The guiding light

Since the Guided Pathways initiative has been set in motion at Pierce College, students have been receiving dozens of resources provided by Raffi Kahwajian and his band of tutors and counselors.

But there are still a lot of students that don’t know what is available for them.

Guided Pathways is a district-wide initiative that helps students in the community college system who have spent an excess amount of years achieving their associate degree, transfer degree or certificate.

Kahwajian said the initiative was not due to grades that students were receiving, but the fact that there weren’t as many completions of degrees and certificates once starting the path toward these goals. Guided Pathways helps make the road to these outcomes simpler for students who are confused about what the next step.

“The Guided Pathways initiative is looking to improve the current model by providing clear course sequences and helping students choose and stay on a path,” Kahwajian said. “It will definitely be more focused on outcomes and try to get more involved with students’ education via student support services. It is funded on a statewide basis.”

Prior to their first year at school, a student can come in and make a plan that is clear. With more assistance and support, they can be successful in their endeavors. They also are offering new opportunities by providing specific tutors to assist the Guided Pathway students in a range of subjects, including  English and nursing.

Kosar Afsari is one of the Guided Pathway tutors who helps students cover engineering and math. She thinks that although the program still is new and picking up momentum, it’s rewarding being able to help students by helping spread knowledge that she already has obtained.

“The best way to get more people involved would be word of mouth,” said Afsari. “That way people can have more help to get to the university and have help with all your classes so that you aren’t lost.”

Along with the tutors that are provided, teachers and counselors are also contributing by giving these students extra help when needed.

Joseph Roberson, one of the counselors involved, believes the success of the program relies on conceptualizing what Guided Pathways is going to look like on this campus before they start delivering that message to students.

“I think the most important part is the philosophy that we all have to look at things through the lens of what is best for our students,” Roberson said. “Sometimes even though people mean well, they got lost in their own personal agendas and their own preferences and what they think is meaningful versus what the concept of what’s in the best interest of students.”

Roberson added that the strong philosophical pillar of Guided Pathways is to get people to look at what benefits students the most. From his perspective, Roberson explained that this concept will be one of the key benefits of the program.

Guided Pathways has a sister program, Creative Pathways/Abriendo Caminos, which is similar, but this program is specifically funded and provided by CSUN. For information about either programs, students can contact Raffi Kahwajian.