The Senate has begun its everyday work such as meeting on the first and third Thursdays of each month, appointing faculty representatives to governance committees, reviewing the tenure process with our new faculty hires, and working through “academic and professional matters.” But our long-term work this year and for several to come will involve some radical changes in the way that GCC enacts its mission. The introduction and successful realization of the Guided Pathways model of course and program design will be an important aspect of the Senate’s work.
As you know, the Senate is empowered through AB 1725 and California Ed Code section 53200, and locally through our Mutual Gains Agreement, to assume sole or shared responsibility for the “Ten plus One” – academic and professional matters that range from curriculum to policies for program review, and beyond. Locally, we have agreed to share responsibility for “Educational program development” with GCC’s Academic Affairs committee, and it is this item in the “Ten plus One” that is most immediately concerned as we collaborate to implement Guided Pathways here at Glendale.
Our VPI, Dr. Michael Ritterbrown, and Associate Professor of Mathematics, Dr. Tom Voden have provided several information sessions on Guided Pathways. Last year, Dr. Sonya Christian, President of Bakersfield College which is one of California’s early adopters of Guided Pathways, also visited the campus to introduce her college’s methods and progress in implementing this nationwide effort to improve student success.
Most often presented with the image of four pillars, Guided Pathways is designed to be a student-centric vision of the community college path which will clarify students’ course requirements, enhance their ability to enter a pathway that is defined, available, and achievable in two years, and will support students through a variety of services to prevent their “falling off” their chosen path. The final pillar of the GP four is that we will “ensure learning.” Each one of the pillars will involve the Senate’s thoughtful collaboration.
Perhaps the most promising and appealing facet of Guided Pathways is its insistence on seeing the community college experience, from start to finish, through our students’ eyes. As faculty, our students and our subject matter constitute our primary concern. And we are, of course, one of the first points of contact for our students. These essentials necessitate our active involvement in the development of Guided Pathways.
This summer, the Chancellor’s Office released its report, Vision for Success. In the report, Guided Pathways features as the initiative by which the California Community Colleges plan to achieve their first commitment, to “focus relentlessly on students’ end goals.” This commitment accompanies a goal to meet California’s needs by the timely credentialing, graduating, and transferring of much greater percentages of our students. It also features the goal of reducing serious and persistent achievement gaps (or as Camika Royal has named them, “opportunity gaps,” in response to scholar, Gloria Ladson Billings’ identification of the “education debt.”) If we adopt Guided Pathways well, we will help all our students to move efficiently and successfully toward their educational goals, simultaneously moving California towards its employment and economic needs, and towards genuine equity.