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Palomar College Learning For Success


Palomar College Guided Pathways

Category: May 2019 Newsletter

Completion Academy – SUCCESS!

Palomar held its first of two workshops for the Completion Academy. Instructional faculty, counseling faculty, staff and administrators came together to develop creative program schedules with an eye on equity, access, and success. Models included ideas such as a Degree in Three, Child Development’s Four for Four plan, and EME’s Certification in a Semester. The energy in the room was electrifying and everyone wanted to do their part in improving student program completion rates.

Part two of the Completion Academy will be held in the summer with a focus on student success by integrating student support and instructional support into the program schedule. We will also be coordinating schedules with the completion of math, English, and reading in the first year. Workshop date is to be determined, so stay tuned!

The final piece of the Completion Academy includes marketing of the newly created programs with the message “Palomar makes it possible for you to earn a high-quality education and get a jump-start on your career at a price you can afford and a schedule that works for you.” If you have a program that fits this theme, inform your dean by May 30 to have your program included in the messaging. See you this summer for Completion Academy Part Two!

Guided Pathways (GP) Team Visits Florida!

A group of GP Team members traveled to Florida to tour Miami Dade College and Valencia College this past April. They came back with a lot of information to share of best practices for implementing Guided Pathways. The group had the opportunity to meet with campus leaders, faculty, and students at the institutions to learn about the rationale for Guided Pathways, redesign of student services, meta-major organization, and the role of faculty in planning and implementation. Miami Dade College and Valencia College are winners of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, a national recognition for high achievement and performance in student success. The GP Florida team will be presenting on trip findings and what can apply at Palomar. Watch the PD portal for the announcement.

As one team member commented, “Visiting Miami Dade and Valencia College provided us with the opportunity to see into our future, which was VERY exciting!”  Both Miami Dade and Valencia are over 5 years into their Guided Pathways journey and shared several promising practices.

(In photo from left to right: Justin Smiley, Wendy Nelson, Kelly Falcone, Karan Huskey, Hossna Sadat, Nancy Browne, April Cunningham, Chris Sinnott, Anastasia Zavodny, Travis Ritt, Pearl Ly)


Innovative programs and buildings:

As we toured their campus we were immediately impressed with their innovative programs and their buildings, such as their Fashion Design, Culinary Arts, Gaming, IDEA center and CyberSecurity programs.  We kept wondering how they were able to pay for the programs and state-of-the-art facilities. During our visit, we learned that Miami Dade has a grants office with five full-time employees who pursue grant funding to support the development of these innovative programs.  Many of the programs built partnerships with workforce industries which led to internship and job opportunities for students within these programs.

Closing Equity Gaps through Intrusive Student Support:

We were very impressed with the intrusive student support provided throughout the student journey from pre-enrollment, through enrollment, and completion. Miami Dade has also implemented a 3-tiered advising system that included: pre-college advisors (works with HS), first year advisors, and college faculty mentors.  They take a case management approach to student support by assigning students to advisors who proactively and intrusively connect with their students. Their efforts have resulted in an 11% increase in student retention! Valencia College outlined a clear difference between advisor and counselor roles at its campus. Every new student was required to complete the college orientation and to take a college success skills course. Both colleges had a one-stop center for student services and this supported students holistically when it came to accessing and learning about various support services on campus.

Meta Majors

The state of Florida provided both colleges with meta majors. The meta majors were organized around gateway math classes.

Orientations were organized by Meta Majors with the Instructional faculty from disciplines as co-leads to advisors at the orientations. Students who were undecided about their major were provided a “Start Right” guide that helped them understand what classes to take first.  Robust career counseling was discussed and offered throughout the students’ journey. Career counseling assessments provided students who were either undecided or needed confirmation for their academic journey. Having a room with computers and counselors proctoring career self-assessments allowed students to be intrusively guided throughout. Students were then referred to a map based on their meta-major.

Learning, Outcomes, and Research – May 2019

 Learning, Outcomes, and Research

by Michelle Barton and April Cunningham


The Learning Outcomes Subcommittee has created a College Outcomes Assessment Framework to define the three-year cycle on which all of Palomar’s College Outcomes will be assessed.  This Framework is intended to engage faculty and staff in assessment. Instruction and Student Services, in particular, will be able to use the Framework to plan activities and assessments that align with the College Outcomes in each year of the cycle, allowing reflection on and discussion about cross-functional collaborations that can support students’ continued achievement of these outcomes.


Faculty are receiving training about how to load and use shared scoring rubrics in Canvas to facilitate assessment of students’ learning across courses, programs, and the college. The reports of students’ achievement of course, program and college learning outcomes are then being used to inform program review and planning.  In addition, the reports can support cross-disciplinary discussions about goals for student learning, effective approaches and assignments for achieving outcomes, and resources needed to sustain ongoing achievement. Using Canvas to facilitate learning outcomes assessment also makes it possible to identify disproportionate impact using shared metrics established by the state.


Program outcomes are being listed on Degree and Certificate Maps to encourage the sequencing of courses to support students’ achievement of program outcomes. Faculty are working to update the alignment of courses with college learning outcomes.  These alignment efforts make it possible to conduct ongoing assessment of learning outcomes at all levels of the curriculum, from courses to programs to the whole institution, to see how our students’ learning builds throughout their time at Palomar.

Outcomes Co-Coordinators, Katy Farrell and April Cunningham, are creating and reviewing reports of outcomes alignment using Nuventive Improve (née TracDat) to identify areas where additional support might further strengthen alignment of course, program, and college learning outcomes.  And the Co-Coordinators are sharing these reports with Learning Outcomes Facilitators so that updates, revisions, and additions can be made on an ongoing basis to keep outcomes alignments up-to-date.

Institutional Research and Planning is developing a report which will allow faculty to see on average how many units student degree earners complete by program. This will help guide faculty discussions regarding their program maps and scheduling for completion


Lastly, ongoing assessment of students’ learning is not only happening in courses.  The Work Experience Coordinator is working with the Outcomes Co-Coordinators and serving on the Learning Outcomes Subcommittee to establish and assess outcomes achieved through applied and work-based learning opportunities.  Institutional learning outcomes assessments are also being created and deployed to assess co-curricular learning opportunities like Political Economy Days, House of Humanities, and Media and Communication Days, etc.

Image Sources

  • Step 4: Ensure Learning: Palomar Community College District | All Rights Reserved

Instructional Changes – May 2019

Instructional Changes

 by P.J. DeMaris, Jack Kahn, Najib Manea, Wendy Nelson, Travis Ritt


A significant implementation progress has been made integrating Ad Astra with our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).  Ad Astra is now fully integrated with Palomar ERP system that includes the VPN network, PeopleSoft, Email System, Single Sign-On (SSO) service, and hosts a complete Palomar Rooms/Spaces inventory. The on-site training and Design Strategy implementation phase is underway, and it will require a larger collaboration and integration.

The goal is for the Ad Astra Programs of Study/Pathways is to be created using the imported student historical data or managed manually. It will help determine demand for courses during Planner Analysis and Simulated Registration.

Image Sources

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

Palomar Pathway “Wins” – May 2019

Biology Department

Fast-track! Really? The Biology Department conducted a poll of their students regarding whether they would be interested in Fast-track courses in Anatomy and Physiology and to their surprise, 75% of students polled would be at least somewhat interested!  The survey also listed that the best time of day for the Fast-track courses would be from 9 am – 2 pm.  As a result the Biology Department will be looking into piloting this Fast-track at Rancho Bernardo Ed Center or Fallbrook Ed Center.  Thank you Biology Department for taking the initiative and facilitating student success.

Nursing Education Department

Electives as Fast-track!  The Nursing Education Department will be offering some of their electives as Fast-track courses beginning Fall 2019.  Then in the Summer of 2020, they will offer more of the electives as 8-week Fast-track courses. Great job Nursing Education for taking the initiative!