​​​​​Redesigning the Student Experience: A Guided Pathways Framework​

An integrated, inclusive approach to reimagine and comprehensively redesign the SMC student experience. This effort involves reshaping the college as an equitable institution that is more effective and more efficient at serving our diverse student body with its diverse aspirations and its diverse social and academic preparations. Using a student-centered approach and seeing the institution through a student lens, the redesign engages the college as an inquiry-based, networked community to create an equity-driven institution as competent in student completion as it is in student access.

​​​Read the "Call to Action" (case statement)

Goals of the redesign

  1. reduce/eliminate equity gaps

  2. reduce time to completion

  3. increase rates of completion overall

The Concern

SMC is a well-known, quality institution with exceptional faculty, staff and programs. For the 27th consecutive year, SMC has topped the list of community colleges in the number of students transferring to the UC system as well as the number of Black and Latina/o/x students transferring to the UC system. SMC is 2nd in the total number of combined transfers to the CSU and the UC systems. However, too many of our students are not achieving their self-defined goals. In redesigning the college experience, we seek to build on our assets and bring additional efforts "to scale" for the benefit of all students so that we may address the problems plaguing not just SMC, but nearly all community colleges (and most 4-year institutions). Specifically, we seek to address the fact most of our students are not achieving their goal. Less than 20% of our SMC students earn a degree, a certificate, or transfer to a 4-year institution within 3 years of their first attendance at college. Moreover, the rate of Latina/o/x and Black students achieving that success is less than half the rate of White students.

Chart indicating the student achievements over a 3 year period.

The Guided Pathways Framework

The basis of the redesign effort is to utilize a Guided Pathways Framework to make the student experience more intentional, supported, and clear. We are constructing processes and interventions to help guide and support each student--regardless of preparation--to reach their self-defined completion effectively and efficiently.

  • The Guided Pathways Framework is not "a program", "an initiative", "a pilot", nor what we are going to "do".
  • The Guided Pathways Framework helps us design what we would "become".

"But don't pathways limit students' ability to explore?"

Rather than restricting students’ options, the Guided Pathways Framework is meant to help students make more informed decisions without limiting students' options. Students will always be free to "explore". In the Guided Pathways Framework they will have a structure in which to explore and a better understanding of the implications of that exploratio​n.

S​MC's Comprehensive Redesign Team (How do I get involved?​)

Redesign Team Purpose and Structure
Guided Pathways Four Pillars​​​​

Click to enter SMC's Redesign team map:



"Quick reads" for an introduction to the Guided Pathways Framework: