Grant to help student success

A.R. Broom, @AlexanderRBroom

Over the summer, the Los Medanos College Guided Pathways Advisory Committee held a Focused Flex Workshop. Around 90 faculty, staff and student speakers attended the workshop. The goals of the workshop were to better understand the student experience at LMC, determine some of the best practices of other college pathway programs for local implementation and understand the scope of options available to the program.

Led by LMC professors Julie Von Bergen and Rudolf Rose, the workshop was a morning and afternoon affair involving group discussion activities.

“We came up with related research questions…we analyzed existing models for guided pathways in place at colleges around the county,” said Von Bergen.

Von Bergen continued, “We discussed which models for organizing majors and courses are the most student-friendly.”

During the presentation the attendees were informed by statistics and data that the Guided Pathways Program hopes to boost.

“Thirty-six percent of LMC students are full time students. The average course success rate at LMC is 74 percent. Sixty-four percent of LMC students persist from one semester to the next semester, and the average number of units attempted in one year is 19 units,” said Von Bergen.

After obtaining the grant money from the federal level, an amount that totals nearly $1 million to be distributed over the next five years, the Guided Pathways Advisory Committee hopes to use the information gained from both previous and future meetings, workshops and forums to better allocate the funding. The funding for the 2018/2019 school year is $285,017 and can be spent in a vast number of ways to increase full time enrollment, student persistence and graduation rates among other factors.

Full time LMC Student Jessica Wilson believes that issues like ability for students to make it to campus may be affecting some numbers, in addition to the overall awareness of programs and assistance available to the students.

“Informing people on things like the child day care, or finding more ways for transportation for students that find it hard to make the trip to school, whether its due to not having a car, or not enough money for things such as Uber or BART.

These broader forms of assistance may help treat the whole issue of student enrollment, boost the number of units students can take, and keep the students on campus so that they may graduate. As for how the bulk of the money will be spent, there is still quite a bit of uncertainty.

“We will have additional student forums this semester and in the spring, and we will work with Associated Students to include students in all committee meetings,” said Von Bergen.