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.
Expected Outcomes of the Redesign
- reduce/eliminate equity gaps
- reduce time to completion
- increase rates of completion
Overarching Goals of the Redesign
- Program Maps: All instructional programs (degrees, certificates, and major preparation for transfer) have an adaptable program map with on and off ramps.
- Areas of Interest: All first time in college students identify an Area of Interest at the time of application and select an Academic and Career Path by end of their first academic year.
- Student Support: All students receive proactive academic and non-academic support.
- Critical and Gateway Courses: All students complete a minimum of 9 degree-applicable units in their Area of Interest or Academic and Career Path within their first year.
- Scheduling/Enrollment: Course scheduling is data-driven and informed by students’ availability and comprehensive educational plans.
- Student-Facing Technology: All students utilize seamlessly integrated, interactive, comprehensive student-facing technology in support of their educational goals.
- Communication & Outreach: The college provides interactive, coordinated, and targeted communication throughout the student’s SMC experience.
- Professional Development: All faculty, staff, and administrators participate in strategic, frequent, and consistent professional development to sustain SMC's student-centered, equity-minded, data-driven efforts.
- Campus Community: The college provides the physical and social space conducive to campus engagement and to a sense of belonging.
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.
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 exploration.
SMC's Comprehensive Redesign Team (How do I get involved?)
"Quick reads" for an introduction to the Guided Pathways Framework: