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Palomar College Learning For Success


Palomar College Guided Pathways

Category: October 2020 Newsletter

Meet the 20/21 GP Pillar Leads

Wendy Nelson - Pillar 1
(Clarify the Path)

Alex Cuatok - Pillar 2
(Enter the Path)

Glyn Bongolan - Pillar 3
(Stay on the Path)

Sabrina Santiago - Pillar 4
(Ensure Learning)

Non-Instructional Partners

Pillar 1:
Dr. Nancy Browne, Manager
Student Success & Engagement

Pillar 2:
Steven Salter, Director

Pillar 3:
Leslie Salas, Dean
Counseling Services

Pillar 4:

Image Sources

  • Sabrina.Santiago.pic: Palomar Community College District

New Student Tools

Palomar College is offering new tools to help students clarify and stay on the path. Below you will find information about the Palomar Pathways Mapper, Starfish Degree Planner, and Starfish Early Alert.

Palomar Pathway Mapper

by Wendy Nelson

Palomar College launched the Palomar Pathways Mapper in June.  The user-friendly site begins with seven “meta-majors,” designed to help students narrow down their choices.  Each grouping leads to a menu of degrees and certificates. Once a student selects one of these options, they will find a variety of useful information that will help them reach their desired goal.  

Each pathway page provides an overview of the field:  

  • overview of the degree or certificate 
  • “learning outcomes” students can expect to achieve  
  • a range of salaries in related careers 
  • an industry growth outlook  
  • an easy-to-read, term-by-term course schedule 

There are several links to Palomar Pathways on the college website so students and community members can learn about the degrees and certificates available at the College. 

Counselors are also using the tool while working with students during counseling appointments. According to Associate Professor/Counselor, Karan Huskey, a cybersecurity student told her, “I have attended several local colleges, and this is the first time I really understand how a degree works.” Another student said, “I love the way this is hands on, and if I need to change a course from my educational plan, I feel like I’m more comfortable selecting my classes now.” 

The Palomar Pathways mapper will be updated annually to reflect new degrees and certificates.  The College is also working with CSUSM to improve transfer and graduation rates using the mapper tool. Students interested in starting at Palomar College and then transferring to CSUSM will soon be able to see a map of all four years - the first two at Palomar and the second two at CSUSM.  

Pathway Mapper - Palomar website view

Starfish Degree Planner

by Bethany Contreras

Starfish Degree Planner is an interactive tool that helps students be more proactive with their course planning. Coupled with meeting with a counselor, students can use Degree Planner to create a customized education plan based on their program selection, scheduling needs, and prior learning experiences if applicable. Starfish Degree Planner supports the Guided Pathways by helping students create a clear plan, make well-informed decisions, and provide Palomar College with valuable insights. To date, approximately 130 students have used Degree Planner. 

Sample view - Student degree plan

Starfish Early Alert

by Cindy Anfinson, Nancy Browne, and Kineta Rios 

Starfish Early Alert continues to expand usage and alerts in the fall 2020 semester. Until this semester, the Progress Survey feature has only been available for the 16-week full semester classes. It has been expanded in fall 2020 to include FT1, FT2, and the four-week classes. In response to the pandemic, several new alerts were added to address student technology concerns and textbook assistance needs. Faculty can use those alerts to direct students towards campus resources. When faculty raise an alert, student services staff are calling students and notifying faculty that the student was directly contacted. We call this closing the loop. 

The Starfish Early Alert website has been updated so the landing page is student focused. The faculty training PowerPoint is also available on the website, so faculty have access to the materials at all time. Regular trainings offered through Professional Development continue to be offered and the material is updated every semester.  

Students now have access to the Student Dashboard in Starfish. As part of our Pathway Navigation Grant, a Palomar Pathways Questionnaire was deployed last spring to strengthen new student onboarding. In the future, when a student completes a simple questionnaire on Starfish, student and academic support departments could reach out to them with information about services they are eligible for. There are also plans to test a new feature that will allow students to raise their hand, or ask for help, using Starfish. 

Starfish Early Alert Usage Data

Starfish Usage Data

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