Meta-Majors and Guided Pathways: A Semester in Review

As the spring semester comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to reflect back on the progress of the Meta Majors and Guided Pathways work.  It has been a busy, and sometimes challenging semester, but we head into summer on a positive note and having accomplished a great amount of preliminary work.

This semester began with the creation of the Skyline College Meta Majors and Guided Pathways Design Team.  This is a team of approximately 30 faculty, staff and administrators from all different parts of the campus who volunteered to engage at a deeper level on the work of the College redesign.  The work on the initiative kicked off at the January flex day meetings.  At this two-day event, Skyline College participants worked in small groups led by Design Team members to discuss and examine the placement of Degrees and Certificates. From this work, data were gathered and compiled to be presented at the campus-wide division meeting.  The January Flex Days were also the first time anyone could sign up to be on a Work Team.  The Work Teams, guided by Design Team Facilitators, discuss and provide feedback on the Meta Majors and Guided Pathways from their departmental perspectives.

Throughout the many Work Team and Design Team meetings this semester, it became clear that this needed to be a faculty-led initiative.  In April, the Design Team nominated Carla Grandy, Mustafa Popal and Jesse Raskin to serve as the faculty co-leads.  These three faculty members are currently working weekly with the Deans, Design Team and Administration to help guide this work.  It should be noted that the faculty co-leads are not experts, but they have an emerging understanding of the initiative and are available to work with anyone who wants to understand Meta Majors and Guided Pathways better or to get more involved with the work.

The roll out of Meta Majors and Guided Pathways at Skyline College will affect our entire community and over the course of the semester, many questions, comments and concerns surfaced.  The Design Team worked with MCPR to create a website dedicated to the Meta Majors and Guided Pathways initiative.  The website also has a place where anyone can anonymously submit questions and concerns to the Design Team.  This was used for the first campus-wide open forum, co-hosted with Academic Senate, on May 16, 2017.  The goal of the Campus Forum was to provide an open opportunity for all to get (re)introduced to the initiative and to ask: ‘how will this impact my role at Skyline College, the programs I am committed to, and the students I work with?  Approximately 30 faculty, staff and administrators attended the forum with additional questions ranging from, “What have other colleges done?” to “How does this initiative help with the equity gap?” The event provided clarity, but was really a chance for the faculty co-leads to collect questions and work towards answers.  They are currently in the process of creating documents to address those questions that will be posted on the website and shared throughout the campus.  With its success, future campus-wide open forums on more specific topics related to the work will be held next year, so stay tuned!

Another accomplishment of this semester was the work session on May 19, 2017, that brought faculty from divisions across campus together with counseling faculty to engage in conversations and to develop sequences of their core courses. This was the continuation of the work that had started in some divisions during May division meetings. From our perspective, it was exciting to see instructional and counseling faculty working together, asking and answering questions to make intentional sequencing choices of their degrees and certificates with student success as the end goal!  We are hoping for 100% completion of sequences by May 31, 2017, so there is still time to submit and the faculty co-leads are available to help with this.

While it has been a semester of questions, challenges and sometimes frustration, anytime major changes are being implemented that is to be expected.  But, if we keep the end goal of student success at the center of everything we do, this work will result in collaboration, intentionality, growth and improved success for our students!

Article by Jessica Hurless