Guided Pathways Efforts Rooted in Student Voices

Guided Pathways Efforts Rooted in Student Voices

For Immediate Release

Click here to read this press release in Spanish and click here to read it in Mandarin.

Laney College Guided Pathways Efforts Rooted in Student Voices

OAKLAND, CALIF.—As students embark on their fall semester at Laney College, they might hear a familiar voice: their own.

The college will be unveiling several new efforts this fall to help students reach their educational goals by improving the student experience, streamlining communication and ensuring a pathway to success is not only clear, but attainable. All of these new efforts are rooted in student voices.

As part of the third statewide cohort of the Program Mapper Project —a partnership between software developer Concentric Sky, the California Community Colleges and the college, students will now access 75 new pathway maps on the college’s redesigned, student-centered website that aligns with the college’s slogan. In addition to the pathway maps, the college has created eight Areas of Interest to help students make connections between their educational goals and their passion.

“We asked, and they told us,” said the college’s Guided Pathways Co-Coordinator and journalism department chair, Eleni Gastis.

“We knew that any changes at our institution had to come from student voices and needed to align with barriers they were facing.”

Work for the college’s Guided Pathways initiative began in January 2017 with an inquiry into the needs of six distinct student groups: Pell grant recipients, part time students, full time students, undeclared students, first-year students and age 25+ students. With the help of focus groups, student surveys and word-on-the-quad videos, students pointed out that they needed easier ways to learn about more than 130 programs at the college. When asked, Laney students said the traditional resource guide that lists programs, degrees and certificates – the college catalog – was difficult to understand, was overwhelming and not student-centered.

“It became clear to us that we had to rethink how we were delivering information. When we played the video of students telling us this, our campus community was a bit shocked,” said Suzan Tiemroth-Zavala, Guided Pathways co-coordinator and ESOL faculty member.

This fall, the college’s Areas of Interest will be targeted through a campus-wide awareness project and student-centered marketing campaigns boosted by Instagram.

This organized effort between faculty, classified professionals and administrators will lead students back to the college’s upgraded website, the new program maps and more intentional career exploration. Next, college leadership will explore support services around these programs more intentionally.

“Here at Laney, our goal is to ensure that our students can dream, flourish and ultimately succeed,” said Rudy Besikof, interim president at Laney College.

“Our commitment to students is unwavering, and the best way we can show them that is by listening to them and constantly reflecting on what we can do better. This is an exciting time and we look forward to seeing the positive impact our Areas of Interest, our program maps and our enhanced website will now have on the college’s ongoing Guided Pathways efforts and, more importantly, on student achievement.”

Laney College is the 9th of 33 community colleges, to launch its mapper project.


For more information about Laney College’s Guided Pathways effort, please email