Academic journal article Planning for Higher Education

Fostering a Transfer Student Receptive Ecosystem: By Ensuring There Are Educational 'On-Ramps' to Partially Offset the Many 'Off-Ramps,' We Build National Capacity That Helps Assure Access and Excellence for All

Academic journal article Planning for Higher Education

Fostering a Transfer Student Receptive Ecosystem: By Ensuring There Are Educational 'On-Ramps' to Partially Offset the Many 'Off-Ramps,' We Build National Capacity That Helps Assure Access and Excellence for All

Article excerpt

PROFOUND SHIFTS ARE UNDERWAY in higher education. As a nation we are challenged by dramatic decreases in state and local government support for academia (and corresponding upward swings in tuition costs), stagnating middle-class wages, and the rise of competitive for-profit educational providers. It seems that almost daily another article about the rising cost of college looms in the headlines; outstanding student loans topped $1 trillion last year, exceeding the total amount of national credit card debt. These financial pressures make President Obama's aspirational goal of increasing the number of American college graduates seem extraordinarily challenging. One solution to this challenge should be found among and between our various K-16 educational institutions collaborating and collectively lending their expertise to forge visible and viable educational pathways for our nation's students. Our country's community colleges now have eight million degree-seeking students enrolled each year, many of whom intend to continue their education. We need more substantive national policies that promote effective local practices to help more students successfully navigate the key educational pipeline transition point between two-year and four-year institutions.

Obama's agenda demands that we collectively think both strategically and tactically about how to promote successful transfer from two- to four-year institutions. There are many excellent resources that outline best practices, most notably the seminal book The College Transfer Student in America: The Forgotten Student produced by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers as well as numerous Lumina Foundation reports, including a recent report written in collaboration with The College Board titled Improving Student Transfer from Community Colleges to Four-Year Institutions--The Perspective of Leaders from Baccalaureate-Granting Institutions. My home institution, Syracuse University, has been progressively exploring how to cultivate a more "transfer receptive institutional ecosystem" while promoting access and excellence as an embodiment of our core institutional mission.

Although these reports offer important context and recommendations, an American Council on Education fellowship afforded me the opportunity to see first-hand how these practices have been implemented with more (or less) success "on the ground." As a 2011-12 ACE Fellow sponsored by Syracuse University and hosted by Colgate University, my research project centered on transfer student best practices. Over 45 site visits to various institutions around the country have poignantly illustrated that in order to successfully recruit and retain transfer students, institutions must invest in the necessary staff and resources. For the last 15 months I have examined how various institutions across the country have addressed the needs of community college transfer students and how we as a nation might more effectively foster their successful integration into public and private four-year institutions. This fellowship year underscored the importance of working more purposefully--with integrity and intentionality--to assure the success of our nation's community college transfer students.

Best practices, whether associated with transfer students or the broader student body, must clearly be guided by strategic planning and propelled by institutional mission, with a reexamination of A Guide to Planning for Change (Norris and Poulton 2010) to inform the process. A transfer-friendly culture affects every aspect of the organization, including marketing, admissions, financial aid, housing, orientation, advising, curricular coordination, career services, student services, alumni relations, and--most critically--faculty. Clearly, any institution making a substantial commitment to transfer students must be invested in creatively re-thinking the transfer process and the transfer student experience in every arena. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.