Resources for College Practitioners

Guided Pathways & Equity: Structural & Cultural Change Typology


(A. Solano)

Where does your institution reside in the guided pathways and equity work? This video and post unpacks the Structural & Cultural Change Typology resource. The video includes Dr. Mark Akiyama, who helped me develop this resource. He's a long-time psychology faculty who has been shepherding the guided pathways and equity work at Diablo Valley College

Let's unpack this resource.


First, terminology.

Conservative: Fights to conserve the status quo at the institution.
Progressive: Fights to continually improve the institution.

Structural Conservative: Fights to maintain the status quo with respect to operations, services, and teaching & assessment practices.
Cultural Conservative: Fights equity efforts.

Structural Progressive: Works to continually improve operations, services, and teaching practices without regard to equity.
Cultural Progressive: Works to apply an equity lens to the work.

Understanding each quadrant.

1. Worse case scenario for students:
The institution is led and/or highly influenced by structural and cultural conservatives. They support the status quo and fight any changes to the college.

2. Not enough change for students:
The institution is led and/or highly influenced by cultural progressives (advocates for strong equity initiatives), but their work is siloed and not integrated into the college. They constantly fight to make real equitable structural change to the college.

Ironic situation: Social justice & equity-minded educators who are against Guided Pathways (such as the elimination of English and math placement tests, program mapping and academic & career community (formerly meta-majors) implementation). 

3. Not "the right" changes for students:
The institution is led and/or highly influenced by structural progressives, but they fight incorporating equitable practices into the redesign.

Example: Willing to improve outreach practices but refuses to target specific DI populations.

4. Best case scenario for students:
The institution is led and/or highly influenced by structural and cultural progressives. They seek to continually improve structural and cultural conditions in the institution to meaningfully address equitable student success. 

Example: Student Success Teams.

Using the Typology Resource

During retreats, summits, and/or guided pathways & equity committee/workgroup meetings:

- Ask people where they think the institution fits within the four quadrants.

- Has there been a progression over time? Was the institution on the lower left quadrant (no GP & equity) and over time has moved closer to the top right quadrant (GP + equity)? Why factors led to that transition?

- Is the institution moving backwards and away from the top right quadrant (GP + equity)? What factors led to this unfortunate situation?

- Is the institution stuck in a particular quadrant? Why?

- How do we ensure the institution always resides at top right quadrant (GP + equity)?

You can also use the typology resource within divisions and departments.

The Challenge

Even when the institution resides in the top right quadrant—Guided Pathways + Equity, achieving this monumental change that results in improved student success and equity is still a significant challenge.

This challenge is unpacked in the free guide:
Why Colleges Struggle to Implement Priorities & What To Do About it


Also visit: Evolution of Guided Pathways | Transformational Change | Ensure Learning with an Equity Lens | System-wide Change Efforts | Equity & Kindness: The Student Voice | Academic Freedom vs Academic Responsibility | Blocking Student Success & Equity Work

Implement practical approaches to improve student success & equity

Free Guide

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.