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Palomar College Guided Pathways

Category: April 2019 Newsletter

Palomar Pathway “Wins” – April 2019

Welding Technology

Career readiness course taught in four weeks!  This past winter intersession 30 students worked hard over the 4 week winter intersession to complete a capstone course in the welding program.  All 30 students passed their test to earn a welding certification. Thank you Welding Technology professors for creating a path to a career for these students, and thank you Kevin Powers for sharing!

Dental Assisting

Dental Assisting completed a self-assessment study and will be updating their practices to ensure student success. As a result, the graduate student survey will be shortened, mailed and emailed to facilitate more responses. Additionally, Faculty have been using Starfish data to identify “at risk” students and reaching out to them to discuss their options for success.  In 2013, Dental Assisting added a DA57 Dental Science course and a DA50 Intro to Dental Science & Dental Occupations as a prerequisite, which increased their retention rate by 92% (was at 72%) in the last 5 years. Good job Dental Assisting!



Student Services – April 2019

Student Services

by Nancy Browne, Olga Diaz, Dillon Emerick, Pearl Ly, Kendyl Magnuson, Patrick O’Brien, Star Rivera-Lacey


Several technology projects are taking place to strengthen student service delivery. Palomar College joined 36 other colleges in California to pilot the use of Starfish Early Alert & Degree Planner. Starfish is a student success tool used by more than 200 institutions across the country to support students throughout their college experience. Starfish Early Alert allows us to help students meet their career and educational goals by referring them to key campuses resources and keeping them up to date regarding their class progress. Starfish Degree Planner allows students to plan the courses they need to complete a degree or certificate at Palomar. The training of approximately 60+ full and part-time counselors began in February 2019 with the goal of completing the training by the beginning of fall ‘19 semester.


Student Services was recently awarded a Strong Workforce Program Grant to support outreach and on-boarding practices. Funding from this grant will support our ongoing efforts to improve business practices and technology functions under a Guided Pathways model.


Student Services team identified campus services and locations that require streamlining a path towards student-centered services as a focus because currently many services are located all over campus and difficult for students to find. Students feedback is important in helping the GP Team identify areas of improvement and an email was sent out to all student employees inviting them to the GP meetings.

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  • Step 2: Enter the Path: Palomar Community College District | All Rights Reserved

Career Integration – April 2019

Career Integration

by Rosie Antonecchia, Glyn Bongolan,  Rita Campos-Griggs, Elena Chirkova-Sikora, Margie Fritch, Karan Huskey, Nichol Roe, Chris Sinnott)


Ongoing categorical funding has also been received from the Regional Strong Workforce Program (SWP) to hire a full-time case manager for the function of job placement at each of the ten community colleges. Palomar College hired Bruce Reaves as the Strong Workforce Job Developer beginning January 2, 2019. The Job Developer will work closely with the new Work-Based Learning Coordinators, Career Center, Cooperative Education and Service Learning staff to create integrated processes that make it easy for all students to receive assistance in securing job placement.

Long term goals are the creation of official practices regarding Work-Based Learning activities and the integration of career education into campus culture, with career exploration and development for all students starting at the very beginning of their educational programs.


Work-Based Learning refers to a continuum of experiences that support career awareness, career exploration, and career preparation, through engagement with employers and real work opportunities. The two largest Work-Based Learning (WBL) programs at Palomar College, Cooperative Education and Service Learning, have been centralized into the same physical location on campus in the P building. Moving these two offices together creates a single place for students to access information regarding project-based and work-based opportunities like internships, community service projects, and more! Additionally, two years of funding was made available to all 10 community colleges from the San Diego Regional Strong Workforce Program (SWP) funds to reassign two faculty members as Work-Based Learning coordinators. These coordinators will work with faculty and staff to establish policies, processes and practices that promote more Work-Based Learning activities campus wide. Doing so will provide all students with opportunities that support and deepen classroom learning and facilitate employment. Palomar College has reassigned faculty members Rita Campo Griggs and Chris Sinnott in these roles starting Spring 2019.

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  • Step 2: Enter the Path: Palomar Community College District | All Rights Reserved

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.

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