Student Equity and Completion Plan
Through Sierra College’s Guided Pathways and Equity efforts a significant amount of work has been happening in recent years. To better align our efforts the college completed a strategic planning process in 2019-2020, which included:
- Established goals and related metrics for Sierra College, which were aligned with the California Community College Board of Governors Vision for Success Goals
- Goal 1: Student Success
- Goal 2: Elimination of Equity Gaps
- Collected logic models from groups and pulled from existing plans such as Equity Plan, Guided Pathways Scale of Adoption, etc.
- Examined activities submitted by the various groups and combined them into 82 district activities around 7 broad themes (i.e. career, instruction, support, etc.)
- Beginning in fall 2020, the Equity and Student Completion Guided Pathways Steering Committee began meeting to implement the Strategic Plan
California Guided Pathways Project
In fall 2020, Sierra was selected to participate in the second cohort of the California Guided Pathways project. Involvement with this project will help Sierra advance the work of further implementing an integrated, institution-wide approach to student success by creating structured educational experiences that support each student from point of entry to attainment of high-quality postsecondary credentials and careers.
Sierra College’s Guided Pathways Journey
The R4S Task force had a two-year charter. It was primarily comprised of instructional and special services faculty and educational administrators who were selected for their roles and perspectives at the college. We developed the following statement to stay focused on what we were trying to address through our efforts:
Problem Statement: A low percentage of students reach their stated educational goals in a timely manner, or at all.
To address this problem, we decided to establish a comprehensive guided pathways approach, including:
- Academic maps and interest areas
- Structured onboarding processes
- Proactive academic and career counseling
- Enhancement of the early alert system (Sierra Connect)
- Instructional support and co-curricular activities (professional development)
To accomplish this, we:
- Mapped over 150 degrees and certificates
- Made improvements to our professional development department so that all staff have robust training
- Changed our entire curriculum cycle so that counselors, our website, and other resources can all be aligned with new students arriving at the college.
- Determined our nine Interest Areas (meta majors)
Counselors and specialists have assigned caseloads and proactively reach out to students in need of services. Teams developed to support each Interest Area is still in development.
We have drastically enhanced our early alert system and implemented additional modules using Sierra Connect so that it is becoming the centerpiece of our case management system. It now offers degree planning, connects students with their support network, and gives students the ability to schedule appointments with anyone in their support network, including instructional faculty.
In 2019-2020, Sierra College implemented a more strategic student-centered approach to developing the class schedule. In partnership with Ad Astra Information Systems, data and analytics were developed which incorporated historical enrollments, student educational plans, and degree templates. Additionally, the college began optimizing space utilization. We are just beginning to use the data in the system to see where we, as a college, are falling short of supporting our students.