What is Guided Pathways?
California Community Colleges Guided Pathways reform is a statewide, student-centered approach that can dramatically increase the number of students earning community college credentials while closing equity gaps.
The Guided Pathways framework creates a highly structured approach to student success that provides all students with a set of clear course-taking patterns that promotes better enrollment decisions and prepares students for future success. The Guided Pathways framework also integrates support services in ways that make it easier for students to get the help they need during every step of their community college experience.
Drawing on research conducted by the Community College Research Center as well as the experience of several national organizations, the national Guided Pathways initiative led by the American Association of Community Colleges grouped the essential, evidence-based practices of Guided Pathways into four dimensions or “Four Pillars”:
Clarify the Path - Create clear curricular pathways for employment and further education.
Enter the Path - Help students choose and enter their pathway.
Stay on the Path - Help students stay on their selected path.
Ensure Learning - Ensure that learning is happening with intentional outcomes.
These pillars serve as an adaptable and informational framework for the statewide program.
Key elements of the Guided Pathways model are:
- Programs that are fully mapped out and aligned with further education and career advancement, while also providing structured or guided exploration for undecided students.
- Redesigning and integrating basic skills/developmental education classes to accelerate students to college-level classes.
- Structured onboarding processes including improved placement tests and corequisite instruction that provide students with clear, actionable, and usable information they need to get off to the right start in college.
- Proactive academic and career advising from the start through completion and/or transfer, with assigned point of contact at each stage.
- Responsive student tracking systems aligned with interventions and resources to help students stay on the pathway, persist, and progress.
- Instructional support and co-curricular activities aligned with classroom learning and career interests.
All Folsom Lake College students deserve an institution where they are empowered to improve the cultural, social, economic, and environmental health of their communities. To do so, we must be successful in implementing Guided Pathways to simplify their navigation to completion and their approach to resources.
Our student success data demonstrate our current methods are not effective. Furthermore, students who are traditionally disadvantaged in higher education, fair no better at our college. The California Community College system places a high value on college access and as a result, FLC students are provided with access to the multitude of options we offer to help them be successful. Unfortunately, the traditional cafeteria-style of providing a college education to students is not an effective one in making them successful.
We must make an institutional and cultural transformation on how the college currently conducts business in order to guide our students to be successful. At FLC, we proudly proclaim our commitment to equity. We approach the work of Guided Pathways as our equity work; we shall design and implement Guided Pathways with great care and intention in order to close the achievement gaps without compromising rigor. We seek to empower a wider range of diverse students to succeed in higher education and career opportunities.
The shared design principles for the districtwide Guided Pathways work are:
- Puts students first
- Focuses on equity
- Values effective, timely communication
- Values relationships
- Is collaborative
- Is led by faculty and classified professionals and is supported by administration, with input from students
- Is structured to foster timely completion
- Is fully resourced
- Reflects and values the unique cultures and communities of each of the colleges
Our goals are to:
- Connect students early and often to the people, programs, and services they need to succeed
- Simplify the student experience by removing barriers and providing clear, consistent, and timely messages to students
- Encourage career/major exploration early and often so that students make more informed decisions
- Provide personalized, proactive support to students to help them find an educational path and stay on it
- Create scalable and sustainable solutions
For more information, view the Los Rios Shared Design Principles (PDF).
The Pathways Design Team (PDT) leads the Guided Pathways efforts at Folsom Lake College. Membership is college-wide, representative, and provides an appropriate institutional knowledge base; membership varies as required.
- Interpret and apply the Guided Pathways framework
- Monitor, facilitate, coordinate
- Recommend actions to college PGCs and other entities
- Integrate college-wide activities and processes related to Guided Pathways
- Identify and fill gaps
- Recommend reorganization as required
- End state: Guided Pathways will be "Just how college works."
Guided Pathways Projects
AB 705 and Placement
Learn more about the state mandate and its effect on placement and assessment at FLC.
Explore FLC's areas of interest to help guide students who are undecided on a major.
Learn more about FLC's efforts in developing these course sequencing tools for students.
For more information on the implementation of Guided Pathways at Folsom Lake College and districtwide, please contact the Co-Chairs of the FLC Guided Pathways Design Team:
Dean of Instruction, Rancho Cordova Center
Phone: (916) 361-6330
Vice President of Instruction
Phone: (916) 608-6503