Guided Pathways program makes it way to CRC

Cosumnes River College was one of 20 California community colleges selected to participate in the Guided Pathways Project, an initiative starting in early April.

According to the California Guided Pathways website, this project will help selected community colleges cultivate student accesses by developing structured educational experiences which support students in attaining postsecondary credentials and careers.

Faculty on campus who are familiar or involved with the Guided Pathways Project have likened the initiative to a GPS that guides students in their academic careers.

“Through Guided Pathways, we seek to help the students by providing them with a clear road map or GPS specifying which route or specific courses to take so they don’t have to spend unnecessary time at CRC,” said Head of the Business Department Man Phan.

Phan added that the purpose of Guided Pathways is to provide students with a “descriptive and easy-to-use” plan that guides them through college in order to complete a certificate or degree.

CRC held a Guided Pathways summit on Friday in order to discuss and resolve the various issues circling students’ academic careers at CRC.

The summit was open to all campus employees and was well attended, with a diverse mix of approximately 82 faculty, staff and administration in attendance.

“The main thing that I pulled from the planning summit was the sense of the complexity of the issues involved in Guided Pathways and an even more profound sense of the importance that we get Guided Pathways right,” said attendee Rick Schubert, a philosophy professor.

Alexander Casareno, interim dean at the Elk Grove Center, said that once Guided Pathways is in place, counselors will be key in sending students on a path providing support. Casareno added that faculty will be able to better inform students on courses that apply to their interests and careers.

The Guided Pathways Project will cost $15,000 each year for three years, which will receive its funding from CRC’s Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative grant, according to the CGP website.

This will cover expenses for the Guided Pathways Steering Committee, led by CRC’s college president, Edward Bush, to attend six meetings in a school year “where they will receive guidance and structured time to plan for campus work to create clear pathways to high-quality credentials and develop the change management strategies needed to accomplish this goal,” according to CGP’s website.  

“The funding for the CRC’s participation in the CA Guided Pathways Project is from CRC’s Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative grant,” said Nutrition and Foods Allied Health Professor Dana Wassmer, who is a part of the Guided Pathways Steering Committee.

Casareno, who is also a part of the committee, said the school’s general education funds will not be spent on Guided Pathways for instruction and student support services.  

“I think participation in the Guided Pathways Project would prove advantageous to the college,” said Schubert. “Part of what participation in the Guided Pathways Project does for the college is to provide it access to data sets and the expertise of other colleges that are further along than we are in Guided Pathways.”

Schubert added that he believes the resources provided by participation in the initiative justify the cost. Without this project, CRC would have hired an expert to direct the college and that method would have been much more expensive than the program.

After the three years when the program is over, CRC hopes to have implemented and sustained the guidance of Guided Pathways, focusing on how well the school spends their funds to where “general educational funds will be spent on guided pathways as the way we deliver instruction and student support services to students,” Casareno said.