Toward Increased Student Success: Transfer as an Institutional Commitment

Articulation and Transfer
Educational Policies Committee

This paper explores the background of the Transfer Center Pilot Program, identifies some fiscal issues, and suggests ways for local academic senates to provide leadership related to their primary responsibility for the function of transfer. By providing a brief history, this document equips local faulty with ideas for increasing the overall institutional commitment to the mission of transfer by embedding transfer in institution-wide activities, programs and services.


Clearly, enhancing transfer must be an institutional commitment. For the transfer effort to be successful, we must embed it in the structure of the college, its governance processes, the priorities encoded in budgets, the content as well as organization and delivery of instruction, and the relation of student services to instruction. To be optimal, Transfer Center activities must be placed within this broad nexus of commitment.

The local Academic senate can take the responsibility to support transfer as a primary mission of their community college by working in partnership with the Transfer Center faculty and staff to establish transfer as a commitment of the entire institution. The local Academic senate with its multiple responsibilities for planning and budgetary processes, curriculum and educational programs, faculty development, grading, faculty participation in governance, and matters that affect student preparation and success is the critical constituent in ensuring students desire and do transfer to four-year institutions. To that end, local academic senates should:

  1. Take steps to recognize transfer as an institutional responsibility by acclamation or resolution.
  2. Support the allocation of fiscal and human resources and the appropriate funding of the Transfer Center and activities that directly and immediately affect transfer.
  3. Work with the Transfer Center faculty and staff to study and take a local position on the current funding of your local Transfer Center. Establish the expectation that funding will be at least at the level of initial program funding and will be supplemented not supplanted. Consider the establishment of local categorical funding for the Transfer Center and transfer activities.
  4. Work with the Transfer Center faculty and staff to develop and evaluate the Transfer Center Plan to ensure the implementation of the minimum standards.
  5. Establish the local Transfer Center Advisory Committee with a faculty majority. Collaborate with appropriate college personnel such as the matriculation, EOP&S, and discipline-based faculty and staff. Be sure faculty appointments are made by the academic senate and a regular committee report is heard by the senate.
  6. Explore ways to increase the intersegmental faculty-to-faculty dialogues among the various departments. Identify a small group in the senate to explore available grant resources to support such dialogue. Promote intersegmental faculty projects and exchanges.
  7. Examine the articulation process at your college. Influence the process such that the department faculty provide leadership on the establishment of local articulation agreements. Collaborate with the articulation officer to ensure the priorities for the articulation office include among the highest, the establishment and maintenance of local agreements.
  8. Support ongoing faculty and staff development. This support includes the provision and maintenance of currency in transfer information, changing transfer requirements and opportunities, scholarship opportunities as well as general exchange of information regarding successful transfer programs and strategies.
  9. Include assessment of the transfer mission and success as part of the program review process.
  10. Revise and implement Student Success (formerly titled Student Equity) plans to address strategies that facilitate the successful transfer of students.
  11. Support programs that give higher profile to academic opportunities and standards such as mentorship, scholars in residence, intersegmental faculty and student exchanges, and lecture series.
  12. Incorporate enhanced transfer function and rates in the goals of the local Academic senate and the goals, mission, and planning processes of the college or district.
  13. Analyze and influence the research agenda to ensure that appropriate data regarding the successful transfer of students is available to faculty in the disciplines, and that they are given the opportunities to use the data effectively in their planning and evaluation activities.
  14. Link the transfer mission to the college approved Matriculation Plan; focus on retention, persistence, and success. Use the local senate sign-off as a leverage to ensure appropriate funding for the needed counseling and instructional advisement as well as other needed transfer related services.
  15. Urge the administrative and support units to examine their day to day activities and explore how those activities support the transfer mission. Encourage them to review their units thoroughly and to consider how resources can be used more effectively to serve students and the transfer mission directly.
  16. Develop and distribute a local document to help faculty in the various departments know how they can promote the successful transfer of students.
  17. Work with the Transfer Center faculty and staff to coordinate the availability of transfer information to the various student organizations, groups, clubs, fraternities, and/or sororities. Consider a joint Academic Senate/Student Government resolution or activity that focuses on transfer.
  18. Ask that research be done on the completion and transfer of students in various areas of study in the college. Target low transfer areas for attention and support for enhancing transfer. Successful completion rates for key courses necessary for transfer may be revealing. How are students doing in Math and English? How are students doing in areas not necessarily focused on transfer such as the athletic programs or some vocational education programs for which a bachelor’s degree is available? Look at the research according to gender and racial/ethnic, and age characteristics.
  19. Sponsor achievement programs for students who overcome extreme barriers to transfer or may be the first person in their family to go to a four-year university. Identify other opportunities to recognize achievement in your local college or district.
  20. Include a demonstrated commitment to transfer and student success as a qualification in job announcements for faculty and support/administrative staff.
  21. Establish a tracking mechanism for students that transfer to private, out-of-state, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Colleges and Universities, Native American Colleges and Universities, or Gallaudet University (or any other university not counted in the transfer rate of the college).
  22. Recognize that student success is a reflection of the institution and individual success.