Beginning on Friday, November 1st, semester-by-semester program maps designed to assist students and advisors in getting students on the right pathway earlier in their academic careers, started going live. “Pathways” is a concept that you may be familiar with as it is one that we’ve been embracing as key to the College-to-Careers initiative and now have expanded across the rest of our programs. Each pathway is a series of one or more stackable programs leading toward a given career. In some cases the pathway is a single program (e.g., an AA where there are no basic or advanced certificates to be earned along the way). In other cases, the pathway may offer a student the opportunity to earn multiple credentials along the way (e.g., a Basic Certificate that leads to an Advanced Certificate that leads to an AAS).
Semester-by-Semester Maps (often referred to simply as Semester Maps) are the physical manifestation of the pathways. Each Semester Map provides an example of what a full-time student’s semester-by-semester route along a given pathway might look like. The map is not intended to replace an education plan but rather to assist both the student and advisor in understanding what’s required to complete a pathway. The map will be used by the advisor in working with the student to customize an education plan.
All of the Pathways have been categorized into ten Focus Areas. The purpose of the Focus Areas is to allow a student to declare an area of interest at a broad level (meta-major) as early as possible so that they can begin taking courses with far less risk of taking courses that won’t work toward their future program. The ten Focus Areas are: Advanced Manufacturing; Business and Professional Services; Construction Technology and Drafting; Culinary Arts and Hospitality; Healthcare; Information Technology; Life and Physical Sciences; Liberal Arts; Public and Human Services; and Transportation, Distribution and Logistics (TDL).
For each Focus Area we have developed a Focus Area overview and education plan template, a starter plan that includes space for the advisor to plan the first two semesters at most. We’ve also developed a new standardized Education Plan for use by advisors and students across the district. The new format is being developed by advisors (based on the various versions currently in use) to provide better clarity and accuracy of the plans.
So, how will it all work together?
The first choice a student makes is which of the ten Focus Areas they are interested in. This is a much easier choice than trying to decided between hundreds of specific programs. However, if the student isn’t ready to make the choice yet, and are undecided, the default is Liberal Arts. Based on their focus area choice, the advisor helps them develop a Focus Area Education Plan to get them started in the right direction. During his or her first semester the student engages in career exploration (through enhanced College Success and other means) and meets with their advisor to consider specific pathways. Once the student chooses a pathway they review the Semester Map for the suggested course sequence and work with their advisor to develop an Education Plan that customizes the pathway represented in the map based on the student’s starting point and preferred credit load.
These pathways and the maps that guide students along them are the culmination of a great deal of work by too many people to thank individually here but I want to thank everyone that’s been involved. Your dedication serves our students well!
– Scott Martyn, Associate Vice Chancellor, Strategy