Fresno City College Goes to College

26 Aug 2019

As part of its Guided Pathways inquiry, Fresno City College sent teams to three other California community colleges and three campuses of CUNY, the City University of New York.

Learn more from this post about why FCC made these visits—facilitated by Career Ladders Project—how the college prepared, and what it learned. Then watch our webinar [recording no longer available], recorded August 26, for the details, and to hear what Fresno is doing now to put this learning into practice.

Why make site visits:

    • To listen for insights they couldn’t get from a website or document
    • To build the college’s trust and confidence in redesign 
    • To clarify Fresno’s own motivations, goals, and barriers

Choosing where to go: 

    • Get help: External facilitation from CLP spurred the work of self-assessment and setting redesign goals
    • Focus your planning: CLP asked contextualized questions to help identify FCC’s design stage and goals.
    • Clarify your goals: Once Fresno articulated its approach to redesign, they could look for other colleges that had worked on similar issues.
    • Use your connections: Relationships open doors.

Choosing the visiting team: 

    • Know your goals: Fresno’s choices of team members grew out of understanding the college’s approach to redesign and each visit’s purpose. 
    • Bring cross-campus representation: Each team included staff, administrators, counselors, instructional faculty, and Guided Pathways team members. 
    • Meet counterparts: It was important for FCC faculty, staff, and administrators to meet and talk about challenges and successes, from their perspectives, with people in similar roles on other campuses. 

Insights from FCC’s campus visits: 

    • Centering redesign on equity: We saw the importance of a shift in campus culture. 
    • Guided Pathways is the framework. Equity-mindedness is the lens. Closing achievement gaps in the goal.
    • Using data keeps the focus on students. Data takes the ego out and clarifies what’s working and what isn’t. 
    • Integrating student supports and harnessing technology achieves results for students.
    • Differences in implementation: Visiting different campuses clarified the flexibility of the Guided Pathways framework and the benefit of not having a prescriptive design model; some colleges have restructured physically, others have changed how they operate.
    • Differences in operation: We saw four different ways of organizing student supports and operations to implement redesign. 

Watch our recorded webinar to hear more about what Fresno learned:

    • at LA Trade Tech about its restructuring under Guided Pathways
    • at Bakersfield College about using data in pursuit of equity
    • at Skyline College about equity-mindedness across campus
    • at CUNY about integrating student supports