Guided Pathways: Work Plan Completion Strategy


The California Guided Pathways Work Plan is due late March. I provide an example of how a college strategized to complete the Work Plan. It’s important to note that the college first implemented a process to help ensure common language and understanding around Guided Pathways, and created Design Teams to shepherd the Guided Pathways work (for details see Guided Pathways: Starting on the Right Foot). This article explains how the college strategized to divide the work to complete the Work Plan.

Using the Design Team structure below, the college distributed the fourteen elements of the Work Plan to each of the six teams.


The six teams include:
• Entry: Outreach, enrollment, matriculation
• Mapping Existing Curriculum: Sequencing majors with pre-requisites
• Student Support: Tutoring, financial aid, and other special support services and programs
• Advising: Academic and career advising
Academic Clusters: ”Meta-majors” or “areas of interest”
• Communication: Messaging to students and staff about GP work. Also, GP info from the Chancellor's Office, and promising practices from other campuses.

The Guided Pathways Work Plan is divided into fourteen elements:
1. Cross Functional Inquiry
2. Shared Metrics
3. Integrated Planning
4. Inclusive Decision-Making Structures
5. Intersegmental Alignment
6. Guided Major and Career Exploration
7. Improved Basic Skills
8. Clear Program Requirements
9. Proactive and Integrated Student Supports
10. Integrated Technology Infrastructure
11. Strategic Professional Development
12. Aligned Learning Outcomes
13. Assessing and Documenting Learning
14. Applied Learning Outcomes

Here is how the work was divided:



I’m not suggesting to copy exactly how this college created their Design Teams and how they divided the work for the Work Plan. Rather, take from their experience and adopt whatever makes the most sense for your context. That said, please note these important items.

- The Design Team and Work Plan strategy is in its first iteration. It’s evolving. There will be changes, especially as more faculty return for the spring semester.
- Titles are important but personalities and expertise are also critical. For example, given her rich history at the campus, expertise, and high-level of “street cred,” it made perfect sense at this campus for an English faculty member to co-lead the Mapping Existing Curriculum Design Team.
- The teams were structured during a meeting where I had a chart paper for each Design Team. Members of the Guided Pathways Steering Committee volunteered by writing their names below each team. From there, people volunteered to be leads or co-leads. Team members also made recommendations of who else needed to be on the teams.
- Each Design Team function is not exactly aligned with the fourteen elements of the Work Plan. Each of the fourteen elements can have overlap among teams and some elements lack direct relevance with some of the teams. The point is not to divide the work based solely on the title and function of each Design Team. Also take into consideration who is in the team to ensure that the college produces a realistic and high quality product.

Using SharePoint (Google Docs is also appropriate), the Committee decided on a due date for each team to complete the first draft of their respective Work Plan sections. The next Committee meeting is devoted to reviewing responses to all fourteen elements and work toward completing a final draft way in advance of the state's deadline.

It’s worth noting the behind-the-scenes work at this campus to support Guided Pathways planning. The graphic below shows facilitation support for key settings (see article about settings). I met with key campus personnel charged with Guided Pathways planning and implementation (first box). The purpose of this setting is to ensure that the Guided Pathways Steering Committee setting (second box in dark blue) is as productive as possible. We essentially “lesson plan” in the first setting, implement in the second setting, then take back what we learned from the second setting to continually inform future settings. I also supported the Design Teams (third box) as the leads or co-leads work to ensure that their settings are as highly productive as possible. Notice a theme of productive meetings? When implementing comprehensive changes, a sure way to compromise implementation is to have unproductive meetings.



I hope you find the Work Plan strategy for this campus useful for your institution.

If you’re interested in facilitation support, please feel free to contact me. I've met with some colleges to learn where they're at in their Guided Pathways process and provided some tips (no charge)--that's all. The point is to consider seeking an external point of view on your current processes (or lack thereof). From there, you can determine if external coaching support is needed.

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For related articles see:

Unpacking the Meta-Major Concept

Guided Pathways: Starting on the Right Foot

Guided Pathways: Good to Great?

Why I Spit Shine My Shoes (And How it Relates to Leadership)
It's a metaphorical take on educational leadership. I tie in Guided Pathways at the end. Log on to your LinkedIn account to access the article.

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