Skip to Content
Palomar College Learning For Success


Palomar College Guided Pathways

GP Student Ambassadors – Who are they? (continued)

Gregory Mendoza

Hello, My name is Gregory Mendoza. I am a student at Palomar College, a Peer Mentor for Student Success and Engagement Department and a GP Student Ambassador.  I was born in San Diego and raised by a single mother. I am the first generation in my family to attend college. I was formerly incarcerated and education has been a life changer and opportunities that I never thought would be possible have been opened, because I decided to pursue a degree and be part of change in my community.  I plan to transfer to Cal State San Marcos and continue my higher education. Guided Pathways has given me an idea of how I will get to my goals and what classes I need to complete to transfer and continue my academic journey

Kory Nokes

My name is Kory Nokes and I am a Student Ambassador for Palomar Pathways.  My educational journey has been far from conventional. I tried college after high school but did not have much success.  I was not in a good place in my life at the time and did not have my priorities in order. I made some bad decisions and was in trouble with the law. My education unfortunately took a back seat to a negative lifestyle. My path to education began while I was incarcerated.  I was able to change my life and earn my Associates of Science in Business while incarcerated. Education continues to open doors for me and I know now that there is nothing I cannot do. I know today that I have the power to create my ideal destiny by taking advantage of the choices and opportunities that are presented in front of me.  I work as a Peer Mentor at Palomar College and will be transferring to Cal State San Marcos next fall. I am a member of Phi Theta Kappa, and have been nominated to be the 2020 commencement speaker. What I like about Palomar Pathways is that I have a voice. I have the opportunity to help make the educational experience better for all students.  I am honored to be a part of this great team.

Palomar Pathway “Wins” – December 2019

Italian Online – Zero Cost Program!  

Beginning Fall 2020, the World Languages department will offer an online Italian program with zero cost materials and no on-campus meetings. Each Italian course – ITAL 101, 102, 201, and 202 – will be offered sequentially, online, and in eight-weeks during one academic year. All course materials will be provided free of charge by the course instructor. Each course includes flexible weekly deadlines so assignments can be submitted around the student’s schedule. Thank you Scott Nelson for highlighting this exciting program option!  See flyer for more information: click here.

Cooperative Education at Vista Detention Facility (VDF)!

 Palomar College will be the first in the state to offer a cooperative education program at a California jail!  This 2020 Spring Semester, incarcerated individuals at the Vista Detention Facility (VDF) will be able to receive student credit for jobs they have while at VDF.  Cooperative Education will also offer workshops to help incarcerated students transfer their skills to resumes which will facilitate in their transition out of jail.  This is exciting news! Thank you Suzanne Sebring for sharing.

NNN-MATCH Conference Update

On Friday, September 20, 2019 and Saturday, September 21, 2019, Palomar College hosted its first National Numeracy Network (NNN) Conference!  Faculty from Palomar College, San Diego City College, and USD attended the two-day event, representing many disciplines including Math, Philosophy, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), English as a Second Language, and Biology.  Organizers Luis Guerrero and Shelbi Mayo, Palomar College Mathematics faculty, worked with the NNN to pull together this important workshop.

Conference participants attended sessions on how the Quantitative Reasoning (QR) lens can be applied across many topics, truly expanding Math Across The Curriculum Holistically.  Three speakers from NNN presented on the following topics: 

  • QR and Social Justice
  • Data Literacy #s for the Professions
  • Statistical Literacy as Rhetoric 
  • Rhetorical Numbers: Using Quantitative Evidence in Writing and Argumentation 
  • Data Visualization: Charts and graphs for Consumers and Producers 
  • Analyzing Numbers in the News
  • Spreadsheets for Quantitative Reasoning: An Excel-lent Way to Engage Your Students with Math 

If you missed any of these great sessions, the Conference slideshows and handouts are available on the MATCH website:

For more on the National Numeracy Network, see:

Meta Major Card Swap Feedback and COCI Analysis

In Spring 2019, 51 teams of three to eight faculty, staff, administrators participated in a card swap activity to cluster Palomar College’s academic programs into commonly shared themes or “Meta Majors.”  The office of Institutional Research and Planning (IR&P) then analyzed the data reporting that seven Meta Major groups/clusters emerged.  Below is a list of the seven Meta Major clusters from the Palomar card swap analysis.

*A survey requesting your input will be sent out soon!  We look forward to your thoughts.  Until then, you are welcome to email the GP team at: 

These seven Meta Majors, as determined through the Card Swap analysis, were then presented to several College committees and at three Professional Development workshops to collect feedback. Along with the presentations, faculty, staff, and administrators had the opportunity to provide feedback using an online survey.  

Following the feedback on the initial seven Meta Majors from the card swap activity, an analysis of our COCI (Chancellor’s Office Curriculum Inventory) data was provided from Palomar’s IR&P group.  The IR&P Group was able to use the data in the Curriculum Inventory to conduct an analysis of our degrees based on common course overlap, meaning degrees that have common course paths.

It is important to understand the difference between the Card Swap activity and the COCI analysis.  The Card Swap activity was about our perceptions of how programs should be clustered, whereas the COCI analysis used data on courses in our programs to common courses within programs.  The Card Swap was our subjective perspective and the COCI data was an objective data driven analysis of common courses. Both of these methods are very valuable and allow us to better understand how our employees and students believe programs are clustered while ensuring that students in a Meta Major can “swirl” hopefully without losing credits.  “Swirling” here refers to a students who might decide to switch their program of study within a Meta Major. We want to make sure students who “swirl” within a Meta Major are hopefully taking courses that could be used in both paths.

The Following is the data from the Card Swap Analysis, Feedback on the Card Swap Analysis, the initial COCI results, and the final suggested clusters based on all of the information obtained

Feedback from the Meta Major Review Workshop and Committee:

  • We should consider looking at what our area K-12 schools are doing and align them.
  • We need to figure out what tools will we use to help students identify which Meta Major they are interested in.
    -    Possibly use Holland Codes, also referred to as RIASEC (used heavily through Vista Unified School District also used in the MyPath Career Coach)
    1.   About MyPath Career Coach 
    2.  My Path
  • Possibly align RIASEC codes to our Meta Majors (Example: Mt. Sac or Saddleback)
  • It was suggested that we pull out only the student feedback on the Card Swap activity to better understand the student perspective.  
  • After looking for the Meta Majors at several other colleges it was noted how it took over 5 clicks at several colleges to find their Meta Majors which makes it difficult for students to find.  Students should be able to get to the mapper page within only a couple clicks from the main page; they shouldn’t have to search for it. Where we choose to locate the mapper will be important for ease of use for our students. 
  • There was a suggestion to try to track how students are using the Pathway Mapper, and there were questions asked about whether there is any data that we can pull from the Program Mapper tool currently in implementation.-
    -    Answer:  We can include a Google Analytics code to track page use/views.

Card Swap Feedback Form Responses:


  • 61 people provided feedback using the feedback form.  We had participation from all employee groups:
  • 49.2%= Full-Time Faculty
  • 13.1%= Part-Time Faculty
  • 26.2%= Classified Staff
  • 11.5%= AA, CAST, Student

Business Cluster Feedback

  • 77.2% liked the name “Business” for this cluster, but several would like to see a more catchy student-centered name.  A common suggested name was “Business and Economics”.
  • 83.3% agreed with the list of programs in this cluster.
  • Suggestions for revision to the program included removing legal studies and economics.

Health and Public Safety Cluster Feedback

  • 94.8% liked the name "Health & Public Safety."  
  • 89.8% agreed with the programs in the cluster.
  • Suggestions for revision includes adding child development and psychology and removing nursing, administration of justice, and fire.

Humanities and Social Science Cluster Feedback

  • 82.8% liked the name "Humanities & Social Sciences." Other suggestions included adding Education, naming it “Human Society and Culture,” and naming it solely “Social Science.”
  • 79.7 agreed with the programs in the cluster.
  • Suggestions for revision included adding Economics, English, Library Technologies, Legal Studies, AJ, and ASL, and removing Child Development, Psychology, Humanities, Philosophy, and Religious Studies.

Languages Cluster

  • 77.2% like the name "Languages." Other names to consider were “Applied Communication,” “Languages and Communication,” “Written and Spoken Languages,” and “Languages and Humanities.”
  • 85% agree with the programs in this cluster.
  • Suggested revisions to this cluster included adding Humanities, Philosophy, Religious Studies, American Indian Studies, and Journalism, and removing Speech, English, and ESL.

Trade and Industry Cluster

  • 94.8% like the name "Trade & Industry."  Other names to consider are “Industry and Trade Technologies” or “Mechanics, Welders, and More!”.
  • 95% agree with the programs in the cluster.
  • Suggestions for revision included adding Architecture and Drafting and removing Library Technologies.

Arts and Media Cluster

  • 93% like the name "Arts & Media." Other names to consider are “Arts and Digital Media” or “Arts, Media, and Design.”
  • 89.6% agree with the programs in the cluster.
  • Suggestions for revision included adding Communication and Library Technologies, and removing Architecture and Drafting, Graphic Communications, and Journalism.

STEM Cluster

  • 85.7% like the name "STEM."  Other names to consider are to spell out STEM as “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics,” or just “Science and Technology”.
  • 91.4% agree with the programs in this cluster.
  • Suggestions for revision included adding architecture and Drafting and removing Computer Science, Math, and Geography.

Naming Meta Majors at Palomar

  • When asked what we should call our Meta Majors, 53.5% voted for Academic and Career Pathways, which is the same name used by MiraCosta.  The next names with top votes were Palomar Pathways at 25% and Areas of Interest at 20%.
*All results can be viewed here:


The COCI analysis focused on common courses within degrees.  The cluster analysis of our COCI data suggests 12 Meta Majors.  Below is a look at the COCI results.

Please note, the COCI Analysis used our degrees and not Programs as was used in our Card Swap.

*In the tables below you will see codes next to the names, the table to the left references those codes.

Outcome: Combining the findings from the Card Swap, Feedback, & COCI

Below you will see 7 Meta Majors that were designed by reviewing the Card Swap Data, the Feedback on the Card Swap data, and the programs with common courses as suggested by the COCI analysis:

Combined 7 COCI Clusters Table.2019.11.15


Palomar Pathway “Wins” – November 2019


The Program Completion Academy met on October 18 with 24 faculty and counselors attending.  Several disciplines shared successful models of offering accelerated program schedules to support student completion, including programs in Religious Studies, Child Development, and Diesel Technology.  Program development worksheets for the academic year 2020-2021 are now available on the Program Completion webpage.  Included on this webpage are listings of institutional student support services that will enhance student program completion.  The Program Completion webpage is also accessible from the Guided Pathways website.   

GP Student Ambassadors – who are they? (continue)

Veronica Cristellon

I’m Veronica Cristellon and I am an international student here at Palomar College. I was born in Italy and I started my degree this semester. I moved to California to study art because I think that the United States is the land of opportunities in which I could realize my dream: writing and illustrating children’s books. So I choose Palomar College as my first step for building my future. I am really enjoying this experience in college. Everything is new, from the classes to the language. Studying in a new system and in a college, not in your own language can be challenging sometimes. But I love what I am studying and can see that my path is going in the direction I chose. That is why I decided to join Guided Pathways. I truly believe that college can help students find their dream and reach their goals in their careers and lives. This can be achieved if the College works together with the students to build a better educational environment, by sharing ideas and suggestions. For this reason, for me, it is important to be a student ambassador because I feel that everyone can help to improve the College, starting with the students. It is important to share ideas to create a united, powerful and joyful environment, for students and the College.

Crystal Figueroa

Hi. My name is Crystal Figueroa and I’m a student ambassador with Guided Pathways who is majoring in Computer Science and Engineering. I was born in Hawaii but grew up in San Diego County. Growing up, my mom was a single parent and we were very poor. We were even homeless for some time. As a previously impoverished individual, one of my biggest goals is to help find ways to keep college as affordable as possible. Not just for low-income families, but for everyone. Guided Pathways has given me an opportunity to help make it easier, and more affordable, for everyone to reach their goals.

ECE & MATCH Activity – Starting them young

Picture of classroom setting with Preschool children working with faculty.

Donut picture with play dough on table


Early Childhood Education & Math Across the Curriculum Holistically

MATCH teamed up with the ECE lab on September 13th, 2019 to introduce Palomar’s youngest learners to higher mathematics. MATCH coordinators Shelbi Mayo and Luis Guerrero had Palomar faculty and volunteers explain topology with hands on activities. Math faculty Gina Sanders and Tracy Johnston had some of their Concepts of Elementary Mathematics students and Math Club students help the young learners work with tessellations, fractals, mobius strips and converting coffee cups into donuts. The children learned interesting math concepts like self-similarity, tillings of planes, single-sided surfaces and topological equivalences. Posters connecting patterns to nature and how they can be woven into art and design were also presented. You may have seen their work in the Library which displayed the math and art work through November 5th. 

Palomar Pathway “Wins” – October 2019

Enter the Path

Internship Opportunity for Palomar STEM students!

Palomar is partnering with Northrop Grumman, who will offer two paid internships to Palomar STEM students interested in engineering. The interns will work in the Aerospace Systems Sector. The Cooperative Education Department will work with interested applicants to assist them with their resumes, cover letters, and personal statements. Northrop Grumman interviewed selected candidates on Friday, September 27th and started their internships the week of October 14th.

Supporting Transition students – new funding from Chancellor’s Office

Chancellor Oakley included $10 Million for colleges to serve incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students in his 20-21 budget request to the Governor. Several of Palomar’s Transitions students attended the Board of Governor’s Meeting at Riverside City College on Tuesday, September 17 to give public testimony in support of the budget allocation. They relayed their personal stories and explained why higher education for justice-involved students is so important. These Transitions students have stepped up at Palomar to serve in leadership roles in Transitions Collective Student Club, Guided Pathways work, as peer mentors and interns at Palomar, CSUSM, and with Berkeley Underground Scholars. They had a huge team participate in the Monster Bash & Dash!

Image Sources

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

Teaching 4-week classes – A tell all!

By Laurel Anderson, PhD, Associate Professor & Dept. Chair, Child Development

Stay on the Path

Many students who take child development courses aspire to teach in preschools and early childcare centers.  In California, our licensed childcare facilities require child development or early childhood education units.  At present, there is an Associate Teacher Permit that requires 12 units of child development. Our department discussed the feasibility of offering 4-week courses to align with the permit requirements.  This opportunity would allow our department to market the four classes as a ‘package’ for employment as well as a foundation for our degrees and certificates. So, we are offering a four-class sequence to align with state requirements. Of course, students could take all four classes in 16 weeks, but the 4 week model is structured as hybrid courses that meet one evening a week and the remainder of the course work is completed online.  This allows the students and instructor face-to-face instruction and online opportunities.  

As week eight ends, two courses are complete.  The students’ feedback has been positive. In fact, one student stated, “Why don’t more disciplines do this?” And, another, “This is the ONLY way I could get the units so I can stay employed.”  Other positive sentiments come from the community we serve. Employers are thrilled to have this opportunity for their employees to gain the education and expertise necessary for implementing best practices in their schools and businesses.

As an instructor, this experience has exceeded my expectations.  The students are focused, productive, engaged, receptive, and excited.  The face-to-face classes have nearly 100 percent attendance—the students are ready and eager to learn, and they know that if they miss one class, it is one-fourth of their session.  Additionally, the online portions of the course are discussed in the face-to-face venue so the students are well prepared for this area of coursework when they leave the classroom each week.   

Organization is the key for the success in this venue of learning and teaching. I broke the four weeks into four meaningful units.  The Course Outline of Record is met through the learning experiences in each of the units, so the course rigor is high. Each unit comes with a packet that includes extensive rubrics, checklists and links for further learning.  The students know exactly what is expected of them. My model for teaching has always included rubrics and checklists, so the new avenue of teaching has not veered far from my typical practices. I have found, however, that there is no time for procrastination, and so we are all focused and timely with our work! 

Hands down, this is the best semester of my teaching career.  I love teaching one class at a time and pouring all of my energy and focus into the subject matter at hand.  The students are so receptive to this style of teaching and learning. The students who are taking multiple courses in succession have formed a cohort of support and friendship. Numerous students who signed up for one class have signed up for the rest of the 4-week courses after completing the first session.  The students encourage one another, are excited to see one another each week, and have really vigorous online connections through the discussion boards. These connections and the networking that takes place between students are powerful. I love the community that has formed in the classroom. These members are present, productive, and passionate. The positive attitude is contagious.  We all want to be in the learning environment, together. In fact, last week, one of my students asked, “So, what classes are WE taking NEXT semester, like this?” That says it all.  

Image Sources

  • Step 3: Stay on the Path: Palomar Community College District | All Rights Reserved

Program Completion Academy – What is it?

By Jack S. Kahn, PhD, Assistant Superintendent/Vice President for Instruction

Clarify the Path

The Program Completion Academy is an offshoot project from the Guided Pathways plan.  The academy consists of instructional faculty, counselors, staff, administrators and students who gather together to discuss how instructional programs can be redesigned to better meet the needs of students.

There are 2 types of Program Completion Academies:

(a) Discipline based
(b) Institutional based 

Discipline based academies focus on creating “completion packages” for academic awards.
This process starts with academic maps.  Academic maps list all the courses needed to complete a program.  In contrast, a “completion package” indicates how to get through the map (8 week classes, DE, hybrid, etc).  Think of it as a route that is designed to meet the needs of students (Student data Fact Sheet). 

This past summer the Program Completion Academy started to discuss data and began to design and move programs forward toward creating "completion packages."  The "completion packages" represent the route students can take to complete more efficiently.  

After the "completion packages" are created and discussed with deans and department chairs, the next step is to discuss in an 'integrated advisory' meeting with industry partners and representatives from Palomar’s work-based learning opportunities, equity representatives and student support representatives (counselors, tutors etc.) to determine the broader needs of the program.

There will be a first practice 'integrated advisory board' meeting with the Archaeology Palomar team who have the first official new completion package that was a result of the summer meetings.  Nice job Archaeology! Once completed, the program gets to promote the new program through Palomar makes it Possible website:

Institutional Based academies focuses on larger institutional issues that impact the broader institution.
This summer Palomar’s awesome speech faculty met with faculty from Mira Costa and Miramar College to discuss Distance Education options for students in the speech discipline.  The intent of these meetings is to discuss the impact of various offerings we have on student success and overall enrollment.

When are these academies?
This fall the following Program Completion Academy meetings are scheduled.  

October 30th:  Discipline + Institutional Discussion on Distance Education in the Sciences (3-5 PM)

November 15: Discipline only (1-3 PM)

Leadership: Each academy has a faculty lead 

Discipline:  Curriculum Co-Chair:  Wendy Nelson

Institutional: Glyn Bongolan & Pj DeMaris

And... back from retirement - Marty Furch has joined the team to help build in some structure and make progress with this project - so keep an eye out for her email and leadership coming soon!  If you want to join the meetings please reach out to Marty:

 We have made a lot of progress - stay tuned for more information, a website, templates and more support!  

Image Sources

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