Progress and Projects

Seattle Central College is using the Guided Pathways approach to achieve the Student Success and Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Community goals in our strategic plan. We center racial equity in our work through the Black Solidarity Think Tank framework and Student Voices. The goal of our work is to dismantle racist and inequitable policies and practices by implementing equity minded, college-wide changes that lead to systemic transformation.

Learn more below about how Seattle Central is implementing Guided Pathways to make equity-minded, systemic changes and improve students’ experiences.

Every student is now assigned to an advisor based on their declared Area of Study. Students are assigned an advisor in their first quarter and receive proactive advising, such as cohort messages regarding quarterly action items (e.g. deadlines, registration opening, and how to meet with an advisor). Students who are undecided about which pathway or program to pursue are assigned an “exploratory” advisor who gives students specialized direction and resources. Additionally, students now receive a short-term projected educational plan to help direct their focus and begin conversations with advisors who help students choose the right courses for their pathway.  

The Black Solidarity Think Tank (BSTT) was established to ground our college’s Guided Pathways movement in theories, knowledge, and practices of racial equity and care. This group of faculty and staff seeks to build on Seattle Central College’s legacy of social justice by guiding our college towards institutional changes that will help our students, particularly Black and African American students, succeed. The BSTT’s equity minded framework has been applied to Guided Pathways projects over the last year and is now being introduced to the college community. Going forward, the framework will help guide decisions, projects, and policy-making efforts at the college.

Guided Pathways is funding various data dashboards to make data more accessible and transparent to faculty and staff. Data dashboards incorporate filters that allow us to disaggregate data and pinpoint equity gaps in student outcomes.

Student Success Dashboard

The Student Success dashboard was first piloted with faculty during Guided Pathways Program Mapping Retreats in 2021-2022. The data are used to begin conversations about course sequencing, racial equity, and ways the college can better support students in their classes. The Central Course Success dashboard is also used to identify Strategic Courses, courses that are required for students to earn a degree and in which the success rate is lower than average either for all students or for African American/Black men in particular. Many strategic courses require students to gain competency and skills in challenging concepts. Reviewing Strategic Courses provides opportunities for the college to consider how to best support students in these challenging courses.

Program Success Dashboard

The Program Success dashboard is a cohort-based dashboard based on student’s academic plan codes (program codes). This dashboard shows quarterly student enrollment and progress based on academic plan coding. Data can be disaggregated to pinpoint equity gaps that need to be addressed.

Enrollment Pipeline Dashboard

This dashboard project helps us better understand the patterns of students moving from application to enrollment in support of our Guided Pathways intake and onboarding goals and our strategic plan conversion rate goal. Data are disaggregated to pinpoint equity gaps that need to be addressed.

Faculty and student support staff play a critical role in retention. Through a collaborative partnership, faculty can use Starfish to raise an early alert (progress report) that indicates a student needs some extra support from members of their Success Network during Week 2 of the quarter.   During Weeks 2-4, Advising and Secondary Support services reach out at least twice to students who receive an Early Support notification from their instructor. In Winter 2023, 22 faculty members are participating and using the early alert in 38 of their classes.

In a radical effort to give students fair and accurate access to college-level courses, students may now use English Direct Self-Placement (DSP) to choose their first composition course at Seattle Central College. English DSP is a short survey in which students answer a series of questions, look at readings and student writing samples, and determine for themselves which class works for them right now.

Since implementing English DSP, 95% of students who use it place into college-level English. Directed self-placement is also closing the gap between historically underserved students of color (HUSOC) and non-HUSOC earning a passing grade in English 101. With Wonderlic, the previous English placement exam, there was a 21% gap between HUSOC and non-HUSOC earning a 2.0 or higher in English 101. After we implemented English directed self-placement, the gap dropped to 13%.  

Seattle’s Central’s English DSP efforts are financially supported by a five-year, $2,000,000 Title III grant from the Department of Education for our project titled “Seattle Pathways: First Year Experience.” Title III supports our Guided Pathways implementation.

Faculty developed Ensure Learning, Seattle Central’s approach to assessing student learning outcomes. Ensure Learning was heavily influenced by the work done in Guided Pathways Program Mapping Retreats held from 2020-2022. These retreats brought faculty together to share the legacy they hope to leave for students, reflect on disaggregated student success data, review program learning outcomes, update departmental websites, and work with academic advisors to develop sample schedules for prospective students. Ensure Learning builds on that work by asking faculty to reflect on student learning in their courses, connect with colleagues to consider curricular improvements, and share their knowledge, experiences and ideas.

All new students now have access to Entry and Admissions Specialists. Students get personalized help with placement for English and Math, Financial Aid, Advising, and various student support programs and resources to be successful at college.

Seattle Central built a college-wide employee development program called "Equity in Practice." All employees can enroll in a Canvas course that has a variety of modules to help them put Guided Pathways into action in their daily roles. Two of the modules are required to complete the course – Guided Pathways 101 and Black Solidarity Think Tank.

The college launched First Year and Career Services (FYCS) in 2020. FYCS provides specialized advising for students who are undecided about which academic and career path to pursue to help them make informed decisions with confidence about their future. Undecided students are assigned to a FYCS (Exploratory) Advisor to support them in making informed decisions about their academic and career path before being assigned an Area of Study advisor. FYCS Advisors support students through career exploration activities, advising on class selection, and development of job readiness skills such as resume and cover letter writing, interviewing, conducting job searches, and networking. FYCS offers programming for first year students to help them stay excited, knowledgeable, and focused on their goals.  There are also quarterly career-related events (ex. Handshake account activation, presentations on resume writing, jobs search, and career exploration) 

First Year and Career Services Center is financially supported by a five-year, $2 million Title III grant from the Department of Education for our project titled “Seattle Pathways: First Year Experience.” Title III supports our Guided Pathways implementation.

Students need a one-stop resource for their funding options and the steps to complete after they are admitted to Seattle Central. That’s why we created the Becoming a Tiger checklist. It’s a step-by-step guide for students to go from interested in attending to enrolled in classes.

Funding is a critical resource for students to attend college and to focus on their studies, instead of worrying. Students can use our Secure Funding checklist to begin the financial aid process, explore additional funding options, and practice healthy habits to successfully plan and manage their education expenses.

The creation of the new checklists is financially supported by a five-year, $2 million Title III grant from the Department of Education for our project titled “Seattle Pathways: First Year Experience.” Title III supports our Guided Pathways implementation.

Math faculty have created a corequisite model that shortens the developmental pathway so that students can more quickly progress to college level math, while gaining all the skills they need for their degree. In the new model, all levels of developmental math have been eliminated except for Math 098 (Intermediate Algebra, 5 credits). The new corequisite model includes 3-credit support classes for the following courses: Intermediate Algebra (098), Statistics (146), Applied math for Business and Social Sciences (116), Math for non-science majors (107), and Pre-calculus (141). This means that students can now complete college level math in 8 credits as opposed to 15 credits.  This supports the Guided Pathways Essential Practice of students completing college level math within their first year. 

As part of ensuring that students have equitable placement into math courses, Seattle Central in collaboration with North and South, have created a math directed self-placement tool for students. This allows students to avoid high stakes tests that disproportionately negatively impact students of color. Instead, the directed self-placement tool invites students to assess their own skills by attempting math problems with the option to view solutions and approaches. Students self-rate their confidence in solving similar problems, determining whether they need a class, a brief refresher, or nothing at all. The tool helps students make informed decisions about which math class to take. There is a close partnership with advising to help ensure that students also receive additional guidance from their assigned advisor to determine the appropriate math class for their academic goals. 

Seattle Central College has established Mission Fulfillment indicators that closely align with our institutional goals and Guided Pathways work. In creating our current indicators of achievement, we aligned indicators to the long-term goals in our strategic and operational plans and Guided Pathways, the frameworks that shape the work of the college. As a result, we reduced the number of indicators from 68 to 13, allowing deeper examination of disaggregated data to identify and respond to equity concerns as we track our progress towards these goals.

This collaborative, cross-departmental project overhauled the Transfer department webpages to provide a “one stop shop” for pathway information and student resources. The new websites are referred to as pathway maps. The content includes an overview of the pathway, a sample course schedule, career and wage information, funding information, future educational opportunities and a quarterly to-do list. Maps are a “snapshot” of how a student could complete a concentration and/or degree. Maps are also used for prospective students to explore our pathways to understand the recommended or required sequence of courses.

This project is expanding to Workforce programs and Basic and Transitional Skills in 2023.

Seattle Central revitalized its new student orientation and created SCOOP - Seattle Central Onboarding and Orientation Program. SCOOP includes pre-orientation events, on-campus new student orientation, and asynchronous online new student orientation. The program is part of our First Year Experience strategy to increase student satisfaction and retention by offering equity-minded programming that helps students explore pathways and support resources, connect to advisors and faculty, and complete activities to set them up for success, such as setting up accounts and getting student IDs.

Seattle’s Central’s orientation efforts are financially supported by a five-year, $2 million Title III grant from the Department of Education for our project titled “Seattle Pathways: First Year Experience.” Title III supports our Guided Pathways implementation.

Guided Pathways calls us to make radical, transformational organizational change by listening to students’ ideas and feedback. Seattle Central College serves a diverse student population, and we want all levels of our Guided Pathways work to reflect our student body. We believe our college is more effective at serving our students when BIPOC voices are heard at all levels of the institution. We created “Student Voices” to consistently gather student input about our Guided Pathways projects. Our Student Voices work guides the planning and implementation of all Guided Pathways projects.

Students pursuing the Associate of Arts DTA or Associate of Science Track 1 and 2 can now choose a “subplan” also called “concentration” (e.g. Psychology, Biology, Computer Science) on their admissions application or when meeting with an advisor. By learning what students are interested in when they apply, we can talk to students earlier about curriculum, services, and campus-involvement that might be of interest.

Concentrations or subplans also allow us to present pathway maps to students as the start of educational planning with their advisor, including the quarterly “to-do” items that help them be successful each quarter. And, soon, we can pull data to provide proactive support to students; for example, faculty would be able to work with Institutional Research to get a list of all the students studying Engineering. 

We can now all use the same language - subplan and concentration - to describe students’ area of focus within a degree. This is a more accurate way to talk about students’ educational plan that can also be recorded in our technology systems. And, because students’ subplans can be noted in ctcLink, this also means donors could designate scholarships for concentration types. 

The Umoja Scholars Program is a new partnership that enhances the cultural and educational experiences of African American and other students. Students in the program take courses designed based on the Umoja Community’s 18 Core Practices and receive advising, counseling, and leadership and networking opportunities. Faculty in the Umoja program complete the Umoja University Faculty Institute where they “gain an understanding of African-centered praxis through critical examination, collective engagement, and identifying effective strategies to transform the teaching and learning experience into one that contributes to the illumination of Black students’ intellect.”

The Umoja program exemplifies the way Seattle Central is transforming student success with racial equity and community at our core. Umoja students and faculty will experience an enhanced cultural and educational programming aimed at increasing well-being, feelings of belonging, and, ultimately, student success.