Tag Archives: Guided Pathways

Road Trip to Palo Alto College

First stop on the Aspen Finalist road trip is Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas and it just so happens I have the perfect vehicle for this journey.

Meet Bruiser, our 1966 Chevrolet Corvair Corsa convertible. A perfect Write 6 x 6 virtual road trip ride.

I realize that this is a virtual trip, but I believe in a good soundtrack with some local music to get in the San Antonio mood.

“Jacaranda” by Rosita Fernandez know as San Antonio’s First Lady of Song.

“Honky-Tonk” with Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown who began his professional career in San Antonio.

And “Smart” by San Antonio indie girl band Girl in a Coma

Now on to Palo Alto College (PAC) in south San Antonio. PAC is part of the Alamo Colleges District. They serve about ten thousand students per semester, with a majority (78%) Hispanic student population.

I wish we all had more time for a deep dive, but that isn’t my reality. So here are a few things I learned and like about PAC and how they have developed an advising culture to promote student success.

Campus Culture – #PeopleOfPAC

The first thing that I noticed is the campus culture. Check out their Facebook page especially the #PeopleOfPAC. Beto O’Roarke was on campus recently with a huge crowd of students in attendance, there are regular posts with interesting events and speakers on campus all the time. They even have a mini farm where students can have their own garden space. I love this campus already. The affection for the community, students, faculty and employees seems genuine.

https://www.facebook.com/paloaltocollege/

Certified Advisors

Yes. Palo Alto College has a certification process and extensive training for their advisors.

Certified student advisors are required to have bachelor’s degrees and go through extensive training called Council on Adult and Educational Learning (CAEL.) The three primary modules for training involve roles, responsibilities, and duties as an advisor; academic advising theory; and academic advising sessions.

The training involves establishing a rapport with a student by understanding gender, ethnicity, equity, as well as conducting mock advising sessions for efficiency.

“That’s part of the whole advising model…but building a relationship with trust is a key aspect of having a good relationship,” said Eloisa Cordova, certified student advisor.

Read more here: https://pacpulse.com/2018/05/03/pac-students-place-their-trust-in-certified-student-advisors-hands/

Advising Centers Grouped by Field of Interest

At the Alamo Colleges-Palo Alto College, academic advising and career advising build a culture of integrated practices and shared responsibilities. Through collaborative teaching and learning, the advising process empowers diverse student populations to explore and navigate their academic and career pathways. Palo Alto College has three Academic Advising Centers. Each provide academic advising support to new and currently enrolled students.

  • The Business Opportunities Leadership Demand (BOLD) Occupations Advising Center,
  • Service Education Empowerment Diversity (SEED) Advising Center, and
  • the Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) Advising Center

http://mypaccatalog.alamo.edu/content.php?catoid=119&navoid=6513#Undergraduate_Advising_Center

The Advising Scorecard (Being Data Informed)

I am getting more and more interested in how we collect and use data to drive decision-making, especially in Advisement, and was impressed with PAC’s compilation of Data. There is a lot of information, so I’ll leave it to you to wander through any of these documents on your own.  I have listed the Data Components of PAC’s Advising Scorecard because it is something I haven’t seen before and find it interesting.

Palo Alto College 2017-2018 Fact Book

Palo Alto College Data Portal

Advising Scorecard

Data Components of PAC’s Advising Scorecard

  • Success Rates: Percent of Caseload that earned an A, B, or C (PGR), Failure Rate, Completion Rate & Withdrawal Rate
  • Semester to Semester Persistence: Students persisting from Fall to Spring or Spring to Fall
  • Fall to Fall Persistence: Students persisting from Fall to Fall
  • Caseload Contact Rate: Percent of caseload that has been advised by Certified Advisor
  • Graduation Rate: Percent of caseload that graduated in a particular semester
  • Early Alert Rate: Percent caseload that had a Level II Early Alert submitted
  • Academic Standing: Percent of caseload in good standing, on probation, or on dismissal

I hope you have enjoyed the first stop on our Aspen Finalists tour. Our next stop is Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Do I hear Salsa music?

 

2019 Finalists for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

This year for GCC’s Write 6 x 6 I have decided to put together a series of posts based on the 2019 finalists for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. I’ve chosen this topic because I always like to see what high achievers are doing so I can learn from them. My focus will be primarily on Academic Advisement and student support in alignment with Guided Pathways.

Every two years, the Aspen Institute selects ten community colleges who have improved student success rates and ultimately awards one with a $1 million dollar prize. This year’s winner will be announced in April.

The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence recognizes exceptional achievements in four areas:

  • Student learning;
  • Certificate and degree completion while in community college and after transferring to a four-year institution;
  • Employment and earnings rates after graduation; and
  • Access for and success of students of color and low-income students.

Here are the Community Colleges in alphabetical order who made the list for 2019:

  • Alamo Colleges District – Palo Alto College – San Antonio, TX
  • Broward College – Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • CUNY Kingsborough Community College – Brooklyn, NY
  • Indian River State College – Fort Pierce, FL
  • Miami Dade College – Miami, FL
  • Mitchell Technical Institute – Mitchell, SD
  • Odessa College – Odessa, TX
  • Pasadena City College – Pasadena, CA
  • Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom – Lakewood, WA
  • San Jacinto College – Pasadena, TX

These are colleges I’ve wanted to explore but really haven’t had the time. I’m inspired by Write 6×6 and even though I am ridiculously busy, I know this is important so here I am …. writing to learn for myself and anyone else who wants to come along for the ride. All aboard for the Aspen road trip! Buckle up as we head for our first stop at Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas.

 

Change is coming…

District Transformation Plan…Guided Pathways…Industry Partnerships…Enterprise Performance…a bunch of words, what do they all mean? How is it going to change what I do everyday? Why should I care?

These are all things you may be feeling. I am excited about all of the changes but I am especially excited about Guided Pathways and the change it could mean for our students. Guided Pathways is a national movement embraced by community colleges and universities alike. Here’s the thing…it’s not even a new concept but one, when done right, will have tremendous impact on how students reach their goal.

I want you to think about what drove you to commit your professional life at a community college. Was it a love of your discipline? Was it because you love teaching as opposed to research? Was it because you loved your college-experience so much you didn’t want to leave? Was it because you simply want to make a difference for others? Whatever the case, I want you to ask yourself if you’re ready to take a journey and be part of the movement…In the great words of Alexander Hamilton (aka Lin-Manuel Miranda in “My Shot”) “This is not a moment, it’s the movement.”

Joining the movement for Guided Pathways isn’t about something we’re “doing”, it’s about something we’re “becoming” and will require a renewed commitment to what brought us to the community college in the first place.

Guided Pathways will result in an actual map that students will follow. These maps will be in designated “clusters” so students can easily move from one degree to another in the same cluster with little loss of credit…By the way, did you know that on average, community college students graduate with over 90 credit hours? And if students want to change their cluster all together, for example from Engineering to Business, then this can happen too. Remember, it’s a pathway not a prison.

So, what does all this mean to you? If you’re a faculty member, it may mean asking some questions about what can you do to help students through the “gateway” courses. These are courses with high enrollment and low success rates. It may mean you are challenged to think of your discipline is a way that is outside your comfort zone. If you are an Academic Advisor, it may mean continuous training with a lowered and designed caseload of students to guide.  But you are not alone and we have amazing colleagues who can help us grow in our chosen profession.

But…why exactly are we on this committed movement of Guided Pathways? Ultimately, it’s to achieve student success, equity, and economic upward mobility for the students we serve. So, we have to ask ourselves…are we really student-ready? Are we willing to adapt to the changes that are surely coming? Are we willing to take on this movement? Remember, “this is not a moment, it’s the movement.” I say, “Let’s go!”

 

 

Guided Pathways and Collaborative Advising

In the spring of 2015,  GCC advisors were asked to develop proposals for new models of advising we believed would improve our services to students. To my knowledge and dismay, none of the models gained any traction. It was an extremely valuable exercise that allowed us to reflect and determine how we would change advising at GCC if given the opportunity.

The group I participated in developed a proposal for a new model called Collaborative Advising. The model centers around stronger connections between advisement and academic departments, specialized advising, and strategic use of technological resources.

Along comes Guided Pathways, a growing national conversation in community colleges about improving student experience and completion.  Everything about Guided Pathways strengthens the case for Collaborative Advising. Maybe the model deserves a second look.

Read more about Guided Pathways and Collaborative Advising here. I’ll be happy to hear back from you if you want to talk.

Kindly,
Kristin

 

 

Filed under: STEAM Tagged: Academic Advising, Collaborative Advising, Guided Pathways, Write 6X6