Committee springs for more funding

Alexander Broom,

The Los Medanos College Academic Senate formed the Guided Pathways Committee last year to come up with an action plan and submit said plan to the State Chancellor’s office to receive $950,057 over the next five years. If approved, the committee will gain funds to help bring multiple departments of the college together to gather research and make changes that will improve completion rates for students across campus programs.

District representative, Bob Pacheco, attempted to give a more structured way of thinking and looking at statistics to help the Guided Pathways Committee best spend their time figuring out how to divide the funds and what the program should entail at a meeting March 15.

“We did have a set goal, an agenda and stuff, but we’re still in the process of creating goals, plans and visions that make sense for LMC,” said committee member and math instructor Scott Hubbard. “We have no idea how we’re going to spend that money…If you have ten students you could have ten different reasons for why they’re at LMC.”

The program is still in its early stages, and one of its short-term goals is to get input from members of the LMC community on what the school can do to further help students. This would involve talking to many campus departments, students and staff and administration — something that Hubbard says will take a lot of time.

“The ultimate goal is to have six to eight sub-committees getting voices from everybody,” said Hubbard. “This is just the beginning stages, but hopefully we’ll have lots of groups like this.”

For the five year long program to be a success, Josh Bearden, a Social Sciences instructor at LMC, says that everyone getting on the same page, everyone getting organized and how to figure the details out is important.

“The counselors and the instructional faculty, or student services, it’s got to get everybody on board to be truly successful. Have the people who were in the room representing these groups go back to their groups and work on the plan and build some unification that way.”

Julie VonBergen, the co-chair of the Guided Pathways Advisory Committee and Math, instructor was happy with the way the meeting went.

“We had some good feedback that we can include in our plan, and we had good strategies for vision and how we wanted to move forward in the discussions with the campus community,” said VonBergen. “In the first year we talk about developing pathways, implementing pathways, what types of changes we want to make on campus, what questions we have and getting answers to those questions about data and student life on campus.”

With the research on Guided Pathways being limited and the state control of how money is being spent, the committee appears to be excited about the possibilities the program has.

“What LMC needs is not what CCC needs, or DVC needs, so it’s actually kind of a good thing that the state is not being super restrictive,” said Hubbard.