Award for Innovation in Higher Education

Project: Research project

Project Details


April 2017

Current Data
According to data collected by SMCs Office of Institutional Research, only 7.1% of first-time freshmen who entered in Fall 2013 completed an associate degree and/or certificate in three years. Also, there are significant inequities among student groups.
14% of white students complete their degree/certificate in three years, while only 2.6% of African American students and 4.2% of Hispanic students do so.
Only 14.5% of all students earned 24 credits or more in their first year at SMC, while only 5.4% of African American and 8.5% of Hispanic students earned 24 units or more.

In 2014-2015, SMC transferred 2,200 students to the UC and CSU systems, but more than 30,000 attended classes at SMC. Data from the California Community Colleges State Chancellors Office shows that SMC tops the list of California community colleges in transfer to the UC system ( and for the last three academic years, Santa Monica College has also transferred the most African-American and Chicano/Latino students into UC.

The Plan
In an effort to continuously improve, SMC will build upon an existing award-winning educational tool (MyEdPlan) to create a comprehensive framework for student success that leverages technology with human interaction and creates a portfolio of tools designed to guide student decision making, while helping staff be more efficient and effective in serving and supporting students. MyEdPlan 2.0 will have many features similar to ASUs eAdvisor system.

A core change at SMC will be the development of pathways, similar to ASUs major maps, whereby the coursework to take, depending on the students goal, will be outlined. They have some pathways already in place, but they will undertake comprehensive institutional reform to build pathways for all degrees. Additionally, they will develop meta-majors (similar to ASUs exploratory majors). A new time to goal feature will make it explicit to students how many units and semesters are needed to accomplish the stated academic goal.

For career and major decision making, they are examining ASUs me3 tool and other options that would be incorporated into their MyEdPlan 2.0 system.

Additionally, they will build a tool similar to ASUs Transfer Credit Guide to assist their students and advisors with understanding how credits earned at other institutions will count at SMC and potentially at UC and CSU.

The technology will alert students and advisors when students have dropped a course or failed to complete a class. A new student success coaching program (similar to ASU Onlines success coaching program) will connect struggling students to success coaches.

Timelines that Pertain to ASU
ASU will be assisting with faculty professional development around the concept of building pathways (major maps)
ASU will offer technical consultation about decisions that SMC will make regarding SMCs technology tools for exploring major maps, integrating career exploration, and incorporating labor market information into degree plans
SMC will publish its new major maps and career exploration tools with technical support from ASU
ASU will consult with SMC about how to market and communicate with students, advisors, and others about encouraging use of the tools
SMC will program its MyEdPlan to allow for advisors and students to personalize their pathway or major map with consultation from ASU
SMC will develop a Success Coach program with training and support from ASU
SMC will be sharing project information and outcomes with the California higher education community, and may call on ASU to participate in some reporting and presentations

The grants long-term goal is to reduce time to degree completion and overall cost of education. SMC is using the Completion by Design guiding principles as their benchmarks:
1. Accelerate entry into coherent programs of study
2. Minimize the time required to become college ready
3. Ensure that students know the requirements to succeed
4. Customize and contextualize instruction
5. Integrate student supports with instruction
6. Continually monitor student progress and proactively provide feedback
7. Reward behaviors that contribute to completion
8. Leverage technology to improve learning and service delivery

The SMC Institutional Research Office will be collecting data on an ongoing basis with hopes of achieving these outcomes:
All academic programs at the college will have a clear academic pathway available for students
More students will have a completed educational plan on file
Students will report fewer barriers in completing their goals
Faculty use of the MyEdPlan faculty portal will increase
A higher percentage of students will earn 24 degree-applicable units in their first year
First generation and minority students will improve their degree-applicable units
Retention and completion achievement gaps for first-generation and minority students will improve
A higher percentage of students will complete their academic goal
The rate and number of students transferring with appropriate coursework completed will improve
Students will reduce time to goal completion
Effective start/end date7/1/176/30/23


  • California Department of Finance: $128,224.00


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