FAQ

What is a Pathway model?
An integrated, institution-wide approach to student success based on intentionally designed, clear, coherent and structured educational experiences, informed by available evidence, that guide each student effectively and efficiently from her/his point of entry through to attainment of high-quality postsecondary credentials and careers with value in the labor market.

How can I find out more about the fundamentals of Pathways?
Drawing on research conducted by the Community College Research Center as well as the experience of several national organizations, the national Guided Pathways initiative led by the American Association of Community Colleges grouped the essential, evidence-based practices of Guided Pathways into four dimensions or “Four Pillars”: (1) Clarify the Path, (2) Enter the Path, (3) Stay on the Path, and (4) Ensure Learning. For more information on the four pillars and Pathways.

MiraCosta College is spending a great deal of resources on Pathways? Does it even work?


Isn’t Pathways only for Student Services?
Collaboration is important to any major organizational reform, but it is critical to efforts to implement pathways. To map out program pathways, faculty need to work with transfer institutions and employers in order to define meaningful learning outcomes. And they must also collaborate within and across departments to systematically build those outcomes across a clearly defined sequence of courses. To help guide students into program pathways and to keep them on track, faculty and student services staff need to work together to monitor and support students as they enter and make progress. Everyone has a role! Want to get involved in Pathways work? Sign up for one of the workgroups.

What can colleges expect to accomplish by using Pathways?
National research on colleges who have implemented Guided Pathways shows that it generally takes four to five years for an institution to implement the model because it requires a comprehensive and transformative institutional commitment. Typically, the first year involves high-level planning and communicating vision and goals for change. The second year involves setting the foundation for implementation and change. The third year involves large-scale implementation including policy and procedural reform. In the fourth year, implementation is refined and expanded upon, and in the fifth year, processes for evaluation and improvement are determined to inform future efforts and refinement.

In March 2018, MiraCosta College aims to:

For 2017-18 Academic year, MiraCosta aims to:

How does Pathways relate to other initiatives like Basic Skills, OEI, Doing What Matters, College Promise, dual enrollment efforts (CCAP and Non-CCAP Agreements), etc.?
Pathways is not a new program or initiative but is rather a planning framework for colleges to bring together and scale effective programs, services, activities that currently exist into structures that include all students. Pathways requires a whole-college transformational reform, which entails a breaking-down of silos and more dynamic collaboration between faculty, administrators, and staff. The Pathways framework will help colleges to integrate the best aspects of all the initiatives into cohesive strategies that help more students get to and through college.

Do Pathways restrict student choice?
In a Pathways model, student are supported in their understandings and selection of an area of study that is best suited for them.

Currently, the path through general education at most community colleges resembles the menu at the Cheesecake Factory—hundreds of options and never enough time to even read through them before we are asked to order. Not surprisingly, students faced with this multitude of choices struggle with course selection, and the requirements are often so
confusing that they make those “irrational choices” we refer to above by picking courses off their desired pathway, or satisfying the same requirement multiple times.

If you don’t believe the challenges associated with trying to navigate a current area of study, take a moment and map out the classes you would need to transfer to CSU San Marcos as a marketing major. Just creating a plan of courses is extremely challenging and that doesn’t include the next step, getting the courses you need.

Read more about this question as well as several others: Guided Pathways
Demystified: Exploring Ten Commonly Asked Questions about Implementing Pathways

What is “Redesigning the Student Experience”?
While Pathways is the primary outcome to increase the student success (graduation, certificate completion, or transfer), Redesigning the Student Experience is the internal work being done by district faculty and staff with input/feedback from students.

Will the course I teach be eliminated?
Ultimately, nothing is lost in terms of GE under a guided pathways model; rather, we might very well gain a benefit that staunch defenders of the liberal arts education model should embrace—a more predictable set of liberal arts outcomes that a greater number of students actually achieve upon completion.

Nothing actually changes on this front under a guided pathways model. The 10 to 14 courses students take still work together to form the GE package and thus are the foundation for attainment of the four key learning outcomes.

HELP? What do all these terms mean?
Check out the glossary here.

Who do I contact with questions?
Please feel free to contact anyone on the Communications workgroup. If we do not know the answer, we will get you to the right place.