By Casey Ticsay
Student newspaper and radio representatives across California spoke with California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley in an Oct. 18 teleconference, where he discussed initiatives that will shape the future of the state’s 114 community colleges.
One of Oakley’s main focuses was the progress of Guided Pathways, a $150 million investment meant to build structured curricular pathways that help students achieve their academic goals in a timely manner. The program supports a 5-year planning and implementation process for colleges that implement it.
Since beginning Phase I of the Guided Pathways effort, City College has conducted a series of inquiry workshops and listening sessions with students, faculty, staff and administrators as part of its yearlong study to examine major components of the new work plan.
Mathematics professor Frederick Teti, who serves as City College’s Academic Senate President, believes that there is a population of students who could benefit from having explicitly delineated paths. But he also added that there is a large student population who want to have the freedom to select from course offerings and experiment before settling on a specific discipline.
“There’s certainly a fear that once the pathways are established, if a particular course or program isn’t on one of the paths, then that program’s enrollment will wither and the program could possibly be suspended or deactivated,” Teti said.
Last year, the college system’s board of governors also adopted the Vision for Success, a plan meant to encourage all 73 districts to prioritize access to education and ensure that proposed investments focus on advancing student success and eliminating equity gaps.
Vision for Success calls for a new funding formula that will require the state’s community colleges to integrate Vision for Success’s goals within each college’s educational master plan. The most controversial aspect of the formula is a a student success incentive grant, which will allocate additional funding for college districts that have more students who complete degrees or certificates, especially in less than three years.
Oakley said the initiatives aim to improve outcomes for all Californians, particularly those who have not been well-represented.