Friday, March 03, 2006

 

Transfer

As a cc in an affluent area, one of our major functions is providing the first year or two of general education courses for students who intend to transfer elsewhere for the four-year degree. We’ve done that for a long time, and judging by the success of our students at their destination colleges, we’re good at it.

(Usually, the transfer-oriented students are of or close to traditional college age. These are the kids who may not have the money for tuition at the four-year schools, whether by dint of poverty or birth order, or they may be kids whose high-school careers could be described as checkered, or they may have family issues that preclude leaving home just yet.)

I’m very comfortable with the transfer group, since they take the bread-and-butter, plain-vanilla, they’ll-go-anywhere classes. They pour into General Psych, which is fine by me, since it’s a chalk-and-talk class that runs perfectly well at 35 students per section. Everybody wins.

Until...

The evil, horrible, nefarious, scum-sucking transcript evaluators at the four-year schools get a hold of them.

A few months ago I had a meeting with peers at the nearby branch of Flagship State, to explore the possibilities for an ‘articulation agreement’ between our schools. I was all set to go, about to propose concurrent enrollment, when they hit me with the number of credits one of our students would lose upon transfer.

31.

That’s almost half of the associate’s degree. It’s a year, effectively. They’d lose a year of a two-year degree.

This at a public university, supported by the same taxpayers who support us. So the taxpayers get to pay twice for the student’s sophomore year, even if the student carried a 4.0.

Simply put, this is nuts.

Since my state faces some serious fiscal issues, this is doubly insane. We’re hitting the wall, financially, on all matter of really important issues, but we’re allowing Flagship State to get paid again for courses students have already taken at their local cc’s.

What makes it especially frustrating is how the result follows from the chain of command. Even if the VP or Dean of the area agrees to accept credits, the department chairs always balk. In effect, they overrule their own VP’s. The reason is always the same: they don’t want to “give away” too many credits (!).

I’ve heard that some states/provinces/countries have mandatory seamless transfer legislated into their systems. Question for my readers in those states/provinces/countries: does it work? I’m thinking it can’t be worse than what we’re doing...



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