California Guided Pathways Project

California Guided Pathways

The California Guided Pathways Project will help 20 California community colleges implement 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.



What are Guided Pathways?

Guided pathways reform is a student-centered approach that can dramatically increase the number of students earning community college credentials, while closing equity gaps. Rather than work with a subset of students, guided pathways are a college-wide undertaking that provides a framework for integrating California-based initiatives such as SSSP, Equity, Basic Skills Transformation, the Strong Workforce Program, and California College Promise.

Guided pathways provide students with clear, educationally coherent program maps that include specific course sequences, progress milestones, and program learning outcomes.

These maps are aligned to knowledge and skills required by four-year institutions and the labor market, thus ensuring that students can continue their studies and advance in their careers.


Guided Pathways Map

The maps help to simplify decision-making for students by providing intentional opportunities for exploration and informed choices. Students are helped from the start to understand academic and career options, choose a program of study, and develop a plan based on the program maps.

These plans enable colleges to provide predictable schedules, frequent feedback, and embedded, discipline-specific support to help students stay on track and complete their programs more efficiently.

They also facilitate efforts by faculty to ensure that students are building knowledge and skills within and across programs that will allow them to succeed in further education and on the job.



What will participation entail?

The institutes will be held during:
September 2017
November 2017
February 2018
September 2018
January 2019
September 2019

The California Guided Pathways Project will run from 2017-2019.

Colleges will send teams to six institutes, where they will receive guidance and structured time to plan for campus work to create clear pathways to high-quality credentials and develop the change management strategies needed to accomplish this goal. College teams will be made up of five people including the president, a faculty leader, and other stakeholders.

Each college will also receive support from a team of pathways coaches and information on complementary reform efforts in California that can help support specific facets of their work.

Colleges will pay a participation fee of $15,000 per year ($45,000 total) and will cover travel and staffing costs to get their teams to the institutes. Hotel costs and meals at the institutes will be covered by the project. Colleges may use funding from Chancellor’s Office-led initiatives to underwrite these costs.



Who is leading the California Guided Pathways Project?

The project is a broad-based collaboration designed to adapt the national AACC Pathways model to California. Under the fiscal agency of the Foundation for California Community Colleges, the project draws on the expertise of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Bakersfield College, Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE), Community College Research Center (CCRC), National Center for Inquiry & Improvement (NCII), and WestEd. Additional support will be provided by the Aspen Institute, Achieving the Dream, Jobs for the Future, and Public Agenda.

The work is supported by a California-based advisory committee that includes college representatives, Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, Achieving the Dream, California Acceleration Project, California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, California State Universities System Office, Campaign for College Opportunity, Career Ladders Project, Chief Student Services Administrators Association, Education Results Partnership, Success Center for California Community Colleges, Institute for Evidence-Based Change, Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative, Legislative Analyst’s Office, and RP Group.



Who is funding the California
Guided Pathways Project?

The project is funded through generous support by College Futures Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, and the Teagle Foundation, in addition to fees paid by participating colleges.