum, at some point throughout the semester, of everyone asking questions about it, so that you get a lot of feedback. Career path-wise they make sure to let you know the different options, and there’s always options out there. My professors have been really good about that.
The student navigator makes it really easy for you to find the classes that you need to be in to either transfer or to just get further in your degree.
The school is really helpful. Actually, I came in from high school, right outta high school, and I thought I was gonna go into the law enforcement. I thought that was my career because I’ve always been wanting to help people, but once I met with one of the career advisors here, my whole career path changed a lot. I am a DACA recipient, which means that I couldn’t join the law enforcement program. So it was a long process because they had to help me guide, like what are the other alternatives for helping people? So I guess my career path changed a lot, and it was really nice that this school has a lot of different programs that are within helping people, so that kinda gave me an idea of where to go and what I wanted to do. I actually switched my program twice in this college. So I started off with the human services, but then, I took one semester of that, and I realized that it wasn’t quite what I wanted to do. She guided me, and she told me, “You know what? I see a lotta leadership in you, and I feel like that’s kinda what you really wanna do. You’re a leader, but you also wanna help people,” so that’s what made me be in the leadership development.