Colleges across California that are undertaking the momentous process of Guided Pathways redesign can learn from one another’s ideas and approaches, missteps, and successes.
This guide summarizes the process of planning and facilitating visits by administrators, faculty, and staff to other colleges to learn how they are exploring and pursuing a variety of aspects of redesign.
These visits can:
- Catalyze peer-to-peer learning
- Surface evidence-based practices
- Clarify the redesign process
- Help scale Guided Pathways redesign
- Foster relationships for future collaboration
College leaders should carefully consider how they will approach numerous aspects of conducting a site visit, from choosing the participating team to funding the travel and time involved. Above all, they should engage staff, administrators, and faculty across campus in planning, and they should ensure that each visit is constructed to (1) meet specific goals, (2) minimize unpredictability, and (3) anticipate and acknowledge the various approaches of individual participants. Engaging an outside facilitator early on can help address these challenges. An outside facilitator also can help colleges prepare for and conduct a visit and then process, internalize, and implement what they learn.
- Designate such roles as:
- Project manager: Keeps things going, serves as point of contact, keeps communication open and active, manages calendar, takes notes on logistics, sends reminders, plans meals and travel
- Outside facilitator: Leads planning calls, helps college explore options and decide if site visits are appropriate next step, facilitates the visit itself
- Reporter: Takes notes on visit, reports on lessons learned
- Study goals for redesign on your campus
- Study other site exchanges and start formulating goals for your visit
- Identify funding for the visit (and how it will shape the visit)
- Engage an outside facilitator, or select an internal facilitator
- Identify where your college is in the Guided Pathways implementation process
- Identify existing or potential barriers to redesign on your campus, and share with facilitator
- Set clear goals for each visit (with support from facilitator)
- Consider who on campus should participate in visit
- Consult GP Stories, CCCCO, RP reports, EdInsights Reports (and additional resources) about various aspects of redesign under way across California and beyond
- Pick willing and informed partners because a site visit can be time-consuming.
- Publicize the visit so colleagues on your campus are eager to hear what you learned when you return
- Methods to connect with partners include calling cold, getting an intermediary to introduce you, networking at regional and statewide events, having the facilitator or an outside vendor make an introduction, etc.
- Clarify the ask, and have topics and dates in mind
- Solidify your site visit team (remember some may not be on the Guided Pathways team)
- Begin planning: Teams from each college meet independently with the facilitator (whether internal or external) to discuss visit goals and content, and eventually all three parties meet
- Create an agenda for the day. The colleges do this together, taking into account the learning and other goals of each institution. Key elements of the agenda include:
- presentations of narrative by host campus
- presentation by visiting college about its inquiry
- campus tour if possible
- Information about practical steps and impacts
- processing time on the same day (facilitated) to help the learning college begin synthesizing the experience—and planning how to implement what it learns
- Choose meeting space and, if needed, a convenient hotel
- Think about transportation (and costs), depending on location
- Plan the meals and snacks that are part of the event
- Decide well in advance who will produce, edit, finalize, and possibly distribute and/or print presentation slides, Mentimeter, and other tools and activities to be used during the event
- Local logistics: Can the host college’s event team help? Marketing? AV services? Security? Parking?
- Conduct the event!
- Debrief as soon as possible, based on your selected reporter’s initial summary
- Share the lessons in a more formal report or event (an example is the Fresno Learning Cluster in August 2019)
- Consider other ways to share learning across your campus: Blogging? A closed chat like GroupMe? Twitter (managed by a communications staffer)? Zoom (to transmit the event live and record it)?
Authors of this guide | Laura Impellizzeri and Cristina Sandoval
This guide is a product of Career Ladders Project.