What is the California Guided Pathways Project?

The State of California has designated $150 million to support the implementation of Guided Pathways throughout California’s community college system. The Community College Chancellor’s Office, working with the RP group and 20 community colleges, developed a plan for this implementation.

That plan aspires to align and unify most college initiatives and programs under the umbrella of Guided Pathways. The purpose is to help students achieve their academic goals more quickly and efficiently than many have experienced.

The initiative encompasses placement, counseling, financial aid, bridges to K-12, matriculation to universities, partnerships with area industries, improved tracking of student progress, Program and Institutional SLOs, IERP, enrollment management, class scheduling, planning and fiscal management , and the Basic Skills, Student Equity, Strong Workforce, and SSSP initiatives. In short, everything.

What is a ‘guided pathway’?

A pathway is any curriculum, such as an AD-T degree program or the course sequence that leads to a Certificate of Achievement.

A “guided” pathway provides students with clear programs maps that include recommended course sequences. These are designed from a user-friendly point of view of students so that, rather than navigating through a formidable and foreign maze, their career and academic options are made much clearer.

What’s in this plan?

Four principles (call “pillars” in California Guided Pathways literature) anchor the plan. These are:

  1. Clarifying Pathways
  2. Directing students to pathways
  3. Keeping students on their pathways
  4. Ensuring learning

A major component of the California Guided Pathways plan is the development of “Areas of Interest.” Sometimes called ‘meta-majors’ or ‘academies,’ their purpose is to invite students to explore areas that interest them and group students by those interests, rather than to asking students to select a particular major prematurely.

These areas of interest in many cases will correspond to existing academic divisions, but in some cases will not. Cerritos College students, faculty, classified staff, and administrators will collaborate to develop “areas of interests” or “academies” or “meta-majors” that best serve this, Cerritos College, student body. 

How much money will Cerritos College receive for this program?

$2.4 million. These funds will be disbursed over five years. The first installment in should be received on April 30, 2018. 

What actions has the College taken? 

Under the direction of the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the college established the “Exploratory Committee on Guided Pathways.” Members include classroom and non-classroom faculty, classified staff, administrators, and a student. Membership is open. Students are especially encouraged to join the Exploratory Committee.

Members of the committee attended a Guided Pathways workshop that laid out the processes for participating in this initiative.

That committee, along with participants who are not members of the Exploratory Committee, developed a series on responses to a 14-part self-assessment.

Next, the Exploratory Committee formed six taskforces to develop various aspects of the comprehensive Cerritos College Guided Pathways initiative. These are the taskforces:

  1. Path Creation: clarify the paths by forming and structuring ‘areas of interest’.
  2. On ramps: direct students to pathways through placement, EOPS, summer bridge, Cerritos Complete, and other “front door” initiatives.
  3. Communication: develop fliers, guides, and web-based resources that provide students with program maps and pathways.
  4. Focus Groups: develop student focus groups to help guide the project.
  5. Tracking: refine tracking and early alert systems, align Program and Institution SLOs with the Guided Pathways programs, as well as proposals like student mentors that would help guide and support students.
  6. The Guided Pathway: what comprised a ‘guided pathway’ at Cerritos College.

Will guided pathways limit or change the classes a department can offer each semester?

Possibly, but not necessarily.

Whether, or to what degree, class offerings are affected by the Guided Pathways initiative will be determined over the course of the next year in broad and inclusive discussions about the design of the program at this college.

Colleges that have already implement Guided Pathways have done so in many ways, so we have various models we can examine and adapt to the needs of our students.

Does Cerritos College currently have ‘guided pathways’?

Yes. Health Occupations, Technology, many Business programs, and some other programs on campus, have used guided pathways for decades. These programs clearly define which courses students should take to achieve their academic goal and in what order. They also provide clear program maps to their students.

More recently, the college has developed two programs that are guided pathways.

  • One is AIME (for Accelerated Instruction in English and Math), which guides students through a clearly identified sequence of basic skills English and Math courses.
  • The other is the Cerritos PACT (for Pathways for Achieving Completion and Transfer). This new program defines course sequences for students in enrolled in one of five participating majors.