Laramie County Community College is undergoing a three-year model called Guided Pathways that is intended to improve the rate of student success.
“The next three years are part of a redesigning of the college in many ways, and it will be one of the most impactful work we do in our careers,” said Judy Hay, Vice President of Student Services. “Through research, we have found we are structurally formed in a way that doesn’t help our students as much as we could.”
Guided Pathways was influenced by the book “Redesigning America’s Community Colleges” by Thomas R. Bailey, Shanna Smith Jaggars and Davis Jenkins. This model is designed to help students map out their program of choice and to persist through that program.
“We want to make sure that our college is built for the students,” Hay said. “Community colleges are made to serve the community and the real reason for being here is to make our community better.”
There are three parts for the completion of Guided Pathways, which includes planning, implementation and evaluation.
The planning process includes making sure the college is prepared, building awareness and committing to the pathway.
“The board made this investment, but we have identified nine areas that could use improvement,” Hay said.
There will be nine groups, with each group being led by two people. Within these groups, the leaders will then pick other faculty and staff to be part of the program. Hay said that there could be up to 65 people working on the Guided Pathways project.
These groups include Eagles’ academy (meta-majors), program maps, general education, streamlining the entry process, advising model, corequisite math and English, measuring course competencies, essential student experience and excellence in instruction.
During the implementation stage, there will be four pillars to focus on, which include the college helping students get on a path as well as clarify paths early on, helping students stay on those paths as well as making sure students are learning the right material for their programs.
According to Hay, this stage will include early exploration of programs and helping students persist through them, as well as examining the entry process that could include redesigning programs.
Faculty will participate in helping and guiding students on their path during this portion of the program. Faculty will work within their programs so that the program is aligned with Eagles’ Academies as well as be more involved with advising students.
“It will be faculty who address changes within the developmental math and English courses to streamline students’ journeys through developmental coursework and into their degree-level math and English,” Hay said.
Another part of the implementation will be ensuring students are learning the correct material as well as letting them know how they are doing in classes.
“We want students to find out early how they are doing in their classes, so if they aren’t doing well, they can do something before it’s too late,” Hay said. “If we gave students more feedback, then they would have time to recover.”
During evaluation, the college will revisit these areas to see if adjustments need to be made. The college will look to see what elements are working and if anything is unnecessary for the students’ pathways.
LCCC is one of 13 schools that pay to take part in this program. Within the program, there are different metrics that schools strive to succeed in.
They include “15+, 24+ and 30+ credits in their first year, students who earned 6+ and 12+ credits in their first term, students who passed college level math in first year, and students who passed both their college math and English in the first year,” Hay said.
When looking at where LCCC is in terms of the maturity of this process, LCCC is ahead of all the other schools; however, there are still improvements to be made because the results are not where other schools are in Wyoming.
“I am so excited about this and the future of LCCC and our community because of this program,” Hay said.