Overview of Guided Pathways

Purpose: This guide is organized to provide a walk through of all meetings and background information related to Guided Pathways.  The intent is to provide a clear outline of all collected requirement information to aid in framing out next steps in developing a set of project activities to address the college needs associated with Guided Pathways.

Audience: College Subject Matter Experts (SME) interested in Guided Pathways.  

General Information

In 2016, five colleges were awarded a multi-year College Spark grant to implement Guided Pathways. The SBCTC was also provided funding to assist with the implementation and evaluation efforts for the work. In 2017, another five colleges were awarded College Spark funds. In addition, the legislature invested in those 10 colleges as well as 2 early adopter AACC Pathways colleges for a total of 12 colleges; this is a multi-million dollar investment in the Guided Pathways reform. The College Spark work plan that grantee colleges must follow includes approximately 20 minimum reporting requirements aligned with the Guided Pathways essential practices. One of the essential practices is a redesign of program offerings within meta-majors (also referred to as Areas of Study), which are clusters of programs within a broad career area (e.g., health sciences, social sciences, information technology, humanities, etc.). The adoption of meta-majors will provide students clearer options and allow them to choose a career pathway earlier, helping them to stay on track. In order to comply with the reporting and accountability required by funders [College Spark Washington] and other stakeholders, Guided Pathways colleges need to track students by meta-major. The grant requirements that specify the implementation items around meta-majors for the College Spark funded colleges are as follows: 

  • Students who do not have a specific Program of Study in mind are required to choose a meta-major in a broad field of interest with a default curriculum that gives them a taste of the given field 
  • Every new credential-seeking student is helped to explore career/college options, choose a meta-major upon enrollment, and enter a Program of Study within no more than two quarters 
  • Program monitoring: progress on academic plans is monitored on an ongoing basis. This includes tracking, monitoring, and ability to report on: 
    • Number of students in each meta-major and how many students are in an exploratory course sequence for their meta-major

2016: In the current HP9000 Legacy data system there is no functionality designed to track meta-majors. The individual colleges can gather and maintain this information individually, but a system-wide solution designed to track meta-majors is helpful for several reasons. First, modifications to the Legacy structure will enable a cost-effective approach for all colleges ensuring uniformity in data collection and reporting. Second, a system-wide approach to tracking the meta-majors provides foundational common language that is inherent in the Guided Pathways model. Third, a unified approach would allow SBCTC to provide support and reporting on the colleges behalf, which is not possible unless data is collected consistently and at the system-level. 

2018: In November of 2018, the system’s Data Governance Committee has approved the request and methodology for implementing meta-major coding in the legacy system as described in the rest of this document. Review the full Data Brief for the Legacy Meta-Major Implementation (published 1/28/2019).

Guided Pathways Data Collection Meetings
Governance Meetings
  • 12/18/2018 Steering Committee handouts: Guided Pathways requirements gathering: update from Carli Schiffner
  • 10/23/2018 Steering Committee handouts: Common Process Workshop Proposal: Guided Pathways
  • 10/6/2020 Steering Committee handouts: Oct. 6, 2020 Steering Committee Meeting Minutes: update from Grant Rodeheaver  - he will send the communication about Meta Majors to the system and colleges soon. In a nutshell, if we were to try to reconfigure the ctcLink Academic Structure to include Meta-Majors while still implementing the remaining colleges in Deployment Groups 4, 5 and 6, it would present a critical risk not only to the SBCTC ctcLink Support and ctcLink Project teams, but also to the colleges. The work requires significant effort and active engagement by skilled college subject matter experts (SMEs). SBCTC research and data services will continue to investigate possible solutions for reporting requirements that come up, and will communicate about those efforts with the colleges in the next few months.
Data Reporting Considerations

Spring Quarter of academic year 2018-19 will be the initial implementation quarter. Colleges will be given access to the new meta-major field on screen SM5006 by May 2019 to begin data entry. Screens with view only meta-major code additions will be available shortly thereafter. The data will be added to a new Data Warehouse table in early July 2019 for the SBCTC Research team to begin data validation.

No official reporting will occur on meta-major coding in the SBCTC Data Warehouse during the 2018-19 academic year. Summer quarter of the 2019-20 academic year will be the first year and quarter for official reporting of meta-majors.

During the OAAP implementation there was discussion on leveraging the STUDY_FIELD field in the ACAD_PLAN_TBL. It’s an existing field that we are not currently using, and the name basically reflects what we would be using it for. We did not choose this route because this field is not visible to the student, and we want the meta-major visible to the student.

Requirements Definition (To Date)

The following summarizes the requirements outlined through out the college meetings held to date.  These requirements are not considered complete and vetted for development action, but are a representation of our understanding of the college needs thus far in our conversations with the college community:

Action Plan - Next Steps

  • COMPLETED - Engage in conversation with colleges to document their current approaches to implement Guided Pathways using the tools they have available today.  
  • COMPLETED - Solicit college interest in participating in interview process (see more information below). 
  • COMPLETED - Update ctcLink Reference Center (this guide) with summary of college input. 
  • FUTURE - Define set of iterative enhancements to improve ctcLink system to support Guided Pathways.  
College Interviews Completed
College Interview Questions

Questions for Overall College Perspective:

  1. What is your college most proud of in the work you are doing to make your college more equity-centered/student-centered?  How is this shaping your strategic plans for process improvement over the next two years?
  2. What has your office done successfully to remove barriers for students who are wanting to attend?
  3. How successful do you feel your college has been developing program maps and providing opportunities for exploratory courses?  Is there anything within the ctcLink system you wish could be improved to help with this work?
  4. What changes have you made in your business practices to improve progress monitoring of students? What are you most proud of in your process for ensuring staff are involved in identifying students who are struggling?  Is there anything within the ctcLink system you wish could be improved to help with this work?
  5. Does your college currently use a Third Party Product (Starfish, EAB Navigate, Civitas, Watermark Aviso, etc.)?  If your college is using any tertiary systems (external products, business intelligence systems, and/or locally developed solutions) to support Guided Pathways, what benefits are being provided that are not currently available in ctcLink?
  6. How do you feel your college is doing in evaluating student enrollments and their alignment to completing a degree in two years?  What changes have you made across student services to support this work? Is there anything within the ctcLink system you wish could be improved to help with this work?
  7. What elements of the Guided Pathways framework is your institution currently prioritizing? How are you currently documenting your work? Is there anything within the ctcLink system you wish could be improved to help with this work?

Questions for Specific Offices/Teams:

  1. From each office (IT, Financial Aid, Admissions, etc.), what has been your greatest improvement to support Guided Pathways?
  2. From each office, if you could improve the system in one small way to help your office significantly to support GP, what would you change in ctcLink?
  3. From a data perspective- 
    1. How are you tracking a student’s journey through their programs on your campus?  
    2. How are you currently reporting student enrollments by meta-major?  Are you using locally developed Plan Code to Meta-Major crosswalks?
    3. What data points are you finding it difficult to track in the system today and what would you learn from tracking that data? 
    4. Is there anything within the ctcLink system you wish could be improved to help with this work?
  4.  From your area’s perspective, what key enhancements could you envision that would support your college’s Guided Pathways work?  
List of Colleges Interviewed
Interview Dates/Times Completed Colleges Synopsis Linked Below When Ready
Tuesday, November 1, 2022  1 pm - 3 pm Centralia College
Friday, November 4, 2022  10 am -12 pm  South Seattle College
Tuesday, November 8, 2022  9 am - 11 am North Seattle College 
Wednesday, November 16, 2022  1 pm - 3 pm  Pierce College District
Monday, November 21, 2022  10 am - 12 pm  Green River College 
Monday, November 21, 2022  1 pm - 3 pm
Everett Community College
Tuesday, December 6, 2022  9 am - 11 am Renton Technical College
Tuesday, December 6, 2022  1 pm - 3 pm Spokane Falls Community College
Wednesday, December 14, 2022  1 pm - 3 pm Edmonds College 
Friday, December 16, 2022  1 pm - 3 pm Highline College 
Monday, December 19, 2022 1 pm - 3 pm  South Puget Sound Community College
Wednesday, January 11, 2023  8 am - 10 am
Bellingham Technical College 
Friday, February 10, 2023  9 am - 11 am Olympic College 


Add your comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.