Call to Action: Transfer and Applicability of Credit
The Scaling Partners Network, a diverse group of 25 policy, advocacy, research and institutional membership organizations throughout the country, has issued a call to action regarding transfer in higher education. In response to the increasing number of students transferring across higher education institutions and the economic recession due to the pandemic, the Network calls on educators and policymakers to seriously examine and rethink articulation policies and practices. “The time has come for institutions to design systems to apply maximum credit in transfer and to lower artificial barriers to the creation of seamless pathways.” In addition to the well-known data points on the low number of credits that transfer and the dismal rates of degree completion among low-income and minority students, the current climate is exacerbating the existing barriers and inequities transfer students face. Collaboration among institutions is essential to make meaningful progress on students’ ability to transfer credits and to continue and their pathways to degree completion.
The Scaling Partners Network members have identified essential transfer actions for institutions to consider, including publicly championing transfer as a priority; examining policies related to transfer with a racial equity lens; thoroughly analyzing data to understand current outcomes of students who transfer; and Incentivizing institutions to develop, scale and sustain programs that promote collaboration between institutions.
Network members include, among others, the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin, Complete College America, American Association of Colleges and Universities, Association of Public Land-Grant Universities, and the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies. See the WCET Blog post on the Call to Action.
Read the Call to Action and see all members of the Scaling Partner Network here.
Francisco Rodriguez, LACCD Chancellor, Speaks on Interstate Passport
Representing one of the newest members of the Interstate Passport Network, Francisco Rodriguez of the Los Angeles Community College District participated in a webinar convened by the Chronicle of Higher Education in late September entitled, Transfer Students as a Key to Institutional Resistance. The webinar was moderated by Chronicle senior writer Katherine Mangan. In addition to Rodriguez, panelists included Michael Bastien, president of Rockland Community College, part of the State University of New York system; Janet Marling, executive director of the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students; and Macia Outlaw, a junior at Mississippi College.
Mangan framed the discussion around the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing stress and uncertainty facing college students across the country. She noted that, “even in the best of times the transfer experience is often complicated and students frequently lose credits that they earned at their previous institutions.” How can institutions keep students in the pipeline? The stakes are extremely high for both students and institutions. Transfer students “could play a pivotal role in the survival of many colleges today.”
Rodriguez highlighted the Interstate Passport as a simple yet effective solution that ensures acceptance of credits for transferring students, and keeps them on the degree pathway. “The onus is on the sending institution. Through the learning outcomes process the receiving institution can say that the credits and courses of an incoming transfer student who has earned a Passport are indeed transferable. It makes it much more predictable and takes the mystery out of getting in. What’s nice about it, as well, is that it’s a whole package. It cannot be decoupled or taken apart.”
The panel discussed other important tools and strategies for transfer students, including strong academic advising and articulation agreements between institutions, as well as collaboration between institutions. It’s in the economic interest of institutions to work together in meaningful ways to support students and their aspirations.
The webinar is just an hour long and well worth tuning in.
Interstate Passport and Network Members Participate in National Transfer Student Week
Interstate Passport and five of its Network member institutions participated in this year’s National Student Transfer Week (NTSW) October 19-23. Organized by the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (NISTS), NTSW takes place annually the third week of October and celebrates transfer students and the professionals who support them on their journeys. This year’s theme was “Thriving Through Transfer.” The participating IP Network institutions – Chicago School of Professional Psychology, University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, University of Hawaiʻi West Oahu, Washington State University [https://news.wsu.edu/2020/10/19/wsu-celebrates-national-transfer-student-week-events-oct-19-23/], and Western Oregon University – hosted events through social media, webinars, workshops, and panels to connect former and current transfer students with one another and provide information about transfer to prospective students.
The University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville participated in National Student Transfer Week and offered these testimonials: