Course, program competencies will have more flexibility under new initiative: Guided Pathways will shift the way college assesses students

Laramie County Community College faculty and staff are making final tweaks to the Guided Pathways initiative that is slated for a Fall 2020 implementation date, including the way course and program competencies are handled.

Director of Institutional Research Mark Perkins said that course and program competencies are skills that a student should be proficient at when they’re done with their program of study.

LCCC is currently utilizing tools such as institutional competencies and accompanying rubrics, Academic Standards processes, and documents such as Master Course Outline of Record to assess student learning.

As each degree is considered a “pathway,” the competency committee has the job of making sure that course competencies line up with program competencies so that students don’t waste any time getting their degree and to make sure that students are learning what is necessary of their program.

The Guided Pathways structure will allow flexibility when it comes to the assessment of a student’s skills and knowledge.

“When we say assessment, we really want to emphasize that there are a variety of different ways to do that,” Perkins said. “There may be tests, or other things as well, that are used to assess, and these are really going to be developed by faculty within their programs. Our committee is not actually going to tell them what to assess, we’re just coming up with guidelines to assess them.”

Dean of Health Sciences and Wellness Starla Mason said that their committee is working on a manual that all LCCC faculty will be able to use.

“It will contain … the possibilities for assessments you can use for whatever your activities are,” Mason said. “In Health, our students are doing clinical. There’s going to be different ways to measure the proficiency for that than there would be for a lab course. That’s what we’re kind of providing those little guidelines so that faculty can choose the appropriate way to measure student proficiency.”

Perkins said that this resulting data from these assessments has the potential to show the shifts in faculty performance.

“When we look at the results of those data, depending on how detailed they are, we can then say, ‘Oh, here’s an area that we are doing really well,’ or, ‘here’s an area we need to improve,’ or, ‘Professor X is really awesome at this, so let’s ask Professor X what she does,’” Perkins said.

Mason said that course competencies should be listed in every syllabus for every course, on program websites and for such programs like health, there are program handbooks that spell out the competencies.

Mason also said that some programs are likely to change more significantly than others. She also said that the health area will stay very similar to what

About Courtney Walston (28 Articles)
Courtney Walston, a third-year student studying Mass Media at Laramie County Community College, hopes to someday become a photographer for National Geographic. Walston has already earned one degree from LCCC in Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts. Walston was the senior editor of the East High School newspaper her senior year and was involved with yearbook as well. She enjoys photography and frequently shares her work on her website, Instagram and Facebook. Walston is an active member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honors society at Laramie County Community College, and retains a position on the Honors In Action team. She’s hoping to utilize the leadership experience she’s gained from this position to assist Wingspan. Walston is a semi-professional photographer that is aspiring to transfer to the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia and receive a bachelors in Fine Art Photography. She also likes to her call herself a cat lady; as she has 3 cats at home and loves all of them dearly. To contact Walston, email her at or follow her on Twitter @Courtney42158656.

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