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Palomar College Guided Pathways

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!



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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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

Introduction – March 2019

The Four Pillars

The Guided Pathways framework is routinely referred to as the 4 Pillars.  The 4 Pillars support students’ education path.

1: Clarify the Path

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Create Clear Curricular Pathways to Employment and Further Education

2: Enter the Path

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Help Students Choose and Enter their Pathway

3: Stay on the Path

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Help Students Stay on Their Path

4: Ensure Learning

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Follow Through, and Ensure that Better Practices are Providing Improved Student Results

Guided Pathways Workgroups

To achieve the goals of the Guided Pathways framework, the GP Team has divided into six major workgroups.  The workgroups have been developing processes and procedures to implement GP in numerous areas of the college.

Ensure Learning Outcomes and Research


April Cunningham, Michelle Barton

Career Integration


Rosie Antonecchia, Glynn Bongolon, Rita Campo-Griggs, Elena Chirkova-Sikora, Margie Fritch, Karan Huskey, Chris Sinnott

Instructional Changes


P.J. DeMaris, Jack Kahn, Wendy Nelson, Travis Ritt

AB 705 Support


Cindy Anfinson, Melinda Carrillo, Leanne Maunu, Shauna Moriarty

Communication & Professional Development


Kelly Falcone, Wendy Nelson, Justin Smiley

Student Services Changes


Nancy Browne, Carmelino Cruz, Olga Diaz, Dillon Emerick, Pearl Ly, Kendyl Magnuson, Patrick O'Brien, Star Rivera-Lacey

As part of our GP plan we recognize the importance of communicating our actions and successes to the college so that we give every employee the opportunity to learn about the transformations that are occurring now and will occur in the future.  With this GP Newsletter, we strive to include you in the GP process by providing updates and we also encourage you to provide your input to simplify processes and integrate innovative methods that put students first.

We Want to Hear Your Ideas

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  • Step 1: Clarify the Path: Palomar Community College District | All Rights Reserved
  • Step 2: Enter the Path: Palomar Community College District | All Rights Reserved
  • Step 3: Stay on the Path: Palomar Community College District | All Rights Reserved
  • Step 4: Ensure Learning: Palomar Community College District | All Rights Reserved

Communication and Professional Development – March 2019

Guided Pathways Workshops Well-Attended

By Kelly Falcone, Wendy Nelson, and Justin Smiley

The 316 employees who have attended Guided Pathways Professional Development trainings account for 597 completed trainings!  We were very happy to see every employee group represented in the GP training which included: 138 PT Faculty, 129 FT Faculty, 28 Classified Staff, 16 CAST/AA, and 7 Short-Term Employees.

To begin engaging the entire college in Guided Pathways, the PD Office offered several workshops at the Fall 2018 plenary.  In the Fall our Guided Pathways training began with two pre-plenary days facilitated by two GP experts, Dr. Maria Hesse, Vice Provost for Academic Partnerships at Arizona State University (ASU), and senior research scholar, Dr. Davis Jenkins.  At our all-college plenary we had an amazing keynote by Dr. Pedro Noguera who helped us to see how GP would help us to reduce equity gaps at Palomar College.  After hearing from these amazing academics, employees were invited to attend an “Introduction to Guided Pathways” workshop. At this workshop the GP team shared with the college what GP is, why we are doing it, and some of the actions we would be taking.

Continuing with the focus on Guided Pathways throughout the Fall semester, the GP team led additional “Introduction to Guided Pathways” workshops and offered 10 Coffee Talks to provide an opportunity for employees to have informal conversation about GP.  In addition to this, the GP team offered to attend department meetings to provide information about GP and answer questions.

Guided Pathways continued to be a focus of our Spring 2019 All-College Plenary.  Dr. Rob Johnstone, from the Center for Inquiry and Improvement, led two workshops and a keynote talk.  Dr. Johnstone helped us begin our institutional conversation about Meta Majors.  During the first week of school we continued the discussion about Meta Majors by again inviting GP scholars to visit the campus.  Dr. Maria Hesse, from ASU, and Dr. Camille Newton, from Maricopa Community College District shared with us how they developed Meta Majors and how they collaborated to develop a pathway from Community College to University.

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

AB 705 – March 2019

New English, Math and ESL Pathways

By Cindy Anfinson, Melinda Carrillo, Leanne Maunu, and Shauna Moriarty

The AB 705 workgroup has been meeting twice monthly to implement AB 705 by Fall ’19. Both English and Math classes have been mapped (see maps below) to streamline the pathway as required by AB705. English 50 and 50A will no longer be offered starting Fall ‘19.  Students will be placed into English 100 or English 100+ (which is English 100 and English 49, the co-requisite course).

All mathematics courses numbered 53 and below will no longer be offered starting Fall ‘19. Students will be able to take Math 56 & Math 6, Math 56, or Math 60 for intermediate algebra.  Unless a student has never had intermediate algebra, they will not be placed into these courses. Students may be placed into Math 120 & Math 20 (Statistics co-requisite support) or Math 120. Students may also be placed into Math 110 & Math 11 (College Algebra co-requisite support) or Math 110. The Math Department will also offer a Math 100 with support (Math 1), and a Math 130 with support (Math 13).

ESL has created courses and streamlined its pathway to meet the AB705 mandate of ESL students successfully completing English 100 within 3 years. The AB705 workgroup is working on issues including messaging to current students, programming the new placement rules, and figuring out how to actually link co-requisite courses, among other issues.

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  • Step 3: Stay on 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:

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

Palomar Pathway “Wins” – March 2019

Our Guided Pathways plan outlines five years of actions that we will work on in order to transition how we think about a student’s experience at Palomar to be one where the students’ needs are our primary concern.  We would like to highlight some of the quick “Wins” we have achieved thus far in our implementation.

The first “win” involves innovative scheduling at our new Education Centers in Rancho Bernardo and Fallbrook.  In order to better serve students, block scheduling (classes scheduled around students’ needs to facilitate on-time completion) has been used to develop a clear semester-by-semester course pathway to help students obtain their degree or certificate in a timely manner.

Another great “win” that occurred in the Fall ‘18 semester was in our Fire Academy.  Forty Fall ‘18 and Spring ‘19 Fire Academy recruits turned in paperwork to receive a “Certificate of Achievement.”  What does that mean?  All recruits who complete the Fire Academy program will be “Certified!” What did Fire Academy do differently?  They handed out certification applications to every Fire Academy recruit and were completed in class. The applications were then collected and sent in with their Evaluations package. This Spring semester, they are going to hand out the application to all classes for students who anticipate completion of certificates or degrees, and expect to have 99% recruits certified. They will continue to collect and send the documents to Evaluations as a packet.

WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING MORE “WINS” from Fire Academy and other departments who are proactively guiding students to completion.