Volume 2 | February 2018
Institutions Asked to Designate Faculty and Transfer Liaison for Pathways Initiative
The MCCA, MASU, and MICU asked all institutions to designate four faculty and one transfer liaison to join the Transfer Pathways Summit scheduled for Friday, May 18 th at Lansing Community College - West campus. This meeting will include faculty from all participating institutions to build multi-institutional associate to bachelor’s degree transfer agreements. Institutions may send one faculty member from four programs, including:

  • biology
  • business administration
  • criminal justice
  • psychology    

Institutions may also send one transfer liaison to participate in the meeting. The transfer liaison should be familiar with policies and processes related to transfer at their institution. This person will support participating faculty, serve as a point of contact for the project, and navigate policies at their institution. Among the roles these liaisons serve in are transfer coordinator, transfer specialist, or registrar. The deadline for institutions to designate participants is Friday, March 2, 2018. Contact Erica Orians (MCCA), Will Emerson (MASU) and Colby Cesaro (MICU) with questions about nominating faculty and the transfer liaison. 
Project Releases New Website for Information
Check out the new MiTransfer.net website for more information about the Michigan Transfer Network Replacement and the progress of building multi-institutional associate to bachelor’s degree transfer pathways. The site includes an overview of this project, news and information, and contact information. We look forward to sharing supporting documents for the faculty who will be joining us at the Michigan Transfer Summit on Friday, May 18 th in Lansing. Please visit this site for more information about the project.   
Spotlight on Transfer at Macomb Community College
The current national focus on postsecondary educational initiatives has put the baccalaureate degree at the forefront of the student success agenda as the minimum credential required for individuals to optimize their ability to participate in a fast-evolving, globally competitive economy. The high cost of attendance at four-year institutions, deficits in students’ academic preparedness, and the need to manage personal and family obligations influence many students to begin their educational path at a community college. Yet while the majority of community college students intend to earn a bachelor’s degree, only a small proportion manage to do so.

Across the country, colleges are beginning to experiment with transfer pathways that support more students in transferring to and succeeding at a four-year college destination. The most promising transfer pathway strategies, however, have proven difficult to implement in “thick” transfer markets, such as the one in which Macomb Community College and its many transfer destinations are located. Working with our key transfer destinations as well as the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Teachers College, Columbia University. Macomb looked to examine and understand different types of transfer students, their success rates at the various destinations, and the factors that underlie their success and failure.

Macomb is one of the most populous counties in the U.S. without a public university within its borders. In order to provide residents of the county with convenient access to advanced degrees, the Macomb University Center was established in 1991 on Macomb Community College’s campus. After earning an associate degree at Macomb, students can apply for admission to one of 12 university center partners who offer more than 75 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees without leaving the Macomb campus. In 2013 the community college established a University Partners Advisory Council" (U-PAC) with 13 four-year institutions, with the intent of strengthening relationships with "key transfer destinations." All of the U-PAC members participated in the research project.

Macomb Community College enrolls about 40,000 students each year in credit and non-credit courses as well as workforce training. According to Donna Petras, who led a fall 2012 survey of incoming students at the college, most students were interested in transferring to a four-year institution to earn a bachelor's degree, 47 percent "definitely" expected to transfer, and 41 percent said they thought they would, but were not sure.

The research group collected data on students who moved into a four-year institution as transfer students between fall 2007 and spring 2009. Students were tracked through spring 2017 to understand how long they took to complete degrees. Eighty-three percent of students who transferred during that period moved to a U-PAC institution. In total, 63 percent of the study sample finished their bachelor's degrees.

The research resulted in the following recommendations:

  • Prioritize transfer institutions based on student transfer data. Seventy-five percent of the students at Macomb transferred to four U-PAC institutions.

  • Improve bachelor’s degree completion by prioritizing transfer, create clear programmatic pathways, and provide tailored transfer student advising.

  • Reduce excess credits by consistently evaluating credit requirements for degrees at your institution and engage transfer destinations to determine why credits may not be accepted.

  • Implement a "guided pathways model" as part of a broader transfer reform strategy to include mapping the pathways to meet students’ end goals.

  • Identify transfer students earlier in their post-secondary pursuits — both those already in college and those in high school.

  • Engage faculty in transfer reform work to help improve course transferability.

  • Implement a transfer advisory council/committee. Formalize a process to meet regularly with your institutional transfer partner(s). This is key to discussing issues and building relationships with administrators and faculty at both institutions.

  • Develop a navigational transfer network to ensure that students’ credits are not only transferable but are also applicable to their program of study. This framework can be used independently students and also by faculty and advisors as a trigger to move students through their pathway and ensure timely completion.

  • Strategize with policymakers by developing a system of data collection that will enhance transfer processes at the state level and incentivize collaboration among community colleges and four-year institutions.

If you would like more information, the full report “Building Transfer Student Success at Macomb Community College: A Report on Transfer and Degree Completion,” is available on the CCRC website   and Macomb’s transfer “playbook” is available here. Feel free to contact Kevin Chandler, Dean of University Relations, with any additional questions or insights at chandlerk85@macomb.edu or (586) 263-6033. 
Right Math at the Right Time
In 2017, mathematics faculty from 17 Michigan community colleges and nine public universities participated in developing and reviewing learning outcomes for mathematics pathway courses which draw on research and recommendations from the Mathematics Association of America (MAA), the American Statistical Association (ASA), and the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). The Right Math at the Right Time (RM@RT) Standing Committee is now moving forward with the work to align learning outcomes for the first college-level mathematics courses in quantitative reasoning, introductory statistics and preparation for calculus.

The learning outcomes cover courses which are typically completed during the first two years of higher education and are included in the Michigan Transfer Agreement.  The RM@RT Standing Committee released the recommended learning outcomes in a white paper in January, 2018.

For the next steps, individual institutions are encouraged to develop plans to adopt the recommended learning outcomes, accept courses that include the recommended learning outcomes for transfer with course-to-course equivalence, and apply courses transferred into the students' programs of study as specified by program requirements. Aligning learning outcomes in the first college-level course in each mathematics pathway is a critical first step in helping discipline faculty select appropriate mathematics courses for associate to bachelor’s degree program pathways. To facilitate this process, RM@RT representatives will participate in the faculty transfer pathways summit on May 18 to share more information on the learning outcomes in each pathway with faculty from biology, business, criminal justice, and psychology disciplines. 

T he RM@RT Standing Committee is also recruiting a cadre of colleges and universities to pilot strategies to improve outcomes for students who are underprepared for college-level mathematics, including co-requisite or other acceleration strategies and improved placement practices for each of the three pathways. RM@RT has received funding from the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin to support this community of practice through 2018.   For more information about how to get involved with any RM@RT activities, please contact Jenny Schanker , Ed.D, Director of Research and Institutional Practice at the Michigan Community College Association.
A multitude of stakeholders at Michigan’s colleges and universities are enthusiastically engaging in the work of advancing the statewide student transfer agenda. Staff at MCCA, MASU and MICU are eager to harness this energy and to produce tangible results that will improve transparency and efficiency in the transfer process, while maintaining high-quality instructional delivery and student outcomes.

If you have questions or comments you wish to share as it involves advancing the student transfer and student success in Michigan, you are encouraged to contact a member of the Transfer Steering Committee . You are also encouraged to contact Erica Orians at the MCCA, Will Emerson at MASU, or Colby Cesaro at MICU; they are serving as the primary project coordinators and staff liaisons for the MTN replacement and degree pathways initiatives.          
Erica Lee Orians, Ph.D.                               
Executive Director, Center for Student Success          
Michigan Community College Association                                
517-372-4350 /  eorians@mcca.org          

Will Emerson, Ph.D.
Director of Student Success Initiatives
Michigan Association of State Universities               
517-482-1563 /  wemerson@masu.org   

Colby Cesaro
Vice President
Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities
734-646-4670 / ccesaro@micolleges.org