Progressing on the Path: An Update on Workgroup Activities and Our State Application

For those of you reading this blog for the first time, and are not yet aware of Guided Pathways, I urge you to take a look at the two previous blog postings. For those of you who have been reading and sharing your comments, this is an update on the conversations, discussions, questions, and progress we are making toward becoming a Guided Pathways College.

We now have a Guided Pathways website! Our Guided Pathways Task Force has been working on the college’s self-assessment, which will be sent to the State Chancellor’s Office by the end of December. Over 70 campus participants responded to the college’s self-assessment survey — we thank those of you who sent in excellent feedback, which was incorporated into our final draft.

Read on to see what your colleagues have been working on.

Workgroup #1: Meta Majors — Defining Areas of Interest to Help Students Identify the Right Major

A Meta Major can be defined as an area of interest. If a student thinks they are interested in health, they might declare a Health & Wellness Meta Major, for example, instead of declaring Nursing or Human Services, as his or her “major.” This is an example of possible Meta Majors:

Defining clear areas of interest are paramount to Guided Pathways working at Cypress College. Meta Majors are the umbrella for all the other workgroups, and, like the exploration that our students undergo, it is important that we do the deep thinking on Meta Majors before deciding how to define and set up these areas. Here are some of the questions being asked:

  • How many Meta Majors should we have? Start with a few and grow or start with many?
  • Should Meta Majors cross divisions?
  • What makes sense to a student and how do we ensure our students have a voice in this project?
  • For students who are unsure of their interests, how do we allow for some student discovery before narrowing the path into a major?

Workgroup #2:  Onboarding — Entering the Path

This workgroup has focused on the many entry points at Cypress College and how to streamline the process for students to successfully apply, enroll, and navigate their way through the maze of Financial Aid, Counseling, Education Planning, Scheduling, and enrollment in the courses needed for completion. Some ideas being generated:

  • My Path — this is a new version of CCCApply which will streamline the process for students applying to Cypress College. This is still being tested by the Chancellor’s Office Tech center, but should be available to us by Fall 2018.
  • Steps to Success App — an electronic app that helps guide students through the steps of Financial aid, counseling, education planning, and enrollment
  • College Scheduler — this scheduling software will allow a student to input their availability, their courses, and then search for classes with one click
  • One Year Schedule — allow students to register for an entire year, helping coordinators to anticipate need and ensure classes are available
  • Time to Complete Navigation — this app function would allow students to input time to degree status, allowing students to see the consequences of taking more or fewer classes and how this affects their time to completion

Workgroup #3: Communicating Pathways — Entering the Path

This workgroup is identifying how we currently communicate with students and how we can do it better. What technology is needed, and how can we effectively communicate so students are motivated to act?

  • An app, a better app, and an even better app! – the group is focused on developing an app that would allow us to send push alerts; provide access for each major or area to send specific messages on events, opportunities, and reminders; and engage with all the workgroups to identify how this app would interface across the campus.

Workgroup #4: Marketing for Pathways Initiative — Clarifying the Path

This workgroup is identifying ways to make the pathway meaningful. Real-time information that engages students in activities, informs them of clear choices, and puts career planning into the course-taking process is the focus.

  • Career Ladders for each Meta Major (including labor and salary data with on- and off-ramps)
  • Connect students in each Meta Major with mentors, workshops, research, service opportunities, and internship opportunities related to area of interest
  • Standardize Marketing Templates across disciplines so the message is clear, understandable, and recognizable to students


Workgroup #5: Retaining Students — Stay on the Path

This workgroup is focused on identifying and guiding students to the just-in-time assistance they need as they make their way toward choosing and completing their major.

  • Aligning Services to Course Progression — what support do students need in their first semester, third semester, last semester?
  • Early Alert — building a Cypress early intervention system that faculty and counselors can utilize and collaborate to identify at-risk students before they fall
  • Registration Drop-Down Menu — tying registration to meta major interest
  • Embedding Counselors within Meta Majors — tailoring counselors to areas of interest
  • Canvas shell to align Support Services with Courses — this would allow faculty and counselors to engage students with specific services and tailor the message for better engagement

If you have additional comments on any of the work group initiatives, or would like to participate, please add your comments in the discussion section of this blog. We appreciate your feedback!

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