Santa Clara University

Faculty Resources & Procedures

Faculty who would like their course(s) to be considered for inclusion in a Pathway should send a copy of the syllabus by email to the Pathway Facilitator(s) with an explanation of why the course is appropriate for the Pathway. The Pathway Facilitator(s), in consultation with the Pathways FCC as needed, will make recommendations regarding its inclusion. Please refer to the Pathway Listings for a complete list of Pathway courses and facilitators, and click here for Pathway proposal guidelines.

 

Tips for Success: Helping Students Avoid Frequent Weaknesses in Pathway Reflection Essays

When you talk to students about their Pathway reflection essays, please urge them to seek help from Writing Partners in the Hub Writing Center, which is open Sunday through Thursday from 3 until 11. Documents written to assist students as they write their reflection essays are available at http://www.scu.edu/provost/ugst/core/pathways/resources/.

Some faculty have been giving students opportunities through class assignments to practice the skills associated with the Pathway essay -- analyzing issues, describing disciplinary assumptions and perspectives, and reflecting on their own educations. We thank them warmly. Our conversations with students who have earned a Pass or Exemplary Pass and with our Pathway Readers have resulted in the following observations about successful Pathway reflection essays:

  • Essays should clearly communicate understanding of the Pathway theme. Successful students report that they found descriptions of Pathway themes on the Core website helpful. (Some faculty teaching Pathway courses have begun to engage students in explicit discussions of the Pathway theme and why the course is included in it.)
  • Essays should describe connections in a way that goes beyond what most people would know without having taken the Pathway courses. (Some faculty have offered students opportunities to practice—in a low-stakes situation—writing about connections between topics in their courses or their course and other courses.)
  • The Pathway essay asks students to describe connections between two courses and support analysis of an issue, problem, or situation related to the Pathway theme with specific references to learning in Pathway courses. Some students have difficulty developing their analysis clearly and with specific examples. (Some faculty have begun to introduce assignments similar to the Pathway prompt to encourage students to practice their skills in description and analysis.)
  • Pathway essays should apply disciplinary or methodological perspectives to an issue.  Some essays suggest that students are not aware of the disciplinary or methodological perspectives of their courses.  (Some faculty have begun to introduce explicit discussions of disciplinary perspectives central to their courses.)
  • Pathway essays require students to reflect in writing on their learning and education. Students who have had opportunities to practice reflecting on their learning and how that learning relates to learning in other courses—often in a low-stakes situation— have let us know how helpful that practice was when they wrote their Pathway essay. (Reflection on learning is embedded in learning objectives for some Core areas and some majors.)

 

The Pathway essay assignment has three parts, related to the following three learning objectives:

  1. Describe connections among courses in their Pathways and between the Pathways and their majors. (learning goal: integrative learning)
  2. Analyze a significant issue from at least two different disciplinary or methodological perspectives. (learning goal: integrative learning)
  3. Reflect on the learning process itself and on the past and future of their vocational and educational choices. (learning goal: intentional learning)