Their Approach

Santa Ana College (SAC) recognized that new students are inundated with emails from the college. Many of these go unread, consequently, students are not learning about resources in a timely manner. The college also recognized that first generation college students need guided career exploration support in order to make a solid Ed Plan in year one.

What They Did

After learning of the impact of the student success team model at other California Community Colleges, SAC set out to design and implement their own version of student success teams focused on supporting new college students through improving communication to students and between college offices and resources. The SAC Guided Pathways team set three main goals for their success teams: ensure students are in the best major for their interests and career aspirations, ensure that Pell-eligible students are receiving financial aid, and ensure that all new full-time students have an initial or comprehensive Ed Plan completed. They piloted one student success team with the Future Educators Career and Academic Pathway (CAP), one of SAC’s metamajors. The team included a counseling liaison, CAP Coordinator, discipline faculty lead, success coaches, financial aid specialists, and a career coach. SAC developed roles and responsibilities for each member of the team to ensure that students receive complete wraparound support services. The discipline faculty lead works as a liaison connecting students to supports, other faculty, and early fieldwork opportunities. After the one-year pilot with Future Educators, SAC plans to scale their success teams to include a team for every CAP, including non-credit, starting in Fall 2020.

What They Learned

SAC does not claim to have it all figured out. They still need to figure out the best way to communicate with students. Early efforts to use Canvas for this purpose didn’t work for the team. However, they did learn that students are responsive to having a team ensure they are meeting major milestones. Although they had to abandon some plans when shelter-in-place orders took effect, like the in-person event focused on high school-to-college career exploration for the Future Educators CAP, SAC learned to use zoom video conferences to keep the teams working with students, communicate the work and learnings of the team to the larger college community, orient new success team members, and maintain momentum on other guided pathways projects.

Santa Ana College
1530 W. 17th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706-3398