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Palomar College Guided Pathways

Category: General

Meta Majors – April 2019

Meta Majors

By Kelly Falcone, Wendy Nelson, Cindy Anfinson

The Spring 2019 semester started with two opportunities to learn about Meta Majors from experts in the field. First, Rob Johnstone led several workshops at Spring Plenary, and then we had the opportunity to learn from Maria Hesse, Vice Chancellor from ASU, and Camille Newton from Maricopa Community College District.  Rob, Maria, and Camille provided a good basic understanding about Meta Majors to start exploring what our Meta Majors could be at Palomar College.  Since March we have collected data from a college wide survey and conducted workshops.  Details of each are are follows:

Meta Majors Review Survey

To begin the Meta Major process we invited all employee groups to complete a Meta Major survey in which they reviewed the Meta Majors of several different colleges and provided us with feedback about what they liked and disliked (if you would like to participate in this activity click here). We want to thank everyone who provided their feedback!  We received over 100 responses which included 47% Full-Time Faculty, 33% Classified Staff, 10% Part-Time Faculty, 7% AA, and 2% CAST.  The responses allowed us to get a much better idea of what we like and dislike to help us prepare for how we will construct and present out Meta Majors.

Some of the key learning from reviewing your feedback is:

  • Presentation is key
    –  It is important for us to design a simple and easy to navigate website that uses pictures and video, is not too wordy, and does not take too many clicks.  The presentation needs to be inspiring and not feel like a course catalog. Most of you really liked how Bakersfield presented their Meta Majors and the tool they use is available to all of the CCCs to use!
  • Link to Career/Employment
    –  Meta Majors clearly linked to possible careers and income potential. Provide explanation of what students can do upon completion of program.
  • Easily Connect to Program Maps
    –  Students need to be able to easily and quickly see the program maps within the Meta Major.
  • Links to 4-year degrees
    –  Keep in mind the students pathway from Palomar to University.
  • Undecided/Transitional students
    –  Provide a way for our undecided students to choose a program such as “transitional studies”.
  • Ensure students can view their progress
    –  Important for students to visually see how they have progressed through their pathway.
  • Meta Majors called Academic and Career Pathways
    –  51.5% of respondents prefer the term Academic and Career Pathways. This was followed by Career Pathways, Palomar Pathways, and Areas of Interest.

Meta Majors Workshops

We held seven Meta Majors workshops for our employees; one during our monthly Chairs and Directors meeting, one during Faculty Senate, and five more workshops open to all employees to attend.  At these workshops the attendees worked in groups to sort our programs into Meta Majors and then name each Meta Major. The workshops were a great opportunity for robust dialogue about our programs and which programs we thought worked well together from a students’ perspective.  Some “aha” moments from the workshops was that it is hard! Many participants said how hard it was to try to sort our program into clusters. One of the difficulties was trying to break out of our current structure and think like a student. One participant said “it was hard to break out of our normal divisional structure and think outside the box, but once we did it was really fun!”  Overall, the feedback from the workshops was very positive; participants said it clarified to them the concept of meta-majors and they enjoyed working with their colleagues from different disciplines.


We are now conducting the Meta Major Card Swap activity with students!  We have 6 classes participating and have also had High School students participate.  After we collect and review all of the data we will present the findings to the college.

Image Sources

  • Step 1: Clarify the Path: Palomar Community College District | All Rights Reserved

Mapping & Meta Majors – March 2019

Mapping & Meta Majors

By Kelly Falcone, Wendy Nelson, Travis Ritt

Department Chairs and discipline experts created 200 degree and certificate maps during the fall semester.  Counselors will review the maps this spring to ensure that general education and degree requirements are correct. The maps will be available to students during the fall semester. The maps will also be used to help the College create its Meta-Majors through analysis of shared courses across degrees and certificates.

Meta Majors are educational programs that have related courses and/or requirements. They include courses that meet academic and/or industry requirements across several disciplines and specific programs of study. Meta majors help students identify a program pathway that aligns with their interests, knowledge, skills and abilities. Enrollment and completion of meta-major courses guide students through initial foundational requirements and into more specific programs of study.

Please consider taking our Introduction to Meta Major Survey. In this survey you will review the work done by a few colleges who have already designed and implemented Meta Majors.  Please take a few minutes to see what these schools have done and give us some feedback about what you like and disliked. To complete the survey go to:

Image Sources

  • Step 1: Clarify the Path: Palomar Community College District | All Rights Reserved