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Pathways FAQs

  • Pathways is all about STUDENT SUCCESS!
  • It is about helping our students reach their educational goals in the shortest time and least cost possible, but with maximum preparation and support! 
  • Our students take an average of 95 hours to complete a 60-hour associate degree.  They often take classes that they do not need to complete their degrees and classes that will not transfer.  For example, one student took over 12 hours in math when the certificate he was pursuing did not even require math.  This is an example of a student who needs our help in understanding educational requirements and how to create a pathway that gets him to the credential he needed without unnecessary time and expense.
  • It is up to us to define clear, delineated pathways for students and then to support them in becoming good students, good decision-makers, good employees, and good transfer students.  
  • Faculty will NEVER be asked to lower standards.  One of our core values is excellence, and we are committed to the appropriate level of rigor in all of our courses.  However, faculty will be asked to look for barriers in their classes and in instruction.  Additional resources and new instructional strategies may needed to help students with the challenges of rigorous coursework, and support needs to be in place to help them understand how to develop from a novice learner to a competent learner.  This support may be outside the classroom, but it may also be embedded in the curriculum and integrated into instructional delivery.  This was the guiding principle in our math re-design: how do we assist students through re-designed course materials, instructional strategies, and support systems so that math is not a barrier to our students’ completion of credentials.  In several areas as faculty have examined course content, they have found that, over time, the content reflects less of the required student learning outcomes (SLOs) than it did the content and structure of a particular textbook.  Returning to the student learning outcomes as the basis of course content removed unintentional barriers to students and freed faculty members to concentrate on the intended outcomes of the course.  In the life and physical sciences area, faculty analyzed where students began to withdraw from the course or fail tests.  They, then, tied this to the content of the course and put intentional support in place at the needed time during the course to assist students through difficult and challenging material.  All of these kinds of strategies involve re-thinking classroom instruction, course materials, and support; but none of them involves lowering standards or rigor.
  • The work of Pathways is to remove barriers to completion, provide the best instruction possible, and support students in their educational journeys.   For example, data indicate that many students apply to San Jac, but never complete the required steps to be admitted.  Examination of the process of application to admission revealed that many students stop at the point where the meningitis shot is required, which indicated that the meningitis shot was a financial barrier for many students.  The Student Continuum Task Force recommends moving the meningitis shot requirement in the admissions process so that it occurs after the student is admitted.  We are investigating ways to fund the shot through financial aid or other health services. 
  • Pathways touches every area of the College.  Therefore, much expertise and effort are needed.  There are many faculty, staff, and administrators working on Pathways.  Many more will be asked to help next year.  Check out our website on The Exchange/ Pathways/ Pathways Work at San Jac to see who is working on the teams right now.
  • All of the areas of study and certificates have been grouped into eight common areas called Academies (formerly called meta-majors).  Students will often be placed in courses with other students in the same Academy, which will give faculty the opportunity to design assignments that are specific to that Academy.  In this way, we can engage students more effectively and demonstrate how the skills they learn in a particular class will be used in their careers.  Academies will have embedded advisors and faculty advisors to support students.  Academies may include suggested co-curricular activities, such as clubs or services learning, that will further engage students in the college experience and in their chosen fields. 
  • A Pathway is a certificate or degree plan designed by faculty who have expertise in that Pathway area, such as business or social and behavioral sciences, which prepares students for transfer to a university as a junior without excess credit hours or to enter the workforce in their chosen field.  Faculty identify the right courses for each Pathway, being sure that the coursework meets state requirements, the requirements of the receiving transfer institution, or the skills requirements for specific jobs in the workforce.   
  • The Student Continuum Task Force is a group of faculty and staff from various disciplines and functions who are working to redesign and re-imagine the first semester and entry processes for first-time-in-college students.  They examined and redesigned processes to remove barriers and redesigned a student’s first semester to include an intensive two-week onboarding process that includes elements from the current student success courses (EDUC 1300, PSYC 1300, GUST 0305).  During this two-week course, students investigate career paths in the Academies, assess career aptitude, participate in non-cognitive assessment for attitude and “grit,” receive information on student skills and what it means to be in college, receive intensive advising, and are paired with faculty advisors in the Academies for their chosen pathway.  After finishing the two-week course, students enter 14-week and 7-week classes to complete their first semester, with faculty advisors, contextualized instruction, and intentional support along the way.