Program maps to help students avoid course requirement confusion

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Some students struggle through requirements and get confused over specific classes for each degree or credential. According to Academic Advisor and Program Maps co-chair Caitlin Cox, Guided Pathways program maps are a solution to provide students at LCCC a more appropriate road map to navigate through their degree or credential programs until graduation.

Program maps are similar to what the college already uses with the catalog. In the catalog, there are curriculum sheets that lay out all the course requirements students need to graduate and spells out which classes they need along with the general education requirements. Program maps are like this but more transparent and user-friendly so that students have a clearer picture of what they need to do from the minute they enroll until they graduate.

Guided Pathways program maps are an institution-wide approach to student success that multiple community colleges nationwide are adapting. According the pathways main webpage, “College students are more likely to complete a degree in a timely fashion if they choose a program and develop an academic plan early on, have a clear road map of the courses they need to take to complete a credential and receive guidance and support to help them stay on the path,” and that, “Guided pathways integrate these and other evidence-based reforms with the goal of ensuring that they become part of every student’s college experience.”

Program maps will also be changing courses. Cox mentioned that there is a gen-ed committee that looks at each of the current gen-ed courses and that these courses will have to go through an approval process and everyone must apply again.

The committee is also looking at classes that have run most recently and which are most popular, and what is most necessary for each degree. Cox stated that this will make it more efficient the and effective, and more realistic and easier for students. For example, limiting human cultural courses and having a list of 10 to 15 to choose from rather than 75.

The new program maps are not designed to change currently enrolled students’ paths to graduation and are meant to make the path to graduation easier on everyone.  The goal of adapting this portion of the Pathways project is to increase graduation rates at LCCC.

The specific timeline of program maps, a draft of program map template and other changes to pathways can be found on Pathways SharePoint on myLCCC. Other information can also be found on the main Pathways website.

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