August 2021

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Learn More About Guided Pathways

Guided Pathways: A New Approach at De Anza 

What is the Guided Pathways Project?

Guided Pathways is a state-wide community college program that began in December 2016. It is proposed as an educational model that creates a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to student success. The idea is to provide clear pathways and integrated support – both academic and nonacademic– to guide students forward through a seemingly vast array of programs, majors, and career options. This means providing all students with a set of clear course-taking patterns to promote better enrollment decisions, to prepare students for success, and to integrate support services to make it easier for students to get the help they need during every step of their college experience.

The venture was designed to substantially increase the number of students who earn certificates or degrees at California Community Colleges. 


One good way to understand Guided Pathways is to examine the four pillars of the project. The first pillar, “Clarifying the Path, requires faculty to review their programs and provide tools for students to understand both the program requirements and the steps they must take to graduate in a reasonable amount of time. To meet this goal, colleges must create clear maps for every program they offer. The maps must be made easily accessible on websites so students can understand the courses necessary to complete the program, how long it will take to meet the requirements, and what kind of opportunities—career or educational—are available when they have completed the program. 


The second pillar of the Guided Pathways model is focused on “Getting on the Path,” which requires the College to help students explore programs, complete academic plans, and consider careers. Students who are unsure of their futures are introduced to a group of related courses based on their interests in a broader field, such as art, business, or social sciences to ensure that they can explore the possibilities while earning credit in classes that will likely serve them in choosing and entering a pathway that will help them reach their goals.


The third Guided Pathways’ pillar is “Stay On the Path. This pillar is a reminder that we need to continue to support students even after they are on the path. One way this is done is through a strong advising process to help students make informed choices. Having clear plans allows colleges to monitor students’ progress, and support them through friendly intervention if they struggle or lose sight of their goals. 

Pillar 4 requires us to “Ensure Learning.” Collecting and reviewing data is an essential element of determining whether our Guided Pathways initiatives and practices are helping to increase student success. Programs are designed around a coherent set of learning outcomes, rather than just as a collection of courses. Program learning outcomes optimally align with requirements for success in further education and employment in a related field. 

Here at De Anza, we have surpassed the traditional goals of the program, expanding the concept to include programs and initiatives to create community on campus, support student success, and develop and implement clear equity initiatives. Today, the De Anza College Guided Pathways Project has a three-person coordination team, seven team leads, and a crew of 53 instructors, counselors, classified professionals, and administrators, all working together to re-envision our campus and infuse actionable equity and genuine collegiality into our campus culture.

Meet the Core Team

The Intersegmental Team

The Intersegmental Teams, especially involving Math, English, and ESL faculty, is partnering with discipline faculty at local high schools and adult education centers to devise strategies (e.g. aligning curriculum, clarifying expectations, building bridges of support) that better prepare students to be ready for college-level work. 


The Student-Ready Rapid Response Team (S3R)

This team will refine and reimagine ways the campus can be more student-ready, especially mid- and post-pandemic, by thinking deeply and inductively about qualitative and quantitative data; examining what we already do well and what the gaps are; finding creative ways to offer classes and services to meet students’ needs; and proactively reaching out to the most marginalized students to help them enter and stay on the path towards meeting their educational goals.

The Student Focus Team

The Student Focus Group Team is working to engage students in Guided Pathways initiatives and gather qualitative input from students, especially those who are most marginalized, to help shape current and future Guided Pathways initiatives. 


The Village Teams

The Village Teams will be based on the six meta-majors, and team members will work to imagine, create, and organize communities of interest (the villages) that will support in the six key factors that comprise De Anza’s values: Students will be directed, focused, nurtured, engaged, connected, and valued. They will also provide ways for the entire De Anza campus—students, classified professionals, faculty, and administrators—as well as our larger communities to engage with each other more consistently and deeply by connecting through common areas of academic interest. 
Welcome Day 2021!
All students are invited to De Anza College Welcome Day
It Takes a Village:
Creating Community With

Find Your Meta-Major And Discover Your Village!

To help “Clarify the Path” pathways for students, the Guided Pathways Core Team held a fall 2019 event in which department leaders met and mapped a suggested quarterly sequence of courses for their department’s programs. Departments spent the next few months reviewing and confirming their program maps. By the end of the 2019-20 academic year, more than 90% of the programs had been mapped – 155 of the 166 degrees and certificates offered that year. We have now completed 100% of the of the 170 degrees and certificates offered in the 2020-21 academic year. The 231 completed maps have been sent to the Office of Communications. That team is working diligently to finish a student-focused website that will provide access to both Guided Pathways program and transfer maps and other vital Guided Pathways information. You can expect to be able to access these pages in fall 2021.


At De Anza, we pushed past the basic requirements of pillar 1. To further support students in achieving their goals, a team of teaching faculty and counselors mapped 61 common transfer patterns during the 2020-21 academic year. These maps will aid students planning to transfer to four-year institutions, particularly those planning to major in disciplines for which a degree or certificate is not offered at De Anza. Transfer pattern maps enable students to chart their courses to the schools of their choice. 

The second pillar of the Guided Pathways model is focused on “Getting on the Path,” and we have done much to support students in making their initial decisions.  Many of our students come into college without a declared major, so developing clear areas of academic interest provides them an opportunity to strike a balance between exploring potential majors and making timely progress towards their academic goals. To that end, six areas of academic interest, or “meta-majors,” were developed by inviting faculty, staff, administrators, and students—over 140 people—to engage in activities that helped conceptualize and build each one. Within each of the six meta-majors are programs, majors, degrees and certificates that have related courses. Departments were initially placed within the meta-majors based on the data collected during the various meta-major building activities throughout the year. Ultimately, each department decided on their permanent meta-major placement. The Academic Senate and College Council approved the meta-majors in spring 2020.

More On Villages!

Collaborative Support Across Campus

De Anza provides many resources to support students in “Staying On the Path,” including supplemental instructional support, student service support and real-life support to help students succeed in their education. 

The college has already done some important work to expand support for students and assist them in staying on the path to success. Responding to AB 705, a state mandate, the Math and English departments redesigned their curriculum so that all students begin at transfer-level college courses in mathematics and English Composition. To ensure that students continued to receive needed support, the departments engaged in numerous discussions and curricular revisions while collaborating with support services such as the tutorial centers, counseling and special programs, and restructuring placement policies to maximize a student’s potential to succeed in a course. 

The Office of Communications redesigned the college website in 2017, adopting a more streamlined format to make it easier for students to find the resources they need. For example, new pages bring together all the academic programs in one place and all of the student service resources in another. It is possible to broaden our support by embedding both academic and non-academic resources throughout students’ programs to promote student learning, retention, and persistence. We can look for these enhanced strategies to be integrated directly into student programs via the upcoming Villages project. 

Classified professionals, another powerful resource, are essential in keeping students on the path to success. The Guided Pathways Team partnered with classified leaders to create a series of workshops that culminated in a co-facilitated conference; we formalized and institutionalized the various, critical roles classified professionals play, in conjunction with administrators and faculty, in ensuring student success.



Pillar 4 requires us to “Ensure Learning.” We have tools to help us measure which strategies are most effective. Those include using some quantitative data collected through both our robust Student Learning Outcome tracking and our established cycles of assessment via college structures like Program Review. Another way to ensure learning is through student feedback. The Guided Pathways Core Team has gathered student input by including student membership on the core team and by conducting in-person student focus groups and online student surveys for our meta-majors work. The recently established  “Student Focus Group” team plans to continue soliciting student input through various means, as we believe students’ stories are important qualitative data to collect, review, and use to help shape our work. 

But there is more to ensuring learning than assessing data. We need to discuss openly how assessment functions within our environments. Peer discussions are a vehicle for this kind of professional development, and the Guided Pathways Team will support employees by fostering this kind collaboration to make the outcomes of assessment useful and apparent. We must ask hard questions to rebuild the idea of assessment through Student Learning Outcomes into a meaningful dialogue with strong, positive outcomes for all of us. Answers to how to do this work will come as we take a closer look at the fourth pillar of Guided Pathways.

The Guided Pathways Project at De Anza College

The Guided Pathways Project includes every employee here at De Anza.  We make up the spirit and strength of the college, and it offers us—all of us—an opportunity to redefine or recreate outdated institutional structures in order to better support equity goals, student success, and professional achievement in today’s world.  It is indeed a grand plan, and it will likely take several more years to implement in full, but know that the coordination among administrators, faculty, advisors, classified professionals, technology specialists, and the many other gifted employees at De Anza will provide us an environment that makes possible a deeper sense of both accomplishment and satisfaction. 

Your Guided Pathways Team


Intersegmental Team

Jayme Brown, Bookstore, Team Lead 
Vinh Nguyễn, Instructor,  Math
Iva Tracey, Instructor, ESL 
Jasmina Topalovic, Instructor, ESL
Felisa Vilaubi, EPS/Counseling
Julie Wilson, Instructor, English
Fatemeh Yaramadi, Instructor, Math

Student Focus Team

Diana Alves de Lima, Student Success Center 
Lakshmi Auroprem,  Library
Lisa Castro, Transfer Center, Counselor
Hyon Chu Yi-Baker, College Life,  Co-Team Lead
Adriana Garcia, Equity and Engagement , Co-Team Lead
Erika Flores, Outreach
Mary Medrano, Instructor, Intercultural Studies
Liliana Rivera,  Puente , Counselor


Student-Ready Rapid Response Team (S3R)

Jovanah Arrington, Athletics
Sal Breiter, Instructor, Humanities
Karen Chow, Instructor, English
Walter Gonzalez, ETS, Co-Team Lead
Claudia Guzman, Professional Development
Julie Keiffer-Lewis, Instructor, Intercultural Studies
Mary Pape, Instructor, Computer Information Systems, Co-Team Lead
Jesus Ruelas, Outreach
Nina Van, Financial Aid, 


Village Teams

Veronica Aparicio, A&R, Languages and Communications 
Debee Armstrong, DSPS, Artistic Expression 
Maritza Arreola, Student Life, Business and Finance 
   Yvette Campbell,  MPS, Physical Sciences and Technology 
Julie Hughes, Instructor, Art, Artistic Expression 
Chanel Huynh, ETS, Health and Life Sciences 
Betty Inoue, Counseling, Artistic Expression 
Bob Kalpin, Instructor, Biology, Health and Life Sciences 
Manisha Karia, Instructor, Economics, Business and Finance 
Anu Khanna, Instructor, Communication Studies , Co-Team Lead
Keri Kirkpatrck, Library, Social Sciences and Humanities 
So Kam Lee, Instructor, Intercultural Studies, Social Sciences and Humanities 
Sandra Magallon, Financial Aid, Physical Sciences and Technology 
Brian Malone, Instructor, English, Co-Team Lead
Terrence Mullens, Instructor,  Meteorology, Physical Sciences and Technology 
Anita Muthyala-Kandula, Dean BHES, Health and Life Sciences 
Khoa Nguyễn,  MPS/Counseling, Physical and Lifes Sciences 
Tôm Nguyễn, BHES/Counseling, Health and Life Sciences 
Helen Pang, CTE, Business and Finance 
Elvin Ramos, Dean, SS/HUM Social Sciences and Humanities 
Thomas Ray, Dean,  Language Arts, Languages and Communication
Alejandra Rueda Guerrero,  Student Success Center, Physical Sciences and Technology 
Andrea Santacruz, ISP, Business and Finance
Daniel Smith, Dean, Creative Arts, , Artistic Expression
Leah Smith, EOPS, Social Sciences and Humanities
Susan Thomas, Instructor, Psychology, Social Sciences and Humanities
Felisa Vilaubi, EPS/Counselor, Languages and Communication

Anne Maries Waldsmith, Instructor, English, Languages and Communication
Chia Wen, Instructor, Photography, Artistic Expression
Casie Wheat, Assessment Center, Languages and Communication



Lydia Hearn, Associate Vice President of Instruction 

Kim Palmore, Instructor, English, Guided Pathways Coordinator

Patty Guitron, Counseling, Guided Pathways Co-Lead  

Sarah Wallace, Athletics, Guided Pathways Co-Lead



GPS Newsletter Contributors: 
Kim Palmore, Writer- Lydia Hearn, Writer- Jayme Brown, Editor

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Guided Pathways · 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd · Cupertino, CA 95014-5702 · USA